NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY


– I’ve been a lot of places and taken a lot of photos, but one thing that I’ve never enjoyed particularly within this craft is
nighttime photography. Something I’ve struggled with, I’ll be honest with that, and it’s just never really interested me. Everything is different, the rules are completely different at night, and it’s a whole different ball game. If you’re not comfortable
with your camera, it’s something that can be
intimidating for a lot of people. For me, photography sort of just ends when the sun goes down, but I’m trying to change that. I think it’s time for a tutorial, yeah, that sounds about right. I could get into that. Maybe something like, how
to shoot photos at night. Ooh, that’s a good one, let’s do that. Let’s do how to shoot photos at night. (exciting rock music) What’s up, everybody? Peter McKinnon here, and
today we’re talking about how to shoot photos at night, and no, it’s not as scary as you think it is. Now, you see, for a lot of photographers, and myself included, this is
something that I struggle with. The second the sun goes down, and it’s nighttime,
photography ends for me. That’s it. As far as anything goes
with regards to shooting video or photos, I’m pretty much done. I don’t even think about going
out with my camera at night, I don’t really enjoy going
out with my camera at night, it’s just more work, it’s
more, the settings are, they’re confusing and sometimes, it just doesn’t work how I want
it to work all of the time. So, I don’t go outside
at night with my camera. Fact. Now, lately, I’ve been going
outside a little bit more. Shooting with Alan,
different people downtown, and I’ve kinda started to like it. I’ve kinda been like,
“Wow, this is actually “really, really interesting.” Now, you see, what I’ve
really been enjoying about shooting at night is,
everything feels different. It’s almost like, all the rules you know for being comfortable shooting outside, out the window, gone. It’s a whole new ballgame,
it’s a whole new world. The city empties itself,
it gets really quiet, it’s dark, it’s just you and your camera. There’s lots of fun experimenting with how to go the most unique angle, the most unique light, finding light from signs, from neon signs, from stop lights, and street lights, and walk signs. There is so much to play with. So, if anybody here hasn’t shot at nighttime before,
or you’re planning to, or you want to, or it’s
something that you’re kind of unfamiliar with, watch this video and then go try it. Test yourself, try it, have a good time, that’s what this art form’s about. But, I wanted to start with that message, just in case you’re someone that’s like me and you’re like, “Mm-mm, I
don’t, no, I don’t do that.” Alright, so let’s just get started. There’s some stuff you’re gonna need. You don’t have to buy
everything on this list, but there are some things
that are gonna make your life a lot easier if you’re planning to set out to get some nighttime shots. One being, a tripod. Now, that’s pretty
self-explanatory, everyone should have one of these at this point. You don’t have to have the best tripod, it could just be something that works. You can hang your backpack
off it, some sandbags whatever, to weigh it down
so if it’s a windy day, this is a really expensive tripod. I picked this up recently because I wanted this forever. I remember when I was
working at the camera shop, I was like, “Ah, one day I will own you.” And, I finally do. It’s a really lightweight carbon fiber Gitzo traveler tripod. The head comes off, these things invert, and it packs down really small, so it’s great for travel. Everywhere that I go, this can fit in my tiny little roller carry-on. I don’t have to carry it with me. But, doesn’t matter,
you just need a tripod. If you wanna use recycling bins stacked up on the side
of the street, use that. If you wanna use a
bunch of cardboard boxes and some backpacks, park bench, whatever, as long as it stabilizes your
camera, you’re good to go. I do recommend a tripod though. Links to some cheap options below. Alright, so pop your
camera on your tripod, and we’re gonna talk about one of the most popular types of nighttime photography, which is getting those nice light trails. Now, how do you do that? Shots like this, for example. Shot that last night. A lot of people asked
me, “How do you get those nice trails? Those beams of light blasting in through the photo.” And usually, when I
show people how to do it that don’t know, they’re like, “Wow, “I had no idea it was that easy.” And, it is that easy. So, picture it like this. We’re gonna take a photo, a car’s gonna drive through the frame,
we’re gonna try and snap that photo and get that
car right in the center. We gotta nice fast shutter
speed, everything’s good, that car drives through. (blasting sound) Good, nice and sharp, looks amazing. Now, what happens if we open
that shutter for two seconds, that car drives through and
then the shutter closes, you’re gonna get some blur. Now, if you’re hand
holding that, you can’t hold the camera physically steady for two seconds without
some sort of image blur. That’s why we’re putting this on a tripod. So now picture this, camera’s
on the tripod, ready to go. We’ve got a two second shutter. It’s really dark outside. That car drives through our frame. We expose the photo, it opens the shutter for two seconds, that car drives through, you get those nice red tail lights going all the way through your frame, it closes, that’s what’s creating that light streak. Now, depending on how
intense you want that light streak to be, how
faint, how much of it, that’s gonna be affected by how long your shutter speed exposure
time is and the aperture. Typically when I’m
shooting photos like this, I’ll shoot manual, I’ll start with my shutter speed around two seconds, and I’ll try to make
my aperture around F9. So, not much light is
coming through there, because I’m letting tons of it in by having that shutter
open for two seconds. Now, if I don’t get
enough of a light trail, I might have it open for three seconds. Or maybe I’ll only have it open
for one and a half seconds. But you play around with
those different settings, kind of going back and
forth, and that’s what’s gonna get you that nice light trail photo. It looks great with lots of traffic, it looks great when
you get a winding road, ’cause those lights just
wind all the way down. Now, on that same note, if we’re on a tripod still we can
talk about reflections. Here is a shot of the
city, that’s the skyline. Now, the water was really
calm the other night, because there was no wind at all, so the reflections off
that water looked so good. If you just went over and snapped a quick photo of that, you could probably pump the ISO up and get your shutter speed around 180th and shoot with a fast lens, like something that’s 1/4, or 1/8, or 2.8. That means the aperture
is really wide open, letting lots of light in, but that reflection wouldn’t look as glossy and smooth and incredible
than if you put it on a tripod and did a long exposure. When you put it on a tripod
and do a long exposure, you’re getting a really
nice, smooth reflection over that water and you’re
getting shots like this. Now, that shot specifically,
that was exposed for 25 seconds, so I actually
had that shutter open for 25 seconds and I had
my aperture stopped down to like f16, so almost no light was coming through that aperture. But the shutter was open
for a very long time. Water break. I put a lemon in it today. Hoo hoo! Fun. Another thing that’s gonna
help you, if you’re shooting on a tripod and doing long
exposures is a remote. Now, a lot of people
say, “Why do you use a “remote if you’re not
doing time lapse stuff.” Sometimes, the act of
pushing the shutter button itself can actually move the camera and that can introduce
camera shake, image blur. So, to avoid that, we’re
plugging in a remote, when we’re ready for our frame, we just hit the button here, the camera’s not moving at all. Guaranteed not to get any
camera shake with that. So, this is a great option. Now full disclosure, I
didn’t use this last night, but that’s not to say
I don’t use it at all. This is something that
lives in my camera bag and I use a remote to trip
the shutter all the time. Sometimes, if it’s too
hard to get to the camera, or if I wanna make sure I’m not getting any blur at all, I’ll use a remote. Now, if you’ve ever
seen a Hollywood movie, pay attention to how to ground looks if they’re shooting a scene at night. You’ll almost never see a dry road. They always spray the roads down so the concrete, the
asphalt, any of that is all really rich, and contrasty, and glistening from being wet when the lights hit them. For instance, when we
were shooting this night, it wasn’t raining, it wasn’t wet at all, it just didn’t look great. One of the benefits of
everything being wet is you get great puddles so you can look for reflections, but
everything’s bone dry, there’s no reflections, so I
brought my own water bottle. I found the frame that I wanted, I soaked the road in front of that frame so I could get some reflection of all of the lights,
because it’s nighttime and everything looks great, and I shot through that reflection
that I created myself. So don’t be afraid to mess around and be creative with that kind of stuff. I looked crazy walking around the city in freezing cold temperatures with a giant bottle of water, but it
doesn’t matter though. Filled it up at the tap
at home, poured it on the road, got the spot that I
wanted, shot that reflection, and now that shot is
this much more creative. So, there’s a little fun tip for ya. It’s something I did yesterday. Again, like bokeh and
out of focus elements that glisten and reflect off of windows, or puddles, or water,
especially at nighttime looks so, so good. Now, looking for available
light from signs, from neon signs, from
a marquee for example that was lighting this old theater. That’s awesome light, so you
can use that to your advantage. But, I was using the
reflection to our advantage, because during high noon, midday, you’re not gonna see a
strong reflection like that. But at night, when everything’s dark and you’ve got a nice light source, look for those types of windows, look for something that
you can reflect against. Just like the water from the skyline. But, this particular spot looks awesome for
reflections, so it’s just fun to play with different creative aspects that you don’t usually have access to when you’re shooting midday. Now, a lot of times
you might find yourself shooting somewhere where you
need a little more light. Some rim light behind
someone would look great, or just adding some kind
of flare, or a little bit of color really, really, really helps. A lot of people bring their own lights. I don’t wanna carry around a massive light with me, ’cause that just sucks and takes all the fun out of it. But you can get little things like this, that’s called a Lume Cube. They’re not paying me to say this, I actually went out and
bought this yesterday. I’m not even sure how amazing it is yet, because I haven’t really
used it all that much, but what I know is it’s super bright. Super bright, has 10 brightness settings, you can control it with your phone. But it’s an LED, so I’m able to bring this with me, screw mount it to the bottom of a
Gorilla Pod or a tripod, wrap that around a railing somewhere, mount it to anything, and then I have a really, really bright light that I can use as a back light, a rim light. I can use it to bounce against a ceiling, cast more blue light over
these types of photos. Here it is here. Look, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. 10 brightness settings,
so this thing goes. Then, what you can do,
which is super cool, is you can get different gels for it. Throw it on the front,
now you have a blue light. So, we were shooting some portraits in front of the skyline,
this is what it looked like with nothing and this
is what it looked like back lit with the Lume Cube behind me. So, it’s pretty cool. Then we were just using it to enhance different photos like this. Taking advantage of the glow of the street lights, the Do Not Cross sign, all of those things in
combination with this makes nighttime photography
really creative, really interesting. So, that’s it for me guys. Hit that like button if
you liked this video. Smash it, if that’s something
that you’re into, 2018 style. Subscribe if you aren’t already, and I will see you in the next video. (upbeat electronic music)

100 thoughts on “NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

  1. Ya'll have been asking about night photography for a while! Hope some of these tips help! That water bottle tip though- Wooooo!!! Pumped on that!

  2. I felt in love with photography in college back in Brazil. I live in the US now and I never worked with it but photography has been my passion. Your videos are gold. Thanks for sharing your real world knowledge.

  3. Peter with those two examples about the light beams and the skyline reflections in the water I did get the aperture and shutter idea but.. how was your ISO..

  4. I’m not an expert at photography nor even interested in having it as a job but i can say that Night time photography is probably the only one where i’m good at, my tip is try to get an angle where there are lights that could make the subject brighter but still not ruin the effect which is the darkness of night.

  5. Hello Peter , I love your videos , I love this video but I want to address one thing that is not in this video that allot of us deal with , here in port Angeles we have log ships in the harbor everyday , there is a very rare chance we get none in the harbor , because these boats sit in the harbor and the city is behind , the lights from the boats are super bright and the city is not , opening the shutter for 2 seconds with the settings you recomend , makes it a washout , the boats over ride everything and with in that 2 seconds if it's windy the boats will move slightly while you are very still it just makes a mess for the images . I have one I was able to get with no boats in the harbor 4 years ago , our harbor is a safe harbor so they park here all the time .

    I have a Sony a-3000 stock lens and a canon t6i 250 mm lens and stock 55-88 lens and they all come out about the same except for the canon of course . So to be able to take the photo I have to wait for no ships or I don't open the shutter for very long at all or. It at all at night .

    There is useually 3-5 ships normally everyday so it's even hard to get between them with the zoom lens , you will catch side light even with a hood on .

    Is there a way you can do a video like this one , I'm not sure in your area you get large ships in the harbor like we do but it would be very helpful for us who do deal with it everyday and how to over come it .

    I would love to take a normal image of our city with the shutter open for a few seconds I've never in my life seen it that way and port Angeles sits on the water so if I can get the reflection too it would be one amazing photo .

    Thank you Peter sorry this was a bit long just want to make sure I hit all points 😊

  6. I love night photography. It allows you to get out of your comfort zone and try a new style of shooting. I love long exposure photography the most.

  7. Beginner tip for taking long exposure night photography without shake when you don't have a remote. Use the cameras internal timer.

  8. hahaha, yeah, great place to start ! Just tried this out. Thanks so much 🙂 You remind me of the guy who first got me standing on a surf board. He just made everything so simple, you couldn't really fail. ok, I didn't exactly make the world tour, but I did start having fun.

  9. Sorry I didn’t subscribe to you in till now. You’re one of my biggest inspirations. Keep on keeping on. Nice haircut btw.

  10. What about using a polarizer and ND filter like a #3 to increase your exposure time and maybe control flare? Also, instead of using high ISO using 100 ISO and forcing the camera to expose the image longer using the ND filter and or not the polarizer? Lastly, what about color lenses or sheets or prisms to really make subjects pop extraordinary than what most photographers would do?

  11. I am taking a 6-week photography course in Buffalo NY with Will Holten and he strongly suggested I invest in a tripod remote and a 24mm pancake lens so I invested in a nice Promaster tripod, a remote and the 24mmlens too. took some great waterfall shots at night and definitely had different public lights to work around

  12. Peter McKinnon your awesome man. The way you use your personality to teach others and the skill you have to back that all up is awesome. You are inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone and to do something I love. I can't get enough of your videos as they are all refreshing. Keep up the amazing work. It would be awesome to run into you some time.

  13. Watched your video today for the first time! You're not a man but a God of Light & Photography! Thank you for these videos.

  14. I like u but u talk a lot n I do not like that all ur video has lighting like this. Do regular lighting YouTuber videos sometimes with less filler talks

  15. Great content as always man. So quick question do you white balance your night time pics or you just go with the AWB?

  16. I do the 3 second photo delay timer before starting a long exposure night shot. Makes it easier to not move the camera.

  17. They need to make cubes like that but with RGB leds that you could dial into any hue you wanted… hmmmmmmmmm… I could probably build something like that with an arduino…. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  18. Remote is too important whether you use a camera or a camera phone and if you don't have a remote you can use your earphone
    it helped me a lot.

  19. Thanks for the vid. Night photography is what peaked my interest and got me started. I will have to try the water bottle tip.

  20. Great video! Love your enthusiasm and energy!!! I added a couple of items to your list of must have items – a backpack for my gear, a tracksuit (for quick running), and a dozen eggs for cars as they drive by. Man! I can't wait to get out there and stir up some action photos! SPLAT!…….Click-Click!!

    just-kidding…..thanks for the video!

  21. Super cool video, maybe I'm a little late but, you don't need a remote conroller, to avoid image blur (7:11) you can just set the self timer to 2 seconds and you've a great shot too! Just a low budget tip 😉 Thank's for this cool video!

  22. There's a really dope place for night photography at the waterfront near HTO park, they got these green color street lanterns plus you can see the tower and the Roger's center lit with purple – all giving a wild & mystic mix of colors.

  23. I know this video was ages ago but just watched it now and wanted to say a huge thank you! It's super helpful. Can you make one of how to take non blurred photos at night without cranking the ISO up so it turns out grainy?

  24. 6:56 I use MagicLantern on my camera so I can set it to take a photo when the LCD sensor detects motion so I don't have to touch the camera. Works great.

  25. I'm an Owl at nights 👀 📷
    And I shoot at nights
    In my beloved San Juan PR
    With Ambient light in B&W
    Mostly!!!
    No problems with my two Fuji's
    X-A 1 and the XT-10 in M mode
    With Vintage lens

  26. @ 8:59 in this video and @ 0:10 on JR Alli's "out of sight" video are in just about the exact same spot.

  27. how on earth did u compose that opening video !!!!!!!!!!!! goddddddd im going nutsssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. 5 ppl were killed in a pileup caused by a car skidding on ice, which was apparently made by some random jerk photographer looking to get a reflective 'wet' look in his pictures. Ha jk, u got great vids kid

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