Taking Photos at Night

Some hints to improve your photography to take better photos at night.

Use longer exposure times to allow for more light.

Use a tripod to keep the camera steady and still during this time when the shutter is open.

Take lots of photos, experimenting with different settings.

Using the built-in flash is not usually recommended when shooting at night as the light will not reach distant objects. Rely instead on adjusting the shutter speed and increasing the ISO settings.

Try using the night scene mode if your digital camera has one. (Refer to your manual.)

Dusk is typically the easiest time to shoot night photos.

Basic-Digital-Photography.com has a great idea with taking a control shot with lens cap on, which can be used to blend with "normal" photo later on. This ensures getting rid of bad pixels that often show up on night shots:

"Now you will have two images, one night shot and one control shot (with the hot pixels). Load them up in say, Paint Shop Pro. Switch to the control shot and select Edit and Copy from the menu. Next, switch to the night shot and paste the copied image as a new layer. Then, select the new layer and change the Blend Mode to Difference and click OK. You’ll get the correct night shot with the hot spots subtracted out."

More information and great ideas:
AnandTech Guide to Better Photos: Night Photography
Digital Night Photography Help and Tips
COMMON OBSTACLES IN NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY (awesome article with many specific ideas and technical info)

Additional recommended reading:

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition)

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