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How to Shoot Your Digital Camera at Night without a Flash

Learn how to shoot at night without a flash with a digital camera from commercial photographer Dan Bracaglia in this photography lesson from Howcast.

Transcript

A question I get from a lot of our readers of popular photography is how can I take better nighttime photos without using a flash? There are a couple of different ways you can do that. The easiest way would be to put your camera on a tripod, and just keep it steady. That way you can vary your exposure, and compensate for the light really easily. However, if you don't have a tripod or maybe you're shooting something fast action, there are a couple of other options. Depending on the quality of your camera and where it falls on the scale of price range, higher end cameras will let you crank up something called "ISO," which is the quality of the actual image. When you go up in ISO's, your camera can do better in low light situations; however you sacrifice the grain quality, and you start to get something called "noise," which is just sort of patterns in the shadows, and also in the highlights of your image. Higher end cameras will have better noise reduction and just look better at higher ISO's, whereas lower end cameras, they're going to reach a point where you're not going to be able to go any further. This is a Nikon D700. I can push this up to about ISO 6400, which is just fast enough to allow me to hand hold it at night and still get a clear image. However, if I was shooting with something like this guy here, this is the Sony RX100, it also goes to ISO 6400, but the image quality just doesn't look quite as good. This is something I'd probably want a tripod mount, whereas this is something I could probably hold in my hands. And that's just a few tips on getting better nighttime photos without using your flash.

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