Night photography can be difficult, luckily I’ve assembled a small collection of useful tips, tricks, and formulas to be used when taking photo’s at night.
- In order to get sharp photo’s the shutter speed should not exceed focal length.
- So for a 50mm lens the shutter speed should be 1/50th or faster.
- For Star Trails use the 500 rule: To get a clear image of stars without trails your exposure time should equal 500/focal length.
- So for a 50mm lens the maximum shutter speed should be 10 seconds, anything longer and you will start to see trails.
- The longer the shutter speed the longer the trails – turn on “bulb mode” and let it run.
- Having people walk through at slow speeds will add an ethereal effect to the photo’s. You can also use a flashlight or glow sticks for light painting.
- ND filters can help balance out a cities lights against a longer exposure to capture the night sky.
- Focus on either the moon or the brightest star in the sky (Don’t bother with autofocus, just start at infinity and dial it in from there).
- Once you get it set, lock your focus (Either through AF-L or manually – depending on your lens/camera).
- Try to keep the ISO low (around 3200 – 6400 for the milky way, and 800 – 1600 for star trails) and do the brightening in post.
- For circular star trails point the camera at the North Star or South Star (depending on your hemisphere). Point East or West for star paths (straight lines).
- For interesting star trail photo’s make sure you have an interesting element in your foreground.
- Manual white balance (4000k or lower)
- Take at least a dozen images
- Roughly 30 second shutter speed (1 minute max).
- Set a shooting interval 1 second longer then your shutter speed
- Shoot between 200 – 500 photos
- Nothing slower then 1/15th second shutter speed.
- Focus to infinity, use a telephoto lens, and higher aperture (f/16)