I assume you’re a beginner and a search for night portrait photography has brought you here. Well, fret not! You’re in the right place! Optimum Influence Media will help you learn everything about night portrait photography. It is important to know that night photography is not just about light, shadows, and contrast. There are many more things that one needs to take care of in order to click a perfect picture. Whether you are a rookie photographer, a professional family photographer, or just a person who admires photography, this post will certainly help you be a professional at night portrait photography. Let’s begin!
What Camera To Use For Night Portrait Photography?
You must be thinking what camera is perfect for night portrait photography. Your concern is completely right! Apart from low light, there are many additional factors that need to be considered when it comes to what camera to use for night portrait photography without flash. The megapixel number is another important factor after low light which is very important in night portrait photography.
Now, let’s talk about what camera you should look into buying for night portrait photography. I would recommend looking for models that have less noise at higher ISO levels and with a sensitive sensor. The reason you should consider these factors is to ensure better performance during low or no light situations. There are many models available on the market with these specific features. When making a final purchase, I would suggest you compare the low light abilities of different models.
It is important to know that a camera with a higher megapixel count is known to pick more details. If you’re wondering what the difference is that this makes, it can be seen post-processing with the images. Make yourself aware of the fact that the higher megapixel has a downside of larger file sizes. This means you will have to buy large SD cards for more storage.
What Lens Is Best For Night Portrait Photography?
Having a good camera body isn’t enough to capture the professional looking night portraits. Lenses are an inevitable need when it comes to night photography. It matters most when someone asks what type of lens you’ are using for shooting portraits at night. The right camera lens is known to have a great effect on the look and quality of the final image. When you are shooting in the low night during the night, the lenses with a maximum of 2.8 f/stop are highly recommended. However, if you are considering buying lower than 2.8 f/stop, that is even better.
Another important thing to consider is the aperture. If you want to click well-exposed nighttime portraits, then consider buying lenses that have a wide aperture. Aperture helps bring in as much light as possible and as a result of that, it makes the frame bright. This helps the photographer capture the perfect click! A wider aperture also ensures a shallower depth of field which is highly necessary in the case of night portrait photography. The shallower depth of field is known to create beautiful bokeh light during nighttime. Lenses with 35mm f/1.4, and 85mm f/1.4 are the most common lenses that are used for night street portrait photography and wedding photography.
Ideal Camera Settings For Night Portrait Photography
It doesn’t matter if you have top-notch accessories to capture the perfect clicks during the nighttime. Nothing will work effectively if you don’t know the ideal settings for night portrait photography. You can shoot in Raw mode if you have excellent editing skills. Raw mode captures the image data which is recorded by the sensor as you click photos.
If you are considering shooting in JPEG format, it is important to know that the image information gets compressed and lost. There is a benefit of clicking pictures in Raw mode; you can edit each and every aspect of the images and this gives you a lot more control over your shots than you could get in JPEG format.
You can also make adjustments in shadows, highlights, and other things. As a part of the ideal night portrait photography settings, keep the shutter speed as low as possible and the ISO should be high. This will ensure to achieve a good exposure in case of a difficult or low lighting situation. Also, while clicking photos, make sure to keep your aperture as wide as possible.
Ideal Lightning For Night Portrait Photography
When it is about night portrait photography, lightning remains the biggest concern for shutterbugs. You can either use the light that is available at the moment or can consider using artificial lights. If you are considering taking artificial lights with you for flash photography at night, there are several options you can consider. These are:
– Off-Camera Flash
– Battery-Operated Lights
Tips To Capture Perfect Night Time Images
Apart from the aforementioned settings, ideal cameras, and lenses, it is also equally imperative to discuss some important night portrait photography tips. Here are they:
If you are thinking of clicking nighttime portraits in automatic mode, make sure you are well aware of its downside. You are more likely to face two things; when you click portraits with the flash off, photos will be blurry because of the fact that your camera needs a longer exposure time for night portrait photography. However, when you choose to keep your camera flash on, the shutter speed of the camera gets restricted. As a result of that, the subject in your image is lit up by too much light and the background becomes all dark. If you want to click night portraits with some amazing backgrounds, make sure you do not consider the automatic mode.
Most cameras come with a set of scene modes. You can access these modes from the command dial. It includes different modes like P for Program and M for Manual. There you can also find other modes that are depicted by different icons like sprinter or mountain. There is also a night mode for you. It is usually depicted by the icon ‘moon’ or a ‘star’ with a person. It is important to know that this mode gives you longer exposure with camera flash being on. One of the pro night portraits tips of using the night mode says that you need to hold your camera steady as there is a long exposure.
One of the hardest things in night portrait photography is to get the perfect focus. There are some hacks that can help you get the right focus in the dark. You can either choose to use a flashlight on your subject until your camera gets the focus, or, you can also use a transmitter with autofocus assist beams. This will help your camera to get an accurate focus on the subject.
For clicking perfect night portraits with Speedlight, you need the right camera setting which I have already discussed above. Also, an important thing to know is how to use a low-power Speedlight. There is no need to give too much power to the portraits.
It is important to understand that raising the ISO does not mean going for the max. You have to adjust it depending on the light available during nighttime photography. If you keep the ISO to its maximum, there are higher chances you will get blurry and noisy frames. Also, there is no set ISO limit as every camera is known to behave differently even under the same conditions. Hence, it is important to play with the ISO settings of your camera and keep it apt.
For some places like nightclubs, it is always a good thing to capture portraits with manual settings. Manual control gives you more control over your clicks. It is important to use the right aperture and shutter speed. It helps you make the background look good. You can also use automatic flash on-camera to capture the images. When it comes to lightning, I’ve already discussed the options with you above.
When it comes to night portrait photography, it is important to have an ideal background to get a perfect click. For a fact, your background requires a longer exposure in order to get rendered on the sensor. If you don’t want a blurry background, I recommend you use a tripod. Even with a tripod, you can use a higher ISO in order to lower the shutter speed.
There could be times when the light is low and for that, we’ve already discussed the solution above. But many times, there could be a situation where the light is too strong even if you are using the lowest power of Speedlight. In that case, it is important to defuse it. I personally prefer to diffuse it while capturing portraits. However, it totally depends on the look that you want the portraits to achieve. But, it is always an ideal option to cover the flash with the diffusion cap.
Another important lightning tip to consider while clicking night portraits is to understand what ‘don’t mix the lightning’ refers to. It simply means that you have to avoid direct light on the subject. If you are using flash for night portrait photography, make sure to remove the flashlight from your subject before taking the shot. There is definitely a reason to do that. If you leave the flashlight on the subject, then there are higher chances that the shot will come as overexposed which is not good at all. This is a large problem for a lot of wedding videographers and wedding photographers during their receptions and similar events.
If there is more light on your subject, then it is important to play with the color temperature. A camera includes different color temperatures to choose from. If you are considering mixing different lights, there are higher chances that your subject will receive a different color cast which obviously isn’t an ideal situation to click perfect night portraits. It is imperative to avoid it. For that, make sure to keep your subject at a spot or scene where there is no or little ambient light. Along with that, you can also consider shooting with color gels. In case you don’t know, gels are basically transparent colored material that is used by photographers to modify lights while clicking photos or making videos.
Best places for night photography in Rochester New York
- Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
- Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge on the Genesee Riverway
- High Falls
- Rochester Abandoned Subway Stairs
- 1 Clinton Square
The best background Ideas in Rochester New York
With a beautiful background, your portrait may not be very compelling. Whether it’s a street, a terrace, or any other location, it is important to make sure that your background is perfect in all aspects. In order to take some cool shots, choose a location with an abundance of lights. Using a shallow aperture in such a background, you can click some amazing portraits. I would recommend that you shoot with some style. For that, call a hairstylist and makeup person for your subject. According to the background, create a look. This is important to make your portraits look realistic.
If you really want to make your Instagram account look worthy, night portrait photography is definitely a way to do that. It is important to know beforehand about what type of background, lighting, makeup, and more you want. Once you are ready with some cool and amazing ideas, this night portrait photography guide will certainly help you make that happen. Rest, as they say, it takes time to be perfect in every profession.
About Optimum Influence Media
Optimum Influence Media is a full-service media company based in Rochester, NY. We specialize in wedding videography and photography across the Finger Lakes and Western New York region.
Our professional photographers and videographers specialize in capturing a variety of personal and commercial events. Our personal portfolio ranges from senior portraits, family milestones, engagement photos, save the date pictures, wedding videography and photography, and maternity shoots. Our commercial portfolio focuses on helping businesses grow their presence by featuring their products, services, and employee profiles.
Learn more about how Optimum Influence Media can help share your most beautiful personal memories and also grow your business. Contact us today at 315-926-2691 to set up a consultation.