Celebrated UK photographer Andrew Whyte loves taking pictures in low light. He has put together his top 5 Nighttime Photography tips for us for capturing stunning images.
If you’re far enough away from the equator, you will be experiencing the shortest days of the year right now. Yet, you don’t need to put your camera away when the sun has gone to bed for the day.
With a little know-how, there are plenty of great opportunities at nighttime to get great images.
We took a walk with Andrew Whyte around the Christmas markets in London’s East End at night, armed with Sony kit. He loves nothing more than to take pictures at nighttime and shared with us his top 5 Nighttime Photography tips for getting the best possible images at night.
During our time together we had the chance to use the unique Sony 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS lens that Andrew refers to and the bokeh it produces is lovely.
Top 5 Nighttime Photography Tips
1. Understand the technicalities: Creating bokeh requires a relationship between your lens focal length, aperture, as well as the distances between the camera, background and subject. You can control the first two factors by using a telephoto lens such as Sony’s SEL100F28GM and a wide aperture setting like f2.8. The remaining elements are influenced by how you compose and stage your scene.
2. Chase the light: Aim to shoot for up to an hour either side of sunset and sunrise. Natural scenes like grass and rippled water can be very effective when backlit by a low sun. Alternatively, urban scenes work well during early twilight, when levels of daylight are balanced with artificial light sources.
3. Choose the right settings: Modern-day cameras now do a brilliant job of minimising vibrations when holding a camera, meaning low-light shots without a tripod are possible. However, if your scenes include moving elements or people, you may want to maintain a higher shutter speed to avoid them blurring as they move.
4. Get creative: When light fades to darkness, use a tripod and longer exposure times to present a creative interpretation of urban life. Shoot silhouettes of friends against abstract blurred backdrops, or simply defocus the lens to show a familiar city scene in a new way. Adding an item into the foreground is a great way to give the viewer’s eyes a subject on which to settle.
5. Be prepared: Wrap up warm and start with fully charged camera batteries so you don’t get caught out by winter temperatures. If the thought of venturing outside leaves you cold, recreate the look in your own home with a table-top setup and a backdrop of Christmas decorations or fairy lights. Festive treats and children’s toys both look great when photographed in this style. Position a desk lamp or two to add balanced light into your scene.
So there we have it. We hope those Nighttime Photography tips are useful.