Amazing Low Light Photography Settings To Change The Way You Shoot After Dark

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Amazing Low Light Photography Settings to Change The Way You Shoot After Dark

Settings for night photography or low light images can be one of the trickiest tasks to master in photography.  Shooting pictures in the dark requires you to understand low light photography settings.  But no worries!  I’ve done the work for you.  I’ve researched and written down all the tips and tricks for you to produce stunning pictures after dark and in low light situations.

Before We Talk Low Light Photography Settings

Let’s talk photography tips in general

If you have little to no experience shooting pictures after dark, the first thing you will want to learn is how to use your camera in manual mode.  Using manual mode will help you understand aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, critical information when taking night photos.  Once you know the exposure triangle, you will have a lot of room to learn how to manipulate your settings for night photography.

Manual Mode:  One Tool To Give You Control of Your Camera

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More Info:  Learn about image stabilization, camera shake, focus, and motion blur in 3 Simple Reasons Your Photos Are Blurry

Low Light Photography Settings for Beginners

Now that you have practiced mastering manual mode, you can begin to understand how to use your camera settings for night photography.  Taking pictures in the dark doesn’t have to be difficult if you know where to begin.  To get started, check out Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Nighttime Photography, where we talk about basic landscape photography along with photography camera settings.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Nighttime Photography

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Settings for Night Photography When Shooting Star Trails

Learning how to take pictures in the dark without a flash can seem impossible.  Of course, it will take some trial and error to get everything working just right, but with the right skill and a starting place for settings, your results can be stunning!  Sky photography is one of my favorites.  You will want to have a wide-angle lens for night sky photos. 

We spend plenty of time at our family cottage in the summer.  Although this area isn’t completely clear of light pollution, it does rank decently on the dark sky map.  I love looking up at the night sky and seeing the many, many stars high up over the water.  Of course, there are a few too many trees for my taste, but they make a nice frame for beautiful star trail photos. 

Check out the low-light photography settings in 5 Simple Steps for Photographing Stars and Star Trails.  With these tips, including info on bulb mode and a longer shutter speed, you’ll be off and running, taking pictures in the dark, including gorgeous star trails of your own!

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5 Simple Steps for Photographing Stars and Star Trails

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More Info:  Learn about wide aperture, maximum aperture, and fast lenses in 5 Things Your Camera Won’t Tell You About Aperture Blades and F-Stops

For pictures in the dark of the Milky Way

The Milky Way is amazing, isn’t it!?  She is so mysterious, and just about everyone loves a beautiful image of the milky way in the night sky.  Of course, you must be a bit of a night owl to capture the milky way in pictures in the dark.  Go on my adventure through the dunes with a new friend who taught me all about taking Milky Way photos and other low light photography settings.  Are you starting to see that the camera settings for night photography are all reasonably similar?  It begins with a slow shutter speed and a solid tripod

How to take Milky Way Photos and other Events in the Sky

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Low Light Photography Settings and Other Prep Work

Everyone loves to have a quick answer!  Can’t I jot down some settings for night photography and be ready to take amazing pictures in the dark?  Of course you can, but don’t underestimate the importance of the other prep work you’ll want to do before heading out the door.  When you want to shoot like a pro, you do a big part of the work before leaving your home or office.  Check out five simple tips for shooting pictures in the dark in Shoot like a pro using the Best Settings for Night Photography.

Shoot like a pro by using the Best Settings for Night Photography

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Pictures in the Dark of Stunning Fireworks

One of my earliest experiences trying to take pictures in the dark was at my local Independence Day Celebration.  I tried and tried with my camera on auto mode, and I could not understand why my photos would not turn out.  Once I mastered manual, I was off and running.  Some of my favorite images are of fireworks.  And it’s so easy!  You won’t believe it! Here’s a hint:  can you believe you start at ISO 100?  You can use a lens of any focal length, but you’ll want to make sure you can get back far enough to get the firework trails in your image.

Take a look at some of my best firework images and get the easy formula for capturing them in How to Capture Epic Firework Photos with The Best 6 Tips.  You will even find a free cheat sheet to print out and tuck in your camera bag.

How to Capture Epic Firework Photos With The Best 6 Tips (+ Free Cheat Sheet)

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Settings for Night Photography for those with Extra Patience

If you are a regular reader, you know that I live close to Lake Michigan, in Holland, Michigan. We have a gorgeous Lighthouse not far from my home that I love to photograph.  One of my earliest adventures in taking pictures after dark was photographing Big Red. I learned so much from a local photographer who I admire.  He was kind enough that evening to mentor me and teach me some new tricks for night photography.  Enjoy those tricks in An Adventure in Lighthouse Photography.

An Adventure in Lighthouse Photography

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A Summary of Night Photography Settings

It may be easy to assume that the most crucial tip for shooting in low light conditions would be to use slower shutter speeds, but you would be missing out on so much more.  Reading through these tips will help you know when to use a higher ISO or a lower ISO, what equipment you need to get excellent results, and how to plan by researching location, times, and what to bring with you.  Remember these five tips when you’re shooting pictures in the dark, and you’ll be ready for the perfect shot (with lots of practice, of course).

1.    Plan and be ready with the correct time and location.

2.    Pack the correct equipment for your nighttime adventure.  Don’t forget safety and sustenance!

3.    Take some notes and understand where you will need to begin with your settings.

4.    Print out any helpful photography tutorials with night photography tips, so you can refer to them while you’re shooting.  Now is an excellent time to remind you to bring a dim or red bulb flashlight.

5.    Have fun!  Be Safe!  I hope you will show off your results in my Facebook Group HERE.

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