Taking a photo is not as easy as focusing on the subject and then clicking the camera. It takes more than that. In fact, it takes a lot of intuition and a set of lessons. This is why amateurs in photography need not only experience but also lessons in techniques and of course in the basics.
One of the hardest thing to master is night photography, not only because the subject is hard to find but also because the shadows will make it more difficult for the amateur photographer to take a good shot. Below are some tips that any amateur photographer can use to master night photography.
The first thing of course that amateur photographers need to remember is to choose the location well. Remember that if you are going to do the shoot, you will have valuable equipment with you. There are places in the country especially in the cities that are very dangerous at night. Safety is paramount. If possible, do your explorations with one or two people as you cannot very well conduct your shoot in daylight or under artificial lights.
Another reminder is that batteries often run out easily in cold conditions, so it is best to carry an extra or if you have none, try to fully charge your batteries before going out of the house and proceeding with the shoot. You should also bring a good case for your camera as moisture during the night can easily permeate to your camera.
The best camera to use for night work is actually the one with the manual exposure settings, preferably an DSLR (digital single lens reflex). Automatic cameras are not often recommended, as they are not powerful enough to fight the darkness. Another requirement is a sturdy tripod with a rubber leg to minimize slippage. A cable release is also needed as this will enable you to hold the shutter speed open. Another viable option is a remote or iPhone/Android application which could be connected to your DSLR.
One important thing that an amateur must remember in conducting night photography is the fact that longer exposures are needed compared to ordinary lighting. We are talking about exposures that may go from seconds to minutes!
First off, set your aperture anywhere between f/11-f/16. You do not need to go above these f’s.
Expose for the highlights, set exposure correctly.
Zoom in as much as you can and set your focus manually until the photo is clear.
Take the exposure, shoot.
Use of flash
Some photographers will supplement the ambient light with a hand-held flashes, a technique known as “painting with light.” Other more sophisticated ones may also use movie lights and torches as additional lights. Consider use of hand held lasers for an additional WOW effect, try it and let me know how it works for you.