Easy to Understand Night Photography

When you are outside camping or just hanging out, do you ever look up and want to capture what you see but don’t know how? Below is a how-to guide to nighttime photography when using a DSLR camera. The camera of choice for me is a Canon 6D because it is a full-frame camera and also offers a Wifi feature which is very convenient for photo transfer and remote shooting.  Another camera I recommend is the Canon T3i and is more reasonably priced. This is a great camera if you are on a budget or just getting started.
Items you need to shoot at night:

  1. Camera and lens (Get some sort of wide-angle lens)
  2. Tripod
  3. Remote trigger (or in the case of the 6D, just a phone!)
  4. A fully charged battery
  5. Memory card

After you have your camera turned on and memory card in, follow the below steps to begin shooting a nighttime shot! The best are starry nights where the moon is out. You can still shoot photos otherwise but those would be ideal conditions! Also, the below directions are for when your camera is set to “manual” shooting mode.

Step One:

Find a spot that has a clearing so you can see at least part of the sky.

Step Two:

Set up your tripod and put your camera on it.

Step Three:

Point your camera in the direction you would like to capture and look at your settings.

Step Four:

Ideal Camera Settings:

  1. ISO: 100
  2. F-Stop (Aperture): 22
  3. Shutter Speed: Variable depending on exposure

Don’t move the ISO or F-Stop but use the shutter speed to control your exposure. Be sure to also have the correct white balance.

Step Five:

Focus your camera on your subject

Step Six:

Use the Remote trigger to fire the camera so that your hand doesn’t cause any shake when pressing the trigger.

Step Seven:

Once you have captured the image (this may take many seconds or even minutes for the shutter to open and close, review the image. If it is too dark slow the shutter down more, but if it is too bright make the shutter faster!

Two tips to remember:

  1. Be careful even stepping around your tripod as you are capturing the image because any sort of vibration can mess the photo up.
  2. Try to keep the brightness true to reality. Don’t “overexpose” it just because you can!

Need some help learning more about your camera? Here are some camera basics!

I hope this helps you capture that nighttime image you were looking to catch!