April 2021 // The Travel Edition

The Best Settings for Night Photography | Jennifer Wu


Things to do before leaving your hotel room or location: • Place a fresh battery in the camera and have a spare battery in your pocket to keep it warm if in cold weather. • Put a formatted media card in the camera. • Set the LCD screen brightness to low to maximize your night vision to get more accurate-looking night photographs. (Don’t forget to reverse your LCD settings when you’re done.) • Mount a wide-angle lens with the lens hood. • Remove any filters. • Turn off Mirror Lock Up, Image Stabilization and Exposure Bracketing. • Long Exposure Noise Reduction: set as desired. I normally don’t use it. • Set file type to RAW. • Place dark gaffer or electrical tape over camera processing red LED light. • After I set the focus on my lens for the stars, I put a piece of tape on the lens to make sure the focus stays in place.


Manual settings:

• Aperture at f/2.8 (if your lens doesn’t have f/2.8, use the largest aperture available) • Shutter speed maximum to stop movement of stars:

For full-frame cameras:

• 14mm at 30 seconds • 16mm at 25 seconds • 24mm at 20 seconds • 35mm at 15 seconds For crop factor sensor cameras:

• 10mm at 25 seconds • 16mm at 20 seconds • 22mm at 15 seconds • Set ISO to 3200 for f/1.4. If you have an f/2.8 lens then ISO 6400 will be OK, without moonlight. • Set white balance to Kelvin temperature 3400 to 4400 or as desired. • Focus the lens. • Take a photo and review. • Use the magnifier on your LCD to make sure the stars are in focus. • Check histogram to get a bright enough exposure to fill up to the second bar from the far left. • Check white balance and adjust if desired.

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