How to Photograph Night Scenery


© Richard Cox

Capturing the beauty of night scenes is a challenging photographic problem due to the low levels of available light. With practice, you can master key camera settings and work out a formula that works well for your particular camera and lens combination.


  1. Bring a sturdy tripod. Night photography requires long shutter speeds which makes steady hand holding virtually impossible.
  2. Use a wide angle lens.
  3. Select a camera that has a Bulb setting to allow you to manually control how long the shutter stays open.
  4. Use a cable release to avoid shaking the camera when you push the on-camera shutter release.


  1. Select a fast ISO speed. A setting of 800 is a good place to start. You can experiment with increasing and decreasing the setting as you practice.
  2. Select a slow shutter speed. Start with 30 seconds. Experiment by increasing the time in 15 second increments. As you increase the time that the shutter is open, you will begin to see Star trails that show the motion of the earth relative to the stars during the period of exposure.
  3. Take notes to augment the metadata that is provided by your camera. This will help you to evaluate your techniques when you download your photos.
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