How to choose camera settings for night photography.
Learn to set up your camera for low-light conditions to capture stunning photos at night.
Cameras rely on light to make pictures. When there’s not much around, like during nighttime photo shoots, you’ll need to adjust your camera settings to take in as much light as possible.
The best camera settings for night photography.
The key to creating a great picture at night is a long shutter speed (to take in light) and a low ISO (to maintain a clear image). The longer the shutter is open, the better the picture. Unfortunately, that also means any minor movement while the shutter is open could ruin your photo.
To keep the camera stable during long exposures, use a tripod. It helps to use the camera’s timer or a remote switch, too — you don’t want to accidentally shake the camera by pressing the shutter button. With your camera steady on the tripod, use the following settings for night photography:
- Put camera on manual mode
- Use long shutter speeds, between 30-60 seconds
- Make the aperture around f/11
- Utilize a low ISO, around 100 or 200
- Set the white balance to auto
You should also set your camera to shoot in RAW format instead of JPEG. RAW images contain more information, so you’ll have more control over elements like lighting and shadows during editing — all of which are essential for night photography.
Process night photography shots with a photo editor.
Even if you use all the right camera settings for night photography, some images might come out darker or less colorful than expected. Using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, you can individually adjust shadows, highlights, and colors to create a vibrant nighttime image in any light conditions.