Today's article is dedicated to the essential accessories for night photography. It is true that the night is very feared by many photographers. It seems that it is something intended for a select few and/or brave and it is a little scary when taking photos, but it is simple ignorance and lack of practice.
Surely if you jump in you will see that it is not that difficult, that you only have to have some basic knowledge to get started in night photography and practice. Practice is fundamental and what will show you that it is not so difficult, that with a little dedication, patience, trial and error, in the end everything is achieved.
It is also true that this type of photography has more technical requirements that make specific equipment necessary, that is, a camera with which you can photograph in Manual Mode and other specific accessories. This time it's not worth just your camera and that's it. To get spectacular night photos, some are essential, others are recommended, but it is better to see them one by one.
OBJECTIVES FOR NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
To try night photography and see if you like the subject or not, it can work with any lens you have, however, if you want to go deeper into this discipline, you will need a bright lens. Preferably a wide angle, unless the only thing you care about at night are the craters of the moon or capturing it at a gigantic size, in which case you will have no choice but to go for a telephoto lens of at least 300-400mm.
But if what attracts you are landscapes bathed in stars, abandoned and lonely places sheltered from the night, photographing the Milky Way, roads crisscrossed by rivers of lights, or the illuminated skylines of the most populous cities on the planet, then no there is no doubt that you need a wide angle.
You can go deeper into the subject of objectives for night photography in this article.
TRIPOD FOR NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
It is one of the absolutely essential accessories in night photography. No. You will not be able to take a night photograph without a tripod no matter how steady your hand is. Night photography requires very long exposure times and it is impossible to achieve it freehand.
This is the best investment you can make if you are clear that the night captivates you enough to spend hours outdoors with the only company of absolute silence, your team and some unsuspecting person who is willing to accompany you for the love of photographic art ( or you).
WHAT KIND OF TRIPOD DO YOU NEED FOR NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY?
The main characteristics that a good tripod for night photography should have are the following:
- Stability. It is not about taking a self-portrait, but we are talking about high speeds and any jitter can spoil the final result.
- Head. Ideally, it should be ball or three-axis, if you are looking for greater precision.
- Paws. The fewer sections the better because it is more stable and they open independently.
If you get lost with what is a head, a shoe, the sections or the feet, do not miss this complete guide to buy a tripod where you can solve all your doubts. And here are some tripod recommendations for night photography.
I insist. Beyond the camera or the lens, the tripod is the accessory in which you should pay the most attention when buying, where you should invest the most time and money.
I just mentioned the importance of stability in achieving sharp images. You can buy a super stable tripod, with a head that allows incredible precision, made of a super light and resistant material, but if you hit the shutter button with your finger, all this will be of no use to you. That's right, nothing more than the movement that occurs when pressing the shutter button is already causing a judder that translates into a lack of sharpness.
This is fixed with a remote shutter release. There are wired or wireless, but better for this occasion forget about the former. Can you imagine in the middle of a mountain at night fussing with the remote release cable? If it's the one you already have, fine, but if you have to buy it, don't hesitate, go for a wireless one.
Another recommendation is that you have an intervalometer, which will help you photograph circumpolars, meteor showers, take time-lapses, photograph the phases of a lunar eclipse, etc.
Is the remote shutter release essential among your accessories for night photography? Well, you can always pull the 2s delay shutter that most cameras have. So it is not essential, but highly recommended it is. One day is fine, but for those addicted to the night it is no longer useful. Another option is to shoot from your smartphone if your camera has the possibility of connecting and you download the appropriate application that allows you to shoot from your mobile.
If you decide to buy a remote shutter, make sure that in addition to being wireless, it is compatible with your camera. Regardless of whether it is of the same brand or another.
Here's an example of a timer remote for Canon, but it's available for other brands:
This is not one of the essential accessories for night photography but it can open many doors to creativity, or rather, doors, windows and secret passageways ? .
You can do night photography without a flash, of course, but if you want to achieve effects like the one in this photo below, you're going to need one or multiple flashes, depending on how far you want to get creative.
Actually the lighting can be done with flash or flashlights.
FLASHLIGHTS FOR NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
Flashlights, like flash, can be used to illuminate foreground subjects. These can be anything from a tree to an uninhabited building like in the image above, to an abandoned car. And they serve to illuminate from inside or outside.
In addition, they are worth to guide you at night ?
Flashlights are of many types and intensities. Some are only white, others are of various colors, there are cold or warm tones. There are also waterproof or submersible, etc. Look at the power, the distance they reach and the colors, as well as if they are battery-only or you can charge them with a USB, to find the one that best suits your needs (or desires ? ).
Also keep in mind that as you venture into this discipline, it is likely that you will need flashlights of different intensity, it is not the same as wanting to take a night portrait in the middle of a lavender field with a starry background, than to illuminate the mountain in front of you. your circumpolar, or if you want to create a beam of light towards the sky. Everything will depend on the type of photography you want to achieve.
Here I give you some examples, although you will find many more on the net.
The headlamp is a flashlight but it's not just any, rather it's about those flashlights that fit your head and allow you absolute freedom of movement by leaving your hands free ? .
The front ones are mainly used to function in the dark, operate the camera, see where you are stepping, etc. Although they are also useful on a creative level to direct beams of light.
For the headlamp I recommend that it have the possibility of red light and white light. A red light is less annoying than a white one for certain situations and, above all, for those who are with you when you look at their face ? .
I leave you with some frontal examples, but as before, with the flashlights, choose the power according to your needs, it is not the same that you want it just to have visibility or that you also use it to illuminate elements in the foreground or create a beam of light. Also keep in mind, when buying, that some have the possibility of recharging them with USB or those that only work with batteries.
In addition to flashlights and headlamps, there are also other interesting alternatives to illuminate, for example, lighting cubes or LED torches. About tastes and needs, you know, there is nothing written.
It is one of the most economical creative accessories for night photography. Color gels are attached to flash or even flashlights to add color to the lighting. With them you will achieve more creative photos, full of color and will help you convey the message you want.
Some are fastened with rubber bands, others with a velcro system, although I've also seen DIY jobs out there that have adapted bottle caps with a colored gel for flashlights. If you're good at these things, I'm sure you'll do just fine.
It is obviously not essential, but it is recommended. Long exposure consumes a lot of battery and if you plan to spend several hours photographing stars, with all the effort that goes into planning, getting to your chosen location, staying up late and so on, it would be a shame if the session failed due to running out of battery when it is something so avoidable, right?
If you find that your own brand of camera batteries are too expensive or out of your budget, be sure to consider private label batteries.
Well, for the same reason as the extra battery, a spare memory card is always a great help and can get you out of trouble. That you do not have to return home due to lack of space when it is precisely what occupies the least in your backpack.
In addition to storage capacity, when buying a card, look at the reading and writing speed.
If you have the lens hood, it will be useful to avoid ghosting light and also to prevent moisture on the lens. It is also more convenient than any cheap filter to prevent scratches or bumps on the optics.
NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY BACKPACK
The backpack theme is very personal, there are those who prefer a shoulder bag to carry the equipment, or who prefer to adapt a bag, etc. The truth is that in night photography, if the thing goes beyond a test outing and you really get a taste for it, the best thing to do is that you get a backpack that is really comfortable and that fits your equipment, and all accessories, in an orderly manner. That is, that you can find everything in the dark or semi-dark and put it back again. It seems silly but it is not.
Here are some ideas for choosing the most suitable backpack for your needs , and then a couple of recommendations (although you will find many more at the link):
Beyond photographic needs, the night has its particularities, so I don't want to say goodbye without leaving you with some ideas to take precautions.
And it is not that you carry a backpack, but a multipurpose knife, something to eat, water, a hot drink, appropriate footwear for the terrain where you are going to move and a well-charged mobile phone, they seem to me a must , Little things that cannot be missing in your backpack. And for the more cautious, a thermal blanket is not a bad idea either.
I'm sorry, the protective mother's vein has come out, what am I going to do to her ? . But it is that we readers care a lot and we want you to take care of yourselves, it is not bad, right?
Now I can say goodbye, if you found it useful, please share it, maybe some future night photographer will be eternally grateful to you.
And if something else occurs to you, you know, we will be happy to read you in the comments. Thank you and see you soon!