Night Street Photography: Top Tips For Shooting Portraits At Night
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
This blog post aims to go over all of my top tips for shooting amazing portraits at night time in low light conditions. Night street photography can seem like a daunting task but, once you get the hang of it, it is definitely one of the most rewarding things. All of the images used in this post were taken by myself at night- I hope that they will give you some inspiration to go out and shoot something similar!
Shoot At The Largest Aperture Possible In Low Light
If you're really interested in being a boss at night street photography, buying a lens which goes to apertures like f/1.4 is ideal. That means that the camera will let the maximum amount of light in, so that when you take the picture, you won't have to raise the ISO too much.
However, having a lens which shoots at f/1.4 isn't essential- just handy. A lot of the shots in this blog were shot at f/4 on a 24-105mm lens and the results were just as good. The reason for those results is detailed in the next tip...
Utilise Ambient Light
It's worth mentioning that you shouldn't expect to go out into the pitch black and get these kinds of shots- that's not possible. Instead, to get shots like the ones I have used, you need to utilise the light around you. Think street lamps, lights from shops, passing by cars and so on. Placing your subject near these will help light them and will guarantee a better shot.
Mid Range ISO
I tend to use ISO 1000 when photographing at night or low light conditions. I do this because I like to incorporate other light sources and let the wide aperture to do the rest. I also try to keep my shutter speed around 1/100 so that there is no possible camera shake. A tripod is useful if you want to use a shutter speed slower than 1/60- but remember that takes away your ability to move around and find new angles easily.
Extra Tips For Low Light Photography:
Take Your Time- Photographing in low light isn't going to be the fastest paced shoot you've ever done. It is important to take your time to find the right focus point on your subject when shooting, as well getting your camera settings right before you even begin. For this kind of photography, I promise you that slow and steady will win the race.
Under Expose- Making your images slightly darker than you normally would for any portrait is beneficial. That will mean, when you come to editing later on, you will be able to lift the exposure and still have great details in the picture.
You Won't Get It Right First Time- This rule applies for anything new you ever try in photography. You won't get it right the first time or maybe even the second- that is why it is so vital to just keep on trying. Experiment. Change up your settings. Find brighter locations. Try using a flash if you need or even a tripod. Find what works for you and go from there- just don't get disheartened when it doesn't go right at first.