There is a particular photograph every seasoned photographer wants to take: a spectacular nighttime view. Taking a good photo at night is not easy and photos usually do not come out as intended. Often times, the lack of light makes photos come out blurry and dark. So what does it take to get a good nighttime photograph?
A spectacular nighttime view of the city
NX10 | 25s | f14.0 | 3276mm | ISO 100
Here are some tips on how to take frame-worthy photographs of the night.
Step 1. Prepare a good camera and equipment
The best type of camera for taking a good nighttime photo is either a DSLR or MILC(Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera). This is because a precise camera setting is needed to get a good night-time photo. Also, different types of lenses are needed for different subjects, and it is difficult to control the lenses and settings on compact cameras.
A tripod and a remote release are also needed. To take photos of the night, the shutter needs to be open for more than 5 seconds so a tripod is needed to hold the camera still, without shaking, and a remote release is needed to press the shutter. They can also help you to make the full use of the so-called “golden hour” (the first and last hour of sunlight during the day).
Step 2. Find the right time and season for the perfect nighttime photograph
The golden hour occurs 30 minutes to 1 hour before sunlight and 30 minutes to 1 hour before sunset. It is better to take photos during the golden hour rather than in the middle of the night. Photographs taken during the golden hour can capture the subtle layers of color and gradations, as well as the reflections in the water.
A golden bridge taken during the golden hour
NX20 | 15| f14.0 | 18mm | ISO 100
A colorful nighttime shot just after sunset
NX20 | 30s | f13.0 | 18mm | ISO 100
‘Days Of Heaven (1978)’ is a classic movie that utilized the golden hour to capture the beauty of the rural scenery, so watch this movie if are in need of some nighttime inspiration.
The best season to capture nighttime views is late fall to early winter. In the spring and summer, the rising heat and humidity causes interference at long distances. You might also want to try the dead of winter or the day after a rain, which both tend to create clear nighttime photos.
A fantastic nighttime reflection of the city
NX10 | 13s | f14.0 | 18mm | ISO 100
Step 3. Adjusting the camera setting for a spectacular nighttime photograph
For a spectacular nighttime photographs, change the camera to manual mode or “M” mode and adjust the ISO value. Since the purpose of nightscape photography is to capture the lights, ISO 100-200 works just fine. There is no need to set it too high. If there is not enough light, you can increase the ISO value accordingly.
On the other hand, an aperture that is too low can produce poor quality pictures and one that is too high will result in blurry photos. We recommend a setting around F8-16. If you find adjusting the aperture difficult, set the camera to AV mode instead of M mode and adjust the rest accordingly.
As for the white balance, FLASH or CLOUDY modes will give you more pronounced night lights.
In a nutshell – ISO 100~200 / Shutter F8~16 / White balance FLASH or CLOUDY modes
In general, you can get a clear photograph with a shutter speed of 1/100 seconds for a snapshot but you need a 10- or 20-second shutter speed, depending on the light and your surroundings, for nighttime photography. The NX20 supports precise shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds so to find the best shutter speed value, try gradually increasing the shutter speed starting from 5 seconds. If the shutter speed it too slow, the lights will appear blurry; too fast, and the picture will appear too dark.
For a more professional photograph, you can use the BULB mode, which lets you close the shutter manually without setting the shutter speed. It is ideal for a moving light or fireworks. When using the BULB mode, a remote release is a must for capturing the movement of the light. That said, it is not good for the camera to use the BULB mode too often.
NX20 | 15s | f4.0 | 27mm | ISO 100
Powerful picture of the captures the essence of speed
NX20 | 1s | f2.4 | 16mm | ISO 100
With the BULB mode, you can take photos with cool effects and moods.
NX20 | 10s | f13.0 | 19mm | ISO 200
The season for the best nighttime photos is already upon us, so before it gets too cold, why don’t you grab your camera and capture some spectacular night views of your city? The NX20 will help you to capture breathtaking bright lights shone in the golden hour.