How I Create EYEGASMS! Shooting at Night Made Simple!




So you wanna shoot at night huh? Are you intimidated? Don't be!

Although shooting at night differs drastically from shooting during the day, the concept is still essentially the same. People ask me all the time how do I get my night photos to look the way they do, and honestly, my answer is pure luck! 🤣 However, I do have a basic setup that I rely on when shooting portraits at night and I'm going to share them with you right now.


So get comfortable, because I'm going to get you the pointers on how to shoot amazing portraits at night! 

(*Disclaimer, these tips are solely based on my experiences in the field during my photo sessions. There is no one way to achieve great results as every photographers' shooting style varies. With that said, don't think that this is the sure fire way to pull it off)





Equipment:

  • Lenses - The best lenses to use are the ones that can get you a really wide fixed aperture (somewhere around f/1.4 - f/2.8) I prefer to use a 50mm 1.8 prime because they are inexpensive and they yield really amazing and sharp results. You'll want a wide aperture so that you can allow more light to reach your sensor in the naturally dark settings that the night creates. Other recommends lenses include 35mm prime, 85mm prime or 24-70mm 2.8 zoom lenses.

  • Lights - You always want to make sure you have good lighting equipment with you at all times. You're definitely going to need it. I generally like to bring dimmable LED panels/ and or an off camera flash or strobe with me on my shoots simply because they're portable, cheaper and they do just enough to get the job done. I currently use 2 Neewer CN-160 LED's when I go out, you can find them on eBay or Amazon for about $20-$30 a pop. I also recommend a really good speed light if you're a flash fanatic. You'll also want to make sure you have some sort of diffusers for your lights so that lighting will look flattering and natural without the harsh shadowing that an unfiltered light could create. There are tons of ways you could get diffusion; one of the more popular solutions are softboxes and you can find them anywhere! However, if you wanna be more cost-effective, then there are several DIY projects that you could do to get great diffusion for a fraction of what it would cost in retail. Just Google it or find them on Youtube. If you can't afford any of these items, rely on natural ambient lights around you.


Settings:


  • Aperture - So as stated earlier, you'll almost always need a wider aperture for night portraits. It's going to be dark out there so you'll need as much light as you can get. I generally keep my aperture around f/1.8 -f /2.8; for one, it allows enough light so that my subject will not be too underexposed, and also, it allows for some good bokeh action due to this setting's shallow depth of field.

  • Shutter Speed - This one's tricky, I always believe that a slower shutter is better to give the light enough time to hit the sensor to expose beautifully. In a perfect world, I usually try to keep my shutter speed equal to that of the focal length (i.e. 50mm = 1/50s) You may have to adjust a few stops here or there but this method usually works for me.

  • ISO - So, of course, the "rule" is to keep your ISO as low as possible, and this is true....to an extent. Although you want to keep it low, the night is going to demand that you boost it up a bit, and that's ok. Most photographers are afraid of going up on ISO (I was one of them), but there's no need to be afraid of it. Now I generally try not to go over an ISO of about 800, but I find myself going up to 2000 in more extreme situations. Yea I know, higher ISO introduces noise, but just know that this situation varies from camera to camera, lens to lens, so adjust accordingly.


Location:



When looking for a good location to place your subject there are several things to look for to help bring your night portraits to life. I'll go into a few details now.

  • Natural Lighting - Don't be afraid of using the ambient lighting in the area where you'll be shooting your subject. This is what creates the mood and aesthetic of your shot. I love shooting in the city, so I like to use areas where there are crazy amounts of light that bring a certain kind of vibrancy to my shots. But you may want something dark like an alleyway, so you'd want to you the street lights nearby. This is where your creativity begins to shine. So use those luscious lights all around to you get the shot you want.