When dealing with digital cameras at night there is always a couple of important settings for your camera. One of which is called “shutter speed”. Shutter speed in cameras determines how much time the shutter will allow light to enter the camera. At night when it is dark the shutter speed will slow down in order to allow more light in. This makes the camera more sensitive to movement and barely shaking it can blur an image.
The shutter speed of the camera can be as fast as 1/120 of a sec or a full second. When your camera goes slower than the shutter speed of 1/60 of a second you must really try hard to make the camera still, I would recommend sitting it on a tripod stand.
Some Cameras will display the shutter speed directly on the LCD, provided you have a Sony / Canon DSLR ;). Some, however, will need you to press the snapshot button half down in order for the camera to decide the focus and the shutter speed. If your camera is going slower than 1/60 of a second, then I suggest you try the following tips to get the right picture in the dark :
Use the 2 Second Timer
The use of the two second timer has almost always been a myth to most, or so it is said. The two-second timer is actually a very useful little setting. Most of the amaetuer photographers are unfamiliar with it and have yet to use it. The main use for the two second timer is actually when taking pictures at night when there is little light and there is a possibility of a camera shake. Set the camera to the two second timer, press and hold the snapshot button for 2 seconds and hold the camera still.
Try To Keep The Camera On A Still Surface
One of the most important things to consider at night when taking a picture is where you will be taking it. There are several things you can do to still a camera when you are outdoors at night. You can use a park bench, a fence, a railing, or any other flat surface. I would most recommend, however, that you buy yourself a tripod stand in order to still the camera most effectively.
Switch To ISO 400 or ISO 200 and Use The Continuous Picture Mode
When taking pictures at night it is important to switch your camera into a higher ISO mode. The higher the mode the more sensitive the camera will be to light. Using a higher ISO than 400 can result in grainy picture. If you set your camera to continuous picture mode and press the snapshot button the camera will continue taking pictures till you press the button a second time. This will quickly accumulate into 15-20 pictures and you can just select the best one of the group. Also note that when taking pictures using a higher ISO sensitivity and continuous picture mode that your memory card will fill up fast. Sometimes you’ll notice that the continuous picture mode may not work as expected if you are in auto mode as the amount of light falling on the camera lens may not be sufficient enough to capture the images.
Btw, I’m no professional photographer, but do have a photoblog.
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