Thanks to this Flickr.com thread entitled “Night Photography Tips“, we have an amazing list of points, tips, tricks and items to have when shooting night photography. I will need to revisit TED’s Camera‘s again!
I’ve shuffled them around, spell-checked, cropped a few lengthy personal statements plus removed a lot of duplication.
Use a tripod.
If its a bit of a unsteady surface/tripod and the camera shakes when you take the photo. You don’t need to buy any other stuff for it, just use the timer function.
If you’re talking about long exposure, then get a cable shutter release.
Bring a strong spot lamp for focusing on your subject, then turn off the auto-focus (unless you focused manually with the spot lamp), a bubble level never hurts (although you can always level it in Photoshop. Just be prepared to suffer some minor cropping), and most of all. Bring LOTS of patience!
Take the filter off your lens
There is no need to have spots all over your pretty pictures. Light refection will ruin you night.
Use suitable light, either available or organised.
A flash light can come in handy to do some “light painting” and gently brighten some dark shadows (when you expose a couple of seconds and use a tripod)
Get a laser pointer. Ever try focusing on a tree by moonlight? Fast lenses shot. wide open don’t exactly give you a lot of depth of field/margin for error if you’re off a hair, but it’s relatively easy to to manually focus on a bright red dot. It also comes in handy on a number of fronts, i.e. finding your gear, focusing, and getting creative with long exposures.
Use mirror lock-up.
If it’s an option on your camera. It’s found in custom functions on Canon dSLRs.
Just carry the tools needed.
So you can travel light. Usually I only carry in a small waist bag — a long jacket can cover it up if need be. And if needed, I use a nondescript bag to carry extra equipment. Stuff lens into a cardboard tube so they are out of sight and also for protection.
F/22 for Aperture.
If shooting digital, use raw.
If shooting JPG, set a custom white balance, night lighting can be very varied.
If using an auto focus camera.
Set it to manual as auto-focus can be erratic in very low light. Even consider hyper-focal focusing on manual settings.
No doubt more people will add to this list as time goes by. But the information provided already is most interesting, and will keep me going for quite some time.