Keep Your Night Light Looking Natural
Just ’cause the sun disappears after a certain time of day doesn’t mean your camera has to!
If you prefer using natural light in your photos, then shooting after dark (both indoors and out) can feel a little intimidating.
That’s why we’re here with four solutions for tricky nighttime lighting! You’ll make friends with flash, tripods, and everything else you need so your photo-taking can continue late into the night.
Say goodbye to camera curfews. Night owls, rejoice!
1. Bounce the Flash
Direct flash can result in photos with a “deer in the headlights” brightness. Yikes. You can avoid this by just bouncing your flash so the light doesn’t directly hit your subject but rather reflects off a nearby surface and falls on your subject more evenly.
What do I need?
Turn your flash bounce to the left or right to bounce the flash off a nearby wall, giving your subject a cool side-lit effect. Or bounce the flash off the ceiling to light your subject nice and evenly. See? Flash can be awesome!
2. Use the Diffuse(r)
A diffuser slips over your flash and spreads the light so that it covers more area, which creates a softer effect on your subject. Think of it like a cloud in front of the sun!
This helps when you’re outdoors with no surfaces to bounce the light off, or if you’re at a fast-paced event and don’t have time to worry about adjusting your flash for the perfect bounce.
Can I make a diffuser?
Yes! Cut a piece out from a white plastic bag, place it over your flash, and secure it with a rubber band. Or you can even make one from an old film canister! No, really. We’ll even walk you through it. Just click here.
3. Keep It Steady
Tripods are a must-have when using long exposures in flash-unfriendly situations (sleeping babies, huge outdoor landscapes, etc.).
Long exposures leave your cam’s shutter open longer to absorb more light for brighter shots. While great in dark settings, you do risk blurry photos if you hand-hold the camera. So secure it on something like our Convertible Roadtrip Tripod, or the Gorillapod Mobile if you’re phoneographing!
Can I have a bonus tip?
Sure! Use your timer. Even just pressing the shutter button can cause your camera to shake, so set the timer and step back while your masterpiece is being made.
4. Balance the White Just Right
Colors in nighttime photos are sometimes kind of “ew” due to artifical lighting making everything yellow-y. This is because of somethin’ called white balance. The good news? You can fix it!
I can? How?
Create a custom white balance by first taking a reference photo with either a grey card or our very own White Balance Lens Cap. Then go into your cam’s white balance menu and select custom or preset (depends on your camera so give the manual a looksie) and choose the photo you just took. Now you’ve got good-to-go white balance for that particular lighting!
I’m a phoneographer, what should I do?
Taking it further
- Firelight makes for some downright awesome nighttime shots. Hit up a bonfire (don’t forget your tripod!) and capture some of that warm, glowing magic.
- Check the forecast for rain. Wet pavement reflects lots of lights and colors, especially at night. It’s just begging to be photographed. (But keep your camera dry!)
- Check out our New Year’s Flash Guide for some truly cool ways to have fun with flash, including slow-sync flash photos and color filters!
- We’ve also got an Ultimate Guide to Taking Portraits at Night. Read it over if you wanna start taking portraits after sundown.