Every try to take a quick photo of a beautiful starry night but end up with an overexposed mess?

When we take photos during the day, we don’t even realize how lucky we are just to have all that lighting in the first place! Whether or not you’ve got the skills, capturing a stunning image in the dark is no easy task.

Here are 5 simple night photography tips to guide you through your late night photo sesh!

1. Use a tripod

What’s the one thing that can really affect the quality of your images?

A steady hand... unless out of focus photography is your thing!

When it comes to mastering your technique with long exposure photography, you should invest in a tripod and a remote shutter release. A sturdy tripod stabilizes your camera and a remote shutter release allows you to get ‘the’ shot without shaking things up.

2. Bring in additional light sources

Many different things can affect the exposure of your photo. For instance, ambient lighting – light sources that are already present in the spot you choose to shoot your photos – can really impact the quality of your image.

However, with a bit of trial and error, and knowing how to recognize specific lighting conditions – you’ll eventually figure out how to leverage these light sources to add a new dimension to your images!

Besides ambient light, it’s a good idea to bring in additional light sources for long exposure photography – especially if you’re planning on capturing the stars! While a dazzling starry night looks phenomenal to the naked eye, the light actually isn’t strong enough for your camera sensor to detect.

Use a low output LED flashlight to paint the sky with more light during exposure. One of the best night photography tips? Place a cloth over your flashlight to soften up the light! Lighting that’s way too strong only saturates the camera sensor to give you an overexposed photo.

3. Experiment with camera adjustments

In the daytime, we don’t have to pay much attention to adjusting our camera to suit specific lighting conditions. But when it’s dark out, you have to be able to choose the right settings to achieve your desired effect under specific lighting conditions!

One of the best night photography tips: Practice makes perfect.

Play around with your camera, and try to experiment with different locations and lighting conditions to get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

With long exposure photography, you really need to experiment with different camera adjustments to get a better feel for how to create different lighting effects at night. For example, when shooting a static scene, such as landscapes or buildings, adjust your camera to Aperture Priority for the best results!

4. Play around with shutter speed

In terms of night photography tips, there’s certainly no one size fits all strategy.

But when you’re adjusting your camera settings, there are a couple things any night photographer must consider: The lighting conditions that you’re working with, your subject (static or in motion), and your desired effect.

One of the best night photography tips when you’re trying to capture motion in the dark? Adjust your camera to Shutter Priority. Under this setting, your camera will take care of the aperture as long as you set the shutter speed.

FYI: Places with more ambient light require shorter shutter speed.

Keep in mind that if you want to achieve longer (and more) light trails, you must use slower shutter speed! For instance, set your camera to Shutter Priority and use a longer exposure to capture dazzling star trails.

5. Watch the weather

Ultimately, one of the most useful night photography tips is to do your homework and watch the weather. If you plan on capturing the stars with your camera, make sure it’s not going to be a cloudy night and (this might seem obvious but it still needs to be said) go online to track the stars - Summer nights are perfect for this!