How To Shoot Night Photography

Last Updated on April 8, 2021

There is nothing better than getting out and shooting at night. It’s an art form in itself, and there are many things you should know before you head out with your camera. This article will go over the basics of shooting at night, as well as some basic tips and tricks to take your images from good to great!

Start by understanding the limitations of your gear. Shooting at night is quite a different animal than daytime photography. If possible, shoot with a camera that has manual settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

Read my guide for a complete run down on the best settings to use for night photography.

How do you shoot photos at night?

joshua tree at night

You want to mimic what the human eye sees, so look for subjects that are well lit, and have their own light source. Use the rule of thirds to help you compose your image.

With a simple composition in mind, start by using manual settings on your ISO and aperture. If you have flash, use it sparingly as it will only overpower the subjects in the picture and make them harder to see.

The only thing you should adjust on your camera, is your shutter speed. Since you are using manual settings to control your ISO and aperture, you will need to fine tune the shutter speed until you have the best exposure for your image. You can use a flashlight with a red filter over it to light your subject up if it is not lit from its own source of light. If possible, get close and fill the frame with the subject(s) that have their own light source.

What is the 500 or 300 rule in photography?

dubai at night

The 500 or 300 rule in photography is a general rule used to capture images with adequate lighting and depth of field. It is known as the “rule of thirds” in photography.

What is the 500 rule in photography?

The 500 rule is used for full frame cameras. Simply divide your focal length by 500, giving you the maximum number of shutter speed (in seconds) that you can use before your photo will become blurry due to camera shake from hand holding it.

How is the 500 rule different than the 300 rule in photography?

Based on this 500 rule, all full frame cameras have the same maximum shutter speed. The 300 rule applies only to cropped sensor cameras that do not use the full frame image sensor.

300 rule in photography

The 300 rule is used for cropped sensor cameras (i.e. digital compact and mirrorless cameras). Using a crop factor (x/1.6) from Canon, Nikon and Sony, determine the maximum shutter speed you can use before your photo becomes blurry due to camera shake from hand holding it.

What lens should I use?

When shooting in low light conditions you will want to use a wider aperture lens. Super wide angle lenses are your best bet in this case. My favorite wide angle lens is the Canon 10-22mm lens which is great for landscape photography and night shooting.

It is also helpful to have a lens that can zoom shallowly. This means there are less steps that the lens has to take in order to get closer to your subject.

Which camera should I use for night photography?

There are many different cameras out there for night photography. Some of the features to look for include the ability to change the ISO to higher values, a high ISO setting (because you will be using higher shutter speeds),and a slow motion video mode.

If you are just starting out, I suggest you start with an entry-level camera that offers manual settings for aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

What are some of the difficulties of taking night photographs?

For most new photographers, shooting at night is challenging due to the higher noise levels and shorter exposures. If you are using an entry-level camera with a cropped sensor, you will have to use the 300 rule in order to get a proper shutter speed.

Learning how to adjust your aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings is the only way you will be able to take good pictures at night.

How to set up for night photography

Once you have your settings in place, there are several things you will need for night photography. A tripod is necessary to get sharp images at night. Without one, there is a good chance you will get blurry images because of the longer exposure time.

A headlamp is another must while shooting at night. You need to be able to see and set up your camera so that you can get your settings just right. There are times you will have to adjust the camera manually without being able to use a light source.

How to choose a night photography subject?

When looking for a subject, you can either look for something that has its own light source, or is well lit. Using the rule of thirds will help you in both cases.

What types of night photography are there?

There are nightscapes, cityscapes, and wildlife: night photography is an exciting way to take interesting photographs at night.

There are four types of night photography. The first type is landscape photography at night. In this type of photography, the focus is on the land and sky. Nightscape photographers tend to capture sceneries that have a dark background, such as a black sky with stars that are dimmer than their daytime counterparts.

Another type of night photography is cityscapes, which focus on the light towers or buildings that are lit up at night. With this type of photography, you can find much more in your compositions because the buildings or light poles provide a place for your foreground to be placed.

The third type of night photography is wildlife. Since nocturnal animals are active at night, to capture them you must shoot at night. With this type of photography, you basically have to wait for the animals to move and then get your shot.

There is also night sky photography, which captures the night sky using multiple exposure techniques. Night sky photography is accomplished by taking numerous exposures and stacking them together to create one image.

How do I expose nightscapes?

When exposing a landscape at night, it is important to find a composition that has very little light pollution so that you can see the stars. If you are at a national park, you can photograph the milky way and other constellations during the summer months when there is no moon out.

When using this type of photography and shooting with a tripod, you can set the ISO level lower and not have to worry about blurry shots. Use a wide open lens to get the best star image that will fit into your composition.

How to expose cityscapes at night?

Cityscapes can be shot using different techniques. The most basic technique is to use flash, which gives off more light than anything else. The light from the flash will help illuminate the buildings and in the foreground, but it will also make the background darker, which can be an effect you want or not.

Another technique is to use long exposures with a tripod. The long exposure allows you to use lower ISOs without having to worry about blurry shots. The long exposure does make the LCD screen on your camera useless, because it will take too long for your camera to show you a clear image. However, the LCD screen is not the best way to see what you are getting anyway.

The third way to expose cityscapes at night is to use a car mount and shoot with your camera facing out of the window. This method can give you the best images, because they will show more of your surroundings. You will be able to see the lights of other cars and street lights without having them become overexposed in your image.

Framing your subject

Framing your subject is just as important in night photography as it is with any other type of photography. When composing a landscape shot at night, you need to have some lights in the background, either with buildings or some other objects. Without these lights, you will not be able to see the outline of the main object, which would be the building or mountain you are trying to photograph.

You also want to take into account the size of the subject in relation to your frame. This means that you need to think about how many objects you want in your image and how close they are to each other. You will need to find a good balance between these two things so that your image is balanced and not too crowded or empty.


If you want to perfect your night photography composition skills, then it is important to study all of these interesting topics. By doing this you will be better understand how a good composition can enhance the overall look of your picture.