The end of the year when all the Christmas light decorations go up in the street, is a wonderful time for getting out your digital SLR camera and doing night photography. With Christmas lights flashing and people randomly walking around the decorations, it's important not to set a too slow of a shutter speed.
It's also a good idea to use a tripod, as the shutter speed will be too slow for sharp hand held shots. In many destinations across the globe, communities are definitely more alive during the night. This provides endless opportunities for capturing some excellent street photography images. If you’d like to capture some strong street photography shots after the sun goes down these night street photography tips should help. This isn’t always a favorite option with some people because a higher ISO will produce more grain or noise in the photos.
It’s a good idea to bump up the ISO one setting at a time and then check the images to see if you’re comfortable with the level of noise.
You can also convert the photos to black and white if you’d like to reduce some of the noticeable grain. You can always add the perception of motion to your photos as it adds a dynamic dimension to them. For night shooting, it’s recommended that you use a fast lens that can open up to an aperture of at least f2.8. Prime lenses allows more light to hit the camera’s sensor, which will allow you to use faster shutter speeds when needed. If you plan on taking long exposures you’ll likely need one as you need to keep the camera as still as possible. While the technology is fabulous, it’s almost impossible for the auto focus function to know what it is you want to focus on. It may take several seconds to try and focus on something and then you find out it focused on the wrong thing. It’s much better to focus manually when the light is low as it’ll be quicker and more accurate.
Even though you may be downtown during the darkest hours of the night, there should still be plenty of light sources. The street and shop lights can create some wonderful shadows and silhouettes and add life, mystery, and excitement to your images. Each book is jam packed with tips and tricks that'll teach you how to become a better photographer, fast.
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About FreeDPTOur mission is to share with you the very best photography tips and tutorials so that you become a great photographer. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. A presentation from the SCIENAR exhibit (Science & Art) in Bucharest, Romania, 2010 at the Bucharest National University of Arts: Why Space-Time? This has got to be one of the best downtown pictures of Jacksonville that I have ever seen! These flash photography tips are intended to give people who are totally new to flash photography an introduction to the key principles, methods and terms of the subject.
When you use flash for a photo you are basically creating 2 separate exposures: that of the ambient light and that of the flash.
The contribution of flash to the exposure of an image takes place well inside the time period that the shutter is open (it's really rapid!).
Slowing down the shutter speed when using flash does increase the amount of ambient light that can be gathered, for example background city lights in a night portrait. This awesome night portrait by Anton Khoff is 2 exposures: flash (for the subject) and shutter speed (for ambient background light).

When using flash it's often worth thinking about how you can best disguise the fact that you are actually shooting with flash! Hopefully the above basic flash photography tips have started to clear up a few points already. The flash unit: External flash units that attach to DSLR cameras are self-contained battery powered units that pack a big punch. Hot shoe: The place on DSLR's, located above the viewfinder, where a flash unit can be attached. Sync speed: This is the maximum speed at which the shutter can be set for a flash exposure. Flash diffuser: A flash diffuser is something that is placed over the unit to soften the light it produces.
Have you ever tried photographing somebody in really strong daylight and found that their face ends up with lots of dark shadows, or worse that they are just one big silhouette!?
A great solution is to use flash, which fills in the shadows whilst maintaining the correct exposure for the background.
Another way to do this is choose the 'night portrait' shooting mode, which automatically selects a slow shutter speed with the flash to produce the same effect. But the real pleasure of shooting with a flash unit is that you can bounce the light off surrounding surfaces, most commonly walls or ceiling. Something to look out for when doing this is that the flash light will pick up the colour of any surface it is bounced off. Experiment with fill flash and night portraits in exactly the same way as described above for compact cameras. Once you've got the hang of bouncing light and using a diffuser to create subtle, soft lighting, try removing the flash from the camera and getting a friend (or a stand) to hold it at a certain angle. Hopefully you're now less confused by the world of flash photography, and ready to start experimenting with it. The last thing you want is a decoration or person seen in your photograph as a slow motion blur. Firstly, you can focus the camera at part of the house that isn't too dark or too light and adjust the exposure.
The city streets are illuminated by a kaleidoscope of lights and anything’s possible in most places.
In fact, some people prefer “noisier” images in night photography as they can convey the grittiness of the streets. The ISO needs to be relatively high since you’ll have to shoot at fast shutter speeds to ensure the scenes are in focus. If the lens doesn’t allow enough light in then it can be hard to get a good shot that’s in focus. It really just comes down to what you plan on photographing at night and if a tripod will be necessary. The lights can add some excellent colors and are ideal for long-exposure photography as they can create trails of light. However, don’t be afraid to experiment and explore in different areas of the city as long as the conditions are safe.
Now that you’re finished reading, leave a comment below telling us which tip was your favorite and share any experiences you’ve had taking street photography. With hundreds of positive reviews already from photographers just like yourself, you'll find it to be a great resource. We're dedicated to providing photography tips for beginners and intermediate photographers, inspirational photo ideas, photography book reviews, recommendations for photography equipment and gear. So lengthening the exposure time does not in any way increase the amount of light that flash contributes to the exposure.
There are several easy strategies for increasing the size of the light source provided by flash. The aim is to replicate a soft, natural light as far as possible with the equipment you have.

But now let's do some jargon-busting and find out what some common flash terminology means. With this setting the flash unit is able to judge the required flash output strength, by reading the light and the camera's settings. This works in a very similar way to exposure compensation, except it deals with flash strength. It achieves this by effectively increasing the surface area of the flash, so the light has a softer appearance. This often happens when someone is backlit, or the light is at an angle but only illuminates part of the face.
Whilst this is kind of an emergency option, when a flash unit is unavailable, you can do a couple of things to improve the results with it. Combined with a makeshift diffuser this can drastically improve the appearance of straight on pop-up flash. Clearly, the light from an external unit is much more powerful and this increases the possible distances at which you can use flash effectively. So it's usually best to find a fairly neutral coloured wall that will look natural and disguise the fact that flash has been used.
Use the flash to fill in shadows on the face of a backlit subject and a sufficently slow shutter speed to capture some ambient light. You know some of the key principles behind flash exposures, some of the key terminology, how to use flash with compacts and how to use flash with DSLR's. It's never recommend going higher than 800 however, due to loss of photo quality the higher the ISO. If you're not sure what I mean by exposure we have a tutorial on it at: How to use manual mode. A great inexpensive tripod we recommend is the Dolica 62-inch Proline, which can be found for under $40. It can seem a little daunting to begin with, but once you have a few key facts and principles under your belt, you'll suddenly realize that you've been missing out on an incredibly fun area of photography. The flash contributes to exposure only for the tiny fraction of a second that it actually fires. Increasing aperture size or ISO speed (both of which enable the camera to gather all light faster) does increase the amount that flash impacts exposure. The exposure meter reads the light that is available, and since flash only fires once the shutter is pressed it can have no impact on the exposure meter's reading.
Similarly, flash fired straight-on to the subject (the only option with in-built flash) is usually the least flattering angle.
Most compacts enable flash to be switched off, on or to automatically fire in dark conditions.
You can attach a diffuser to the flash unit right at the start of a shoot and leave it there without having to change anything. With a flash unit the effect can be much more subtle because you don't have to fire the light straight ahead. This idea also comes from the Futurist artists in Italy 100 years ago who wanted to depict the continuity of movement over time.
The flash meter determines how powerful the flash output should be based on several factors. The slower shutter speed will capture some ambient light, whilst your subject will be exposed by the flash.

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