Photographing at night

Night photography

NYC little Italy Night Photo

Night shot in downtown New York
This photo was used as a cover photo for the photoblogs magazine which doesn’t exist anymore but I found the web archive version of it: Photoblogs Magazine Archive

The photo on the left was taken in New York somewhere on the border of Chinatown and Little Italy.
It was quite a dark night and literally I had to quit breathing in order to take this hand-held very long exposure. When I was done exposing I noticed everybody on the sidewalk stopped and waited for me to take the picture.
It was quite strange!
Anyway, I was doubtful the photo will turn out at all. Glad I was wrong.

So the question is – How to take pictures at Night?

People often think photographing at night is a difficult challenge.
Some photographers believe it is necessary to use a flash or carry around one of these tripods in order to come up with a picture that is not completely dark (or somewhere near it). But in fact, shooting in the dark, with the right attitude, can be easily done.
It is obviously very helpful to have a fast film in your camera or simply set your digital camera for night shooting.

Photography tips and techniques PDF download

NYC at night

NYC at night

Most film and digital cameras have camera settings for night photography that can do the job.
The majority of classic and toy cameras have the B (bulb) exposure which allows long shutter exposure by letting the photographer keep the shutter open as long as the shutter release is held down.
As to that silly flash; besides its tendency to change the whole natural and interesting appeal of the nighttime, the flash is often limited to 4 feet or so, which makes it totally useless when
making street photos.
And as far as the tripod goes, it is simply difficult to understand why anybody with a clear mind would choose to be attached to one of these 3-legged thingamajigs, while there are so many objects out there which can be used as temporary resting places for the camera when you take your long shutter shots (like; mailboxes, cars, fences and even your loyal friend’s back!)

The bottom line is that all you really need for a successful night shoot is to keep steady hands and hold your breath while pressing the shutter button (hopefully without passing out).

Photography tips and techniques PDF download