Night Photography Tips (I blame Youtube Photographers)


today we’re talking about something that
most photographers get wrong when it comes to night photography so one of the most common questions I
get besides which camera do I use is what are my camera settings for night
photos and do I use a tripod now just skimming to youtube videos almost every
night photography tutorial has someone using a tripod and you know tripods are
great for like night trails star trails long exposures but you don’t need a
tripod for night street photography you know it’s like how most of people who make these
videos they’re not primarily night photographers they just kinda make a
video about everything but I am night photographer that’s primarily what I do
and there’s probably like one or two videos were actually use a tripod and
that’s because I was actually waiting in the same spot for like three hours to
get the shot that I wanted link down below but anyways today I want to talk
about shadows and highlights and exposure one thing that most people
starting night photography just get completely wrong this video is kind of a
rant but I also hope to be educational and inform people regarding a night
photography you see is I don’t understand why so many photographers
have this obsession with the shadows like they need they want to be able to
see everything in the shadows like they feel like if they’re blacks are black
they failed somehow and this is just completely wrong when it comes to
photography like well at least what I want to say it’s wrong but when it comes
to night photography shadows are your friend
people always ask me like where can I go shoot the most lights and so like I want
to take pictures like you and if you take a close look at my pictures most of
my pictures are actually really dark like I don’t like super lit up places
where there’s a lot of light actually I avoid places with a lot of light I like
really dark alleys with one or two light sources you know I actually have a video
about my night photography and in that video I actually talked
about how I like to under expose my pictures this is one of my cameras this
is the Fuji Xpro2 – I didn’t get it because of its dynamic range of its
megapixels or whatever other stuff people are interested in I just got it
because I like it I just like the way it feels
anyways I almost always keep this camera negative one EV like the exposure
compensation dial which most people don’t even know what it does is actually
quite great you see the way this works is your camera decides how much light is
going to live into your picture through metering but sometimes the camera is
wrong it’s not metering the way you want it to it’s only metering the way
the camera thinks you wanted to so you usually exposure compensation dial to
tell the camera okay you think it should be exposed like this but I want you to
make it brighter plus one EV or I want you to make it darker – one EV so I
almost always under expose my pictures at night you might be wondering why why
would you wonder expose your pictures at nights like that that makes no sense you
know no way you need to use a 1.2 lens and the latest Sony camera because
there’s like no noise or probably you know I feel it’s funny because I got a
comment from one of my other videos saying like you’re doing it all wrong
you shouldn’t be using therefore you shouldn’t be using f/4 lens you should
be using a 50 millimeter 1.2 blah blah lens stuff like that no it’s it’s always
other photographers trying to tell you what to do and how to do your own
business you know but as you can tell my little bit max I’m very sensitive about
this subject but the thing is if you are doing night photography you need to
learn to expose for the highlights now if you take a picture for example I have
here a picture of one of my students you would say it’s exposed I mean you take a
picture you can see her clearly everything is great and you got the
lights in the back yes but the highlights are all blown out I
can’t recover information that’s in the highlight that’s already been blown out
every seasoned photographer will tell you this you try to take a picture
of the lights blown out you can’t get that information back however if you
take a darker picture underexposed you save the information in the
highlights and actually you can bring back the shadows much more easily that
you can bring out any information in the highlights like if I take a picture
where all the lights are like super bright and I try to see what’s in the
lights you won’t be able to see you won’t be able to bring back that
information however if you take a picture and you take a darker on purpose
you can bring up the shadows more and you can actually see the highlights much
better you can see the colors in the highlights you know so this is why this
is why you don’t need the latest and greatest camera to be shooting at night
you don’t need a 1.2 lens to be shooting photography at night you don’t need to
do what other photographers are telling you to do this is why I you this is why
I can shoot with my phone just fine and this is why I used mainly an f4 lens on
my camera because just because because I can you know I don’t like people telling
me not to do something because they don’t do it that way I do things because
that’s what works for me and that’s how I see it fit yeah so basically when you
shoot night pictures you don’t need to see everything it’s in the shadows like
what is this obsession people have with trying to see everything that’s dark in
photography you know it doesn’t make you a better photographer in my opinion
pictures where the blacks are black and the shadows are remain shadows are
actually much nicer than if everything is just you can see everything you know
so you may be wondering how do I do this with my iPhone or whatever smartphone
you can do this with any phone I have a phone tutorial already it’s like one of
my first you just have to touch the highlights
and your phone will expose for the highlights you know and that’s basically
all I do when I take my street pictures is uh I expose for the highlights you
know it’s okay if my photo is really dark you know because I want the
information in the highlights to remain and that’s why I don’t need a tripod
cause if you’re under exposing you don’t need a super slow shutter speed you know
I mean sometimes it’s great to use it but it’s more for artistic effect for me
you know and this is why you don’t need to get the latest camera to be shooting
at night and most cameras these days can go up to 450,000 iso like what am I
ever really gonna need that I mean that’s one of those things you need if
you really really need the shot I don’t even think astro photographers go that
high you know it’s just it’s unnecessary but it’s there if you need it but for
myself I almost never go over ISO 3200 you know and my camera is from like 2011
2012 the Fuji x-pro2 – which is one of my favorites it’s I don’t know when it came
out but when I got it I didn’t really care about the specs or anything for
like tags I’m because I already know that it doesn’t really matter you know
and that’s why you don’t need the latest and greatest camera that’s where I can
shoot the pictures I take with my phone because because it doesn’t matter you
know just to underexpose your pictures and bring back the shadows when you’re
in Lightroom but you don’t have to bring them all right you know you don’t want
my cue you don’t want to make a picture to lose all that contrast so this is
just my kind of tip for you for night street photography and what most night
photographers get wrong and yeah I hope you think about that next time you’re
out shooting night pictures cuz it’s it’s one thing that changed my night
photography was like to learn to under expose you know before I was trying to
just catch everything in the shadows and had that slow shutter speed night oh my
god I need a tripod you know a total newb but no you don’t you don’t need a
50mm 1.2 you don’t need a tripod you don’t need
the latest a7 with whatever 100 iso right so yeah regarding how I keep the
camera steady is an old ancient trick where you just hold still when you take
the picture you know like you should give it a try
you’re not trying to demean anyone but I get so many comments about that too it’s
like how do you get the picture so crisp and how do you stay still just you just
hold camera still once it’s an old Ancient art anyways if you
don’t mind my rants please go ahead and like this subscribe comment zero you you

Posts created 2007

62 thoughts on “Night Photography Tips (I blame Youtube Photographers)

  1. It is awesome to see your process (seeing the under exposed along side with the edit) I'm with you on the lens thing- use what works haha. That said, I feel like those faster lenses are more important for shooting video at night, or even for dimly lit receptions at weddings. That's at least how I feel with my lenses. Great timing on this vid btw, it's supposed to rain tonight here 😉

  2. ✅ Websites

    Wallpapers: http://www.noealz.com

    Prints: https://www.society6.com/noealz

    Donations: paypal.me/noealz

  3. I really like your approach on photography. All the different specs between cameras and the gear you could potentially use mess up your creativity, just shoot with what you have and focus more on your environment

  4. Doing the exact same, EV -1 and/or spot metering, so nights look like proper nights, dark alleys look gloomy and no, usually the human eye can't make out the detail in the deepest shadows either, otherwise those alleys would be half as scary when you walk past them and something rustles. I'm still traumatized by night photography reviews on other channels and the abuse of the shadows slider. 🙂

  5. Does the exposure dial settings work when you adapt the camera with manual lenses as well? Sorry if it’s a stupid question

  6. I love rants! I 100% agree with you, shadows exist in real life and give depth to photos.
    LOOOVE your outro music/animation by the way!

  7. Yeah the pixel police are always upset and never satisfied. Maybe they’re just not happy in general ;-). And yes that’s good advice about the highlights at night. It’s nice to see the color instead of just blown out white light.

  8. Hi Noealz, thanks for sharing your very useful tips! I totally agree with you! Unfortunately I also see tons of night pictures completely "fake" with shadows that looks unreal!
    Very suggestive shots!

  9. It’s a similar argument when talking about “golden hour.” You’d think photographers only have a 30 minute window each day to take pictures outside the way they talk about it.

    If you’re taking someone’s senior prom photos, sure, the light is pretty good. It wasn’t until I started taking photos in harsh light at the worst time of day did I realize most of the “rules” out there are complete bullshit. At best they’re polite suggestions.

  10. "This old, ancient trick… hold still when you take the picture." Hahaha. Man. I can hear the venom in your voice but it's so funny. Totally agree on exposing for the highlights and not needing a tripod. And man, that image at 6:35… is GREAT.

  11. Man I feel you my page is all about filming and photography on mobile phones and I get so many haters daily oo you need a real camera nobody want to hire a mobile photographer but I tell them I'm not in this for you or to be the next big thing I do this because I love it and you don't have to have all this expensive gear but being on YouTube for over two years now you'll get lots of haters I just use it as motivation to prove them wrong #keepfilming bro love you Channel and your work 💪🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾🤓🙏🏾

  12. Great tips as always Noi! Noob question here, Just curious to know if you kept the compensation at zero and dropped your iso would you get the same exposure but with less noise? Same for a wider aperture? Cheers!

  13. People are obsessed with Aperature/Fstop. What they fail to understand: landscape or cityscape; you aren't shooting at 1.2/1.4 anyway because you don't want a narrow depth of field, or everything will be blurry. Usually it's like f4+ unless you are doing portraits. If took a picture of a tall building at night, and used f1.4, the first floor will be in focus and the top half of the building will be a blurry mess…
    It's for subject isolation, nothing more.

  14. I really agree, most of my night portraits and scenic shots always turn out better when I underexpose them or adjust lower in post. I found the Sony comment funny though since I'm replacing my D200 with a A7RII in the near future because of the old sensor's problems with noise. 😅

  15. share more ancient techniques 👌🏼🤣
    hope to catch up again next time i’m in seoul. ✌🏼. keep the content coming. 👍🏼 very helpful and informative.

  16. Yes right – the camera is sometimes wrong – and so are many other rules of photography – trust your intuition 🙂

  17. You are the perfect photographer to cover this topic. You do night very well. I learnt a few tips from this.

  18. Thanks for the tips ! I will definitively try that. I didn’t thought you can do like this… very interesting. 👍

  19. Well said my man…

    It’s like shooting a bebe gun…
    Hold still and squeeze… 🤪

    I almost never go out to shoot night photography.. maybe I should..

    🤩

  20. First of all, I love your background. Those colours are stunning. Your photos are SO amazing too, I'm really impressed. I really want to try out night photography. I'm not much of a photographer, but I definitely want to dive in and try it out. Unfortunately, it's summer now which means that it won't be dark until 11PM. Sooo.. I'm probably going to try it in a few months, haha. This video is very useful, especially your explanation of underexposing the photos. I'll definitely take these tips with me when I try out night photography and I'll report back to you how it went. I appreciate the honesty!

  21. Wow! So much of wisdom in that video.
    1. Shadows are your friend in night photography.
    2. Expose for the highlights.
    Loved those 2 lines amongst other things. Your work is great. Even though I push my iso rarely beyond 1600, less than you. You said 3200. 😊😊🙏🙏
    Love your style.

  22. You're so right about the shadows! Glad someone is saying it.
    Jamie Windsor also did a video recently about the obsession with dynamic range.

    Btw your photos are amazing! Absolutely subscribing 🙂

  23. Great video. I'm a HUGE fan of shadows! I also rarely use my tripod. Tripods are great, but there's nothing worse than lugging one around when you're out shooting.

  24. Hi,
    I really like your view point in night photography!
    So clever view point…
    Thanks for your tips

  25. Saludos, una pregunta amigo, con tu experiencia en fotografia cual Camara es mejor estoy ahora en busca de adquirir una y veo Canon y otras mas antiguas de nombre kenwood me dicen que es una buena Camara, Pero tambien me hablaron bien de la Eos con lentes 6300, gracias por su recomendacion. Un saludo a u excelentes videos.

  26. Art and creation are in the eye of the composer. No right, no wrong, it is how you perceive your images in your head. Good on you you buddy. I'd be happy if my pictures look half as good as yours. Rant on my friend!

  27. Thank you. All I wanted to know is how to shoot at night because I have a entry cannon t6 and every time i tried to shoot at night its like my camera didnt work. Im kinda getting the hang of it, But what you what was saying about under exposing Ive been doing so these images can be saved? I dont understand metering and exposure composition at all Help me…😁🤗🤓🤔📸 i want to take better street photos. Thank you.

  28. Great tips Noe, totally agree with you on all your points. Started underexposing my night shots earlier this year and its so much better.

  29. I agree, if your taking a picture at night, you shouldnt try making it look like something its not. It will ruin the picture at the cost of making it something it isnt. (If you dont get what i mean is taking the shadows away makes it look more like a cloudy day, not night)

  30. Wow! I've been trolling YouTube picking up tips and tricks for night photography and this video really brought contradicting ideas to light! (pun intended) looking forward to watching more of your videos now.

  31. im just starting out but that's got to be the most informative video I've seen on night photography…rant included. Thankyou, and love your stuff.

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