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- The Ultimate Guide to Night Photography
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- 12 Best Techniques for Perfecting Your Night Photography
Continue Reading. For those of you working on photo editing, you might want to check out this course while it is on sale this weekend. Found here: iPhone Editing […]. Focal length is the distance between the optical center of a lens and the point where it converges a beam of light to form a sharp image. In photography, the focal length of the lens determines the field of view and the magnification of the subject.
The Ultimate Guide to Night Photography
This is the complete guide for star photography, in Any camera with manual mode is great for star photography. I use and recommend full-frame cameras such as the Nikon Z7. Using a full-frame camera will help to reduce the amount of noise in high ISO images, in turn providing higher-quality images. A sturdy carbon fiber tripod, with an adjustable ball head, is the best option for star photography.
You can get away with cheaper tripods, but they will not yield the sharp images that more expensive tripods do. An intervalometer is not required for star photography but it is required for star trails photography.
If you have the option, set your camera shutter to have a 5-second delay before it takes the shot. Planning before your shoot is essential for star photography and any other type of night sky photography.
Even a small crescent moon provides enough light to reduce the brightness of the stars, as seen by your camera. Find the current moon phase, here, and determine your trip dates from this information. Blue Marble Light Pollution Map is great for finding areas without light pollution.
Black areas on the map are great for shooting the night sky, while white areas on the map are light-polluted and should be avoided.
Use the moonrise and moonset times in Photographers Ephemeris TPE , linked below, to choose the best time to shoot. TPE also provides precise sunrise, sunset, and twilight times as well as moonrise and moonset times.
It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. Prior to correctly focusing your lens, it will be impossible to effectively perform any type of night photography. Step 2: Focus on something approximately 50 feet 15 meters directly in front of your camera. Taking 15 large steps directly in front of your camera would give you a close enough approximation.
Step 3: Take some practice shots to verify that you have sharp focus at your focus point. Also, verify that your focus extends all the way out to infinity or the most distant horizon in your scene. There are 6 more night photography focusing techniques provided in my ebook, Photograph the Night Sky. RAW Image Format provides the least amount of noise and the best ability to edit the image files when you get back from your shoot.
The metering mode does not matter for star photography since it is completely dark and the camera can not meter any light from the scene. The goal is for the image to look as close as possible to the color of the sky you see with your eyes. White balance for star photography is very important for determining if you have the correct exposure of the night sky.
If your white balance is off the histogram will not be accurate and you may underexpose your photo. Full Frame Camera Focal Lengths: mm are the best focal lengths for star photography. Crop Sensor Camera Focal Lengths: mm are ideal. The main goal in star photography is for the camera sensor to collect the most star light from the scene, in the least amount of time, while keeping the ISO very low, as not to increase picture noise.
We are only calculating shutter speed in this section. ISO is covered in the next section. Step 2: Set your ISO at This is not the actual ISO you will use for your images. For this step, keeping ISO high keeps the exposure bright enough so you can see the stars while dialing in shutter speed. Reference The Rule Chart while reading the following section.
The longer the shutter speed, the longer the trails behind the stars will be, as they traverse your composition. The chart above provides common crop factors and their correlating shutter speeds. To obtain the maximum shutter speed you can shoot at, without exhibiting star trails, take the number and divide it by the focal length you will be shooting at. You can reference the Rule Chart provided above , and the Rule Equation provided below to perform your calculation.
If you exceed the calculated maximum shutter speed provided by the Rule, your picture will exhibit star trails. After experimenting with different shutter speeds and ISO Settings, per the section below, you will no longer need to reference the Rule every time you shoot.
Per the Rule, I should be able to shoot a second exposure maximum without seeing star trails at 14mm focal length using a full-frame camera. Although this is what the Rule recommends, I tend to prefer shooting in the range of seconds for much sharper images. Decrease your shutter speed from the Rule Maximum shutter speed until your stars are sharp and point like in the sky.
The more expensive your wide-angle lens, the less distortion and sharp the image it produces. There is no reason to degrade picture quality by increasing ISO to obtain a brighter image when you can keep the same picture quality and increase the brightness using a longer exposure or a wider aperture, given your photo is not exhibiting star trails. This is why we selected shutter and f-stop prior to selecting an ISO setting.
Never increase your ISO to obtain a brighter photo prior to increasing your exposure time to the maximium exposure time found in the section above.
Step 1: Adjust your camera to ISO and take a practice shot. This practice shot will most likely be dark. If it is, move on to step 2. Most likely this shot will still be very dark.
If it is, move to step 3. The camera picks up much more data than is actually displayed on the preview screen.
Step 4: Once the stars or Milky Way is clearly visible in your photos, you have found an ISO setting that works well for the given composition and situation. Depending on the camera make and model you may notice a lot of noise in your photo. You may also notice that you have increased your ISO to the maximum setting and the photo is still not bright enough. Other than adjustments in post-processing, there is nothing else that can be done about maxing out your ISO prior to having a bright enough photo.
After dialing in your settings, during the first few shots, they will stay close to the same for each shoot. The only thing that would change them would be the light changing in the scene, such as the sun or moon coming up.
The stars will not appear quite as bright, but the moon creates a dreamy effect that can look really nice. If you need some ideas or inspiration, you can visit my night sky photography portfolio, here. Step 1 — Calculate the Camera Crop Factor The chart above provides common crop factors and their correlating shutter speeds.
Always remember, this is just a rule of thumb. Final Thoughts on the Rule The Rule calculated shutter speed only depends on the lens focal length.
The wider the focal length, the longer it takes for trails to show up behind the stars. ISO and Aperture do not affect the Rule calculated shutter speed or vice versa. The Rule is a rule of thumb, not an exact science. Friend's email.
Night photography produces some of the most stunning images. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here. Shooting at night is a hard skill to master because shots take longer to expose.
This is the complete guide for star photography, in Any camera with manual mode is great for star photography. I use and recommend full-frame cameras such as the Nikon Z7. Using a full-frame camera will help to reduce the amount of noise in high ISO images, in turn providing higher-quality images. A sturdy carbon fiber tripod, with an adjustable ball head, is the best option for star photography. You can get away with cheaper tripods, but they will not yield the sharp images that more expensive tripods do. An intervalometer is not required for star photography but it is required for star trails photography.
12 Best Techniques for Perfecting Your Night Photography
Has it ever happened to you that someone showed you a simple thing that was right in front of your nose for years? Camera tricks and tips quiz Test yourself if you know the best camera trick and tips! Your answer:. Correct answer:.
If you have any good recommendations, please leave them in the comments below so everyone can benefit. Night sky photography has been all the rage recently, especially over Instagram. Learn from a professional night sky photography with this excellent free ebook from Photzy.
Do you want to take stunning photos with your mobile phone? Mobile photography may seem daunting.
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