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The Best Camera Equipment for Night Photography

Night photography can be tricky work. It’s easy to end up with over-exposed images, blurred light or just darkness. And that makes some people hesitant to even pull out their camera after sunset.

But for those willing to accept the challenge, having the right equipment will prove useful in capturing that perfect image. To get that ideal night shot, there are a few things to keep in mind, as well as to keep in your camera bag.

building facade from tunnel at night

A camera suited to night photography

Not all cameras are made equal when it comes to night photography. Ensure you’re using a camera that can perform well in low light and can shoot in Raw image to reduce digital noise and allow for the best image possible.

A camera with manual control settings, especially a DSLR with a large sensor, will allow you to choose the perfect shutter speed and exposure, since it can be too dark for your camera’s automatic controls to work well.

Powerful lens

Look for an wide angle lens designed for low light scenarios. A lens with an aperture of at least f/2.8 will gather more light without having to a use a flash, and also helps you create a more shallow depth of field.

Should you take an accidental stumble in the night, a lens hood offers protection for your lens. It also helps to eliminate unwanted light which can lead to lens flare.


Tripod

As we’ve said, you’ll often have to slow your shutter speed down (to between one and 30 seconds) to shoot at night – that’s far too slow for hand-held photography. A tripod is an essential investment if you intend on shooting in low light.

When shopping for a tripod, the cheaper options may be tempting but don’t skimp in this area as a decent tripod will give you many years of solid service, compared to a low level model lacking features and limiting your creative ability.

Many cameras have improved image stabilization features and ISO performance, which help you adapt to a low-light shoot and give a photographer more possibilities. But nothing can compete with the steady base a tripod provides when you’re experimenting with slow shutter speeds and the low levels of light at night.

Ensure the tripod is sturdy and solid and never touch it while you’re mid-shoot on a slow shutter speed. Even the slightest movement can give a blurry result.

Remote shutter

Even pressing the shutter button on your camera can create enough movement to blur a photo. So a remote shutter release is a simple, cost-effective yet necessary addition to your camera bag. Additional features on remote shutters, such a timers and exposure length, can be very useful when shooting in Bulb mode, which lacks a timer for shutter speed.

A torch

A flashlight is a great addition to your camera bag (or a headlamp for a hands-free option). It doesn’t just let you see the controls on your camera and help you dig around in your bag in the dark. You can also use it to add your own light in the scene. By using a bright torch or a flashgun, you can flood light into specific areas of your subject or landscape. There’s even a term for it: “painting with light”.

Spare batteries


Spare batteries are a crucial aspect of night photography. Nobody wants to miss a perfect shot, especially when it can be avoided easily. With the long exposures, various night modes and potential lower temperatures, you’ll be asking a lot of your camera battery. Packing a back-up is a great idea to avoid having a to call it a night early.

A camera bag

And what else to pack all this gear in? A camera bag, of course. Being well organized is crucial to catching that spur-of the moment shot. With padded compartments to protect your equipment this roomy Canon DSLR bag is a great option. Get a bag with a bright interior to make identifying equipment easier in dark situations.

Have you captured that perfect night photograph that epitomises your city or surroundings? We’d love to see it. Please share it with us on our Camera House Facebook page. And if you’re after the ideal equipment for your night-time photography, check out our camera equipment and accessories online today.

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2 comments

  • Steve says:

    Hi
    I was just wondering what your method is for focusing in the dark or is it just hit and hope.

  • Scot says:

    Thanks for the article, guys. Steve, I’m keen on using the range finder on the lens (the band with the focal distance in metres) to nail the night focus. Set the focus to manual. Measure or guesstimate the distance to your subject and rack the focus accordingly. Take a shot and zoom in on the preview to check.

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