how can i take good pictures at night?

I have a Canon 40dsl and i am having trouble taking pictures at night. Does anyone have suggestions

Mike736 years ago
Good - in this case - well lighted pictures (even at night) are all about how much light hits the imaging sensor in your camera.

You can do this in several ways:
- Like kelseymh says, you can crank up ISO which replicates the film sensitivity of old film cameras. This can increase picture noise though.
- Use a longer exposuretime. If you set the camera to Tv, you can mannually dial in how long the shutter stays open to expose the imaging sensor to the incoming light (even at night, there's still enough light to make a good picture, it just takes longer). You can even set it up so that you press the shutter release once to start image capture and press another time to stop again. This one is called Bulb. In this mode, the camera will choose the appropriate aperture for you so you only have to dial in the exposure time.

- Use a larger aperture. Do this by dialling the main dial to Av. You have to know though that higher f-numbers resemble smaller apertures, smaller f-numbers are larger apertures. The larger the aperture, the more light enters your camera in the same amount of time. Another thing to be careful about aperture is that if you go with smaller f-numbers, you'll have less depth of field meaning that maybe not all parts of a picture get crisp and sharp. In this mode, the camera will automatically set the exposure time.

- Use the M-Mode on the main dial. This allows for setting both, aperture and exposure time. This mode gives you total control over the exposure settings.

- Use the P-Mode. This is a combination where the camera tries to get exposure right itself by setting aperture and exposuretime. You can still get a larger aperture or different exposuretimes if you use the exposurecompensation in this mode.

All in all it comes down to "how long is your image sensor exposed to the incoming light" and this is all about the combination of how much light you allow to enter into the camera by setting ISO, aperture and exposure time.

The automatic modes allways will try to match the exposure to a so called 18% gray level. If your image is supposed to be darker, you will not reach the 18% gray which is why the camera will pump up brightness of the picture. This is why some night shots look as if it is bright day. The same holds true for snow-pictures, where the total image may be way brighter than 18% gray.

I hope this was not too theoretical. But if you want to make the best of your dslr photography and want to get creative, try using all modes except the full auto modes.
The canon cameras also have the limit that the full auto modes and scene modes do not allow for raw file capturing. They only save jpg images.
kelseymh6 years ago
Don't use "Auto." Go into the manual configuration, and either specifically select the "night snapshots" option, or set ISO 400 or 800 if you're familiar with old-style film types.

Use a tripod. Low-light photography requires relatively long exposure times, tens to hundreds of milliseconds. That is long enough for your natural muscle jitter to cause blurring.

You don't need a big ground-standing tripod. I've got a little six-inch job with bendable legs that's just fine. I can set it on a railing, a table, or the back of a bench, and get very clear shots.
+1 or even thousands, depending on ambient lighting. (i've used up to tens of seconds.)
jeff-o6 years ago
- Use a tripod
- Use the built-in flash
- Use an external flash for even more light
- Turn up the ISO to 800 or more
- Use a lens with a larger aperture (say, f2.0 or less)
- Use a tripod