Camera settings for the night photography will change from photo to photo. Your main goal is to take a correctly exposed picture without digital and color noise. For me, night photography is one of the most fascinating genres of photography. There is a night landscape or night street photography, in any case, I’m on board.
In most cases, I shoot in M-mode. I adjust the Shutter Speed (“Rule 500”)and ISO setting. Usually, I start at ISO 1600 or ISO 3200 if it’s dark enough. And finally, I set up the Aperture.
Typically, at night the settings are f/4, 25sec, ISO 3200 and reduce or increase ISO if necessary. Are these the best settings for night photography? For my camera, yes. In any case, I will start from f/4, 25 seconds, ISO 1600.
In this article, you will learn about the camera settings for night photography. However, we have already learned.
But why is it the best settings for night photography?
Night photography is impossible without the appropriate skill and knowledge. You must learn the correct camera settings for night photography to take a photo.
Fortunately, a digital camera comes to the rescue, and the genre of night photography has become available to almost everyone.
Use Aperture Priority or Manual Mode
I recommend using manual mode when photographing landscapes. Manual settings for night photography give you full control over the exposure and ability change the shutter speed and aperture. If you are not an experienced photographer, you should use the Aperture mode. You cannot change the Shutter Speed, but the Aperture and ISO settings remain available.
Next, I will tell you which Aperture settings are the best.
At night, you need to be shooting RAW. It files format can capture a much wider range than JPEG files.
In essence, you save all the information about the image. In the future, you can edit your photos. This is much more convenient than constantly thinking about the settings of White Balance, Contrast, etc.
Aperture is one of the exposure tools.
In some cases, you cannot use long shutter speed. This is a photo shooting of stars in the sky or the Northern Lights. You must limit the Shutter Speed.
You can set a shorter Shutter Speed by changing the Aperture settings.
Therefore, wide-angle lenses such as f/2.8 and f/4 will be preferred for night photography.
Read More APERTURE IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
The best ISO for night photography
The second tool you need for night photography is ISO.
High ISO can reduce shutter speeds. The negative side of increasing ISO is high noise. In fact, noise is the only problem because of which you will not be able to increase ISO to infinity.
Find out in advance ISO values are 'limit' for your camera. By the word “limit”, I mean the maximum value of ISO at which the noise is small or none at all.
Most often it will be ISO 1600 – 3200.
Read More WHAT IS ISO IN PHOTOGRAPHY
Night Photography Shutter Speed
Theoretically, you can neglect the Shutter Speed. But, as I already wrote, slow shutter speed will interfere with some genres of night shooting. Therefore, you should learn to choose the right Shutter Speed and adjust it.
Why is shutter speed important?
When you shoot a night landscape, such as stars in the sky or the Northern Lights, you are faced with the problem of the movement of subjects.
If the blurry motion of the cloud is great, then the blurry movement of the Northern Lights will look like a green cloudy spot. Star trails in the sky will be blurry and not sharp. This is a broken picture.
Read More SHUTTER SPEED CHART
Do you need to take sharp stars?
You should calculate the “Maximum Shutter Speed” for your lens. It’s simple.
You must learn «Rule 500». This is an easy rule.
For Full Frame camera sensor: 500/lens focal length = MSS.
For crop camera sensor: 300/lens focal length = MSS.
Yes, it depends on the focal length of the lens.
|Focal length (FF/Crop 1,5/Crop 1,6)||Maximum shutter speed (FF/Crop 1,5/Crop 1,6)|
|14mm/21mm/22mm||40 sec/24 sec/22 sec|
|16mm/24mm/26mm||31 sec/21 sec/20 sec|
|20mm/30mm/32mm||25 sec/17 sec/16 sec|
|24mm/36mm/38mm||21 sec/14 sec/13 sec|
|35mm/53mm/56mm||14 sec/10 sec/ 9 sec|
One cheat sheet replaces a thousand words. Remember the Shutter Speeds for your lenses.
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Please note that I repeatedly repeated the words 'my camera' and 'your camera'. I talked about the best settings for night photography of 'my camera'.
But the settings of 'your camera' may vary. I urge you to wait for the dark time of the day, the stars in the sky are perfect, take a tripod, a camera, a wide-angle lens and work out near your home.
You will find out the maximum ISO value without noise. Practice working with the camera in the dark. In practice, learn «Rule 500».
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