Night photography opens up a whole other world of photo possibilities and techniques, but there’s also quite a bit of room for error. Most of us probably struggle with shutter speed when taking evening shots because of the lack of light. You may end up with blurry, unfocused and discolored photos with several lens flares, but no matter who you are, a lot of night photography is trial and error with every new scene you shoot. And the key to it all? A tripod.
Without using a tripod or some type of stable object to set you camera on, getting a great, in focus and sharp image will be next to impossible. Although, as you get more comfortable taking night shots, you may realize that you want some parts of your photo to be blurred, for example. But if you’re trying to keep things sharp, save yourself some grief and also get a remote camera trigger or use a self-timer because even the slightest shake from pressing the shutter button will leave you with a blurred photo.
The photo I took above in Winter Park, FL was done with a tripod, but I wanted to capture the movement of the cars. This effect is pretty easy to achieve because the cars are already moving, so they leave a lovely trail of tail and head lights. Taking photos just after it rains will also allow you to pick up some great reflections and colors, which was the case in the above photo.
The next photo below could have easily been taken during the day, but at night you get the lights shining around the fountain giving it a quality and effect that makes this shot more interesting than in daylight.
The below is a shot of a train passing by and I only had one chance to get this photo right. I left the shutter open for about 30 seconds to get this effect, but if I had a second chance, I would have liked to get more of the train and its shiny steel instead of this “ghost train” effect. One unexpected part of this photo was that my camera caught the red-lit railroad crossing gates that go up and down. That’s one of the benefits of night photography too, because your camera captures things that wouldn’t be possible during the day and that can make the difference between an ordinary scene and something really interesting.