This guest post was contributed by ‘You Are Art

(Image from Flickr)

For most amateur photographers, taking pictures at night-time is a one way ticket to red eyes and obscured backgrounds. You don’t want a bunch of messy pictures in your photo album: not only is it ugly, but it is the number one way to make sure no one wants to look at your vacation photos. Luckily, there are some ways to enhance the quality of your photographs.

Forget the Flash

The flash has a purpose but it usually does more harm than good when taking outdoors photos during the night. Flashes can create shadows, red eye, and weird dark spaces around the exterior. The very worst amateur night photos are almost always the result of flash photography. Only use the flash for close subject photography, and even then use it sparingly.

Capture Light Using a Slow Shutter

Instead of using a camera’s flash, take advantage of the natural light in the area. When a camera takes a picture, it gathers the light and burns that moment onto film. Usually, this only requires a brief moment to accurately use light to etch a scene onto film. However, with low light it can take quite a bit of time. Adjust your camera’s settings so the shutter is open much longer than usual: around fifteen seconds is a good starting point.

Invest In a Tripod

The problem with having the shutter open that long is that the photograph will include any movement it catches. This is fine when capturing striking photos of cars driving across a moonlit city, but not so great when your hand shaking causes blurry architecture. If you plan to do a lot of night-time photography, bring a tripod along to make sure that there’s no human error that could cause unsightly photos.

Raise the ISO Setting

Many photographers prefer to shoot digitally nowadays. Digital photography benefits from all of the above tips but also allows for further manipulation of the picture image. Your digital camera should allow you to adjust the “ISO setting” This adjusts the image sensitivity. It can provide low light shots with a faster shutter speed. The sacrifice is that you might find the images less focused or slightly washed out.

Take Multiple Shots

Another good night time photography tip is to take multiple shots using incrementally different camera settings. This is easier on digital cameras but is good advice in general. This will allow the photographer to find the perfect combination of settings for the situation. It might take a little bit of time but it is a great way to ensure there are no botched photographs developed the next day.