I absolutely love being a portrait and glamour photographer, but there is one type of photography that I really love. Night time photography.
Why do I love it you ask? Well… it challenges me. And it makes a beautiful photograph when you get it right. There are some challenges, camera shake, long exposure times, and what exposure do you use? Well it can be a real challenge but when you get it down it is down right addicting.
The trick is to use long shutter speeds and a tripod. I bet at least two of my three readers are asking, “What do you mean? Long shutter speed? What the f…?”.
Well it’s simple really. There are two ways to let more light into your camera. Open up your aperture and/or increase the length of time that your shutter is open. If your shutter is open for 2 seconds your image will be brighter under a low light scene.
Give this a try. Setup your tripod and your camera. Set your camera to manual, set your f/stop to its widest value available for your lens, and set your shutter speed for one second. Then just snap a shot. Evaluate the shot and see if it is too dark, too light, or if the exposure looks about right. If it’s too dark increase the length of time that your shutter is open to say maybe 2 seconds and snap another shot. If it’s too bright decrease the length of time that your shutter is open to make the image darker and snap another shot. Try this a few times until you get the shot that you are after.
Here are some photos that I took during a fireworks display a couple of years ago that demonstrate the technique. Good luck!