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In the spirit of Halloween we want you to get out there and take some spooky night photos!

Tips for shooting in the dark:

Be Prepared. Before you go out and dabble in the art of night photography, you should have all the right equipment and know how to use it beforehand. But don’t be afraid to experiment!

be prepared
Photo courtesy of ACDSee photographer Serge Timacheff

Tools needed for shooting in the dark:

Tripod - A shaky camera just won’t do! Shooting in the dark requires long exposures and having a steady camera is key to getting your best shot. If you don’t have access to a tripod you can get resourceful and use a flat surface to rest your camera on, but a tripod is a good investment.

Cable release - This will also help to keep your camera steady during those long exposures. A cable release (wired or wireless) will minimize any camera shake caused by pressing the shutter release button. If you don’t have access to a cable release, most cameras have a timer that you can set for a few seconds, long enough that you are no longer touching the camera by the time the shutter goes.

Flash - If you must use a flash, use an external flash. Point the flash up at a 45-degree angle - this is called a ‘bounce flash’, and gives a softer, more pleasing effect. If this is the style of photo you are going for, feel free to try experimenting by using diffusers or covering the flash with a tissue or handkerchief.

Wide angle lens - This is the best choice for shooting night skies, and a zoom lens makes it even more versatile. Ideally your lens should have an infinity focusing mode.

wide angle lens
Photo courtesy of ACDSee photographer Serge Timacheff

Camera settings for shooting in the dark:

Manual Mode - It’s always best to use your camera’s manual mode when shooting at night.

ISO - Set your camera to the lowest possible ISO; for many cameras this is 100 ISO.

Aperture - Adjust your aperture to let int he most light possible. This is done by adjusting your settings to the lowest f-stop; in most cameras this is f3.5.

Shutter speed - For quality night shots your shutter should be set at a slow speed, without increasing your ISO setting. This allows enough time to let light into the sensor. There is no magic shutter speed to suit every situation, so try testing a few shots at 5-10 seconts, then 20 and 30 seconds. View the images on your LCD display to judge which shutter speed works best for that particular night.

Now get out there after dark and get shooting! Don’t forget to share your images on ACDSee 365 for your chance to be a featured photographer on www.acdsee.com - just be sure your images are marked “public”.

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