Five tips for better photography in dark environments

It must be said that photographing in the dark is a challenging task, and even for professional photographers, it takes a long time to acquire the necessary skills in the night photography field. Photography in the dark, especially when using smartphones, shows itself more. But users can use some practical tips to take pictures at night and capture fantastic images.

How to take pictures in the dark? Shooting at night with a mobile phone can be futile in many cases, and in the end, even for professional photographers, it can be frustrating. If you need to be more skilled in recording these images, the final image may be too dark or bright or even have a lot of noise.

Blurring of moving objects is also a plague of photography in total darkness because smart cameras try to collect more light from the surrounding environment by reducing the shutter speed and increasing the exposure time when taking photos in low light.

But all these events do not cause us to despair of capturing great images in dark situations. Experience has shown that many obstacles can be removed by following simple but practical tips, and good photos can be recorded from these situations.

In the following, we will introduce five practical tips for photography at night with a phone, following which you will be able to significantly improve the overall quality of images recorded in dark situations and enjoy photography in the dark.

Use camera settings for low-light photography.

At the beginning of this part of teaching the principles of photography in the dark environment, it should be said that the new generation smartphones in the field of camera and related technologies have made significant improvements over the past few years and allow users to take photos even in low light environments and Enjoy photography in the dark.

This feature is introduced in the user interface and the camera of different smartphones with different titles; Because each company uses specific algorithms and methods to improve the images recorded when photographing the city at night.

For example, the ability to photograph in the dark in Google Pixel phones is known as Night Sight. Samsung and Huawei also refer to it as Bright Night and Night Mode, respectively, and in the user interface of One Plus phones, we see it presented as Nightscape.

If your phone has a low-light photography feature, turn it on when taking photos in the dark with your phone. Although some smart devices can use this feature automatically depending on the situation from which the users intend to record the image.

Some smartphones try to increase the amount of light and brightness of the images using artificial intelligence when using photography mode in a dark environment.

Another part of these devices uses a feature similar to HDR photography. In this case, a series of similar images with different exposure times are recorded from each position. In the end, a final image is obtained by combining various details from each of them.

Photography in the dark using artificial lights

In the continuation of teaching photography in the dark and at night, photographers are not very interested in using flash lamps; Because this hardware part adds a series of unusual bright points to the image. On the other hand, flash bulbs remove shadow details from images.

Considering that these days all smartphones have a flash lamp on the back of the device and next to the camera module, using them to provide the necessary light for street photography at night is an excellent idea. If the amount and direction of light radiation of flash lamps are chosen correctly, this hardware part can significantly help to improve the quality of images recorded in night photography.

Another solution in this section is to use an external artificial light source. Using portable LED panels to increase ambient light is a good idea; Because these sources have a low price and can produce a lot of light with minimal energy consumption. Please note that using artificial light sources is not the only way to improve the quality of photography in low light, and we will examine other valuable solutions in the following article.

Currently, you can find light sources in the market for better photography in the dark, whose radiation intensity can be adjusted with great accuracy. These sources also have an internal rechargeable battery and a place to connect to smartphones, which makes working with them simple.

Because external light sources can be separated from smartphones, they provide more freedom of action to their users. For example, users can detach it from their phone and install it on the wall; It is an efficient tool for dark environment photography that can be found at various prices and features.

Compared with the flash lamps available in smartphones, it is possible to adjust the light intensity of these sources with much better accuracy. Although it takes time to learn how to use these light sources, using them when shooting in the dark can make a massive difference in the quality of the output images.

Using Manual Mode when shooting at night

The automatic mode in the smartphone camera usually has excellent performance. It can provide the best performance when taking pictures of different situations without the need for complex and time-consuming settings on the part of users. However, by adjusting these parameters, a professional photographer with a better understanding of the camera’s features and parameters can achieve a better output in low-light photography.

At night or in dark situations, this system usually suffers a little disturbance; Because the camera in this mode cannot see and identify the scenery and objects in front of the users, and in this way, it implements inappropriate settings. Considering this, users should use manual settings when taking photos in dark situations to control the camera entirely.

In most smartphones, the manual mode has three main settings: aperture, ISO sensitivity, and shutter speed. These three main settings are known as the “Exposure Triangle” by professional photographers and are one of the technical matters necessary to understand the principles of photography in the dark.

When setting up photography at night, conditions must be provided in manual mode so that the camera can fully collect the low light in the environment. Increasing the ISO sensitivity or reducing the shutter speed can lead to this.

The photography settings in the dark environment in this section should be done so that a proper balance is created; the change in each part of the exposure triangle has advantages and disadvantages. For example, increasing the ISO sensitivity makes digital noise in the image, and reducing the shutter speed also leads to the loss of details and sharpness of the edges. We may even see the phenomenon of Motion Blur in the images.

Professional photographers recommend that for shooting in low light, the best setting is to reduce the shutter speed to the point where the quality of the image will not be damaged and to the maximum extent possible.

When shooting in the dark, you can leave the shutter open for a few seconds; But it should be noted that the phone remains in a fixed place without moving for this period. For this purpose, a support base can be used to improve the phone.

If you plan to take a photo of a moving object, to prevent the occurrence of Motion Blur, you have to increase the ISO sensitivity; However, this will increase the noise in the image.

Currently, most of the phones in the market have a fixed and unchangeable aperture; But there are exceptions among them. In the last few years, Samsung and Oppo have released smartphones that use variable apertures.

More light can be directed into the camera in these phones by fully opening the aperture. Note that wider apertures are expressed with a smaller F number. For example, the F/1.8 aperture is wider than the F/2.8 aperture, and more light reaches the camera sensor.

Save images in RAW format.

In recent years, more smartphones have provided the ability to record images in RAW format. This format saves images uncompressed and unedited.

On the other hand, you can find all the information recorded by the sensor in this type of image. Although these images are large, their quality has yet to be manipulated or compressed. For this reason, more tools can be used when editing them. Naturally, the more information you have about the output image of dark space photography, the easier it will be to edit them.

As a tip for photography in low light, save them in raw RAW format when recording images from dark situations. The RAW form can extract more details from shadows and highlights. Note that, in addition, in RAW format, without reducing the quality of the images, it is possible to maintain the balance between white and other colors, which is also used to record subjects in all conditions, including photography in the dark.

Edit your images

As one of the tricks of night photography, recording a suitable image of dark situations is half what users must do. Editing the photos after they are registered is also very important and can help improve the quality of these images.

Currently, many night photography software, including many features to improve the images recorded in dark situations, can be found. Each of these programs has a different function from each other, and for this reason, it is not possible to introduce a single instruction for using them.

Nevertheless, you can still use these programs to find the necessary capabilities for photography in the dark or to improve the quality of images recorded from dark situations, following the settings specified with titles such as Lighting, Brightness, Exposure, Tune image, and… look around.

Most photo editing programs allow users to adjust the intensity of these settings using a slider. In this way, you can easily see the changes made to the photos by implementing various locations. By setting the appropriate values for these settings, you can extract more details from the darkness of your photography situation. Remember, to get better output from photography in low light, in addition to the camera’s features; you can also get help from software and hardware peripherals.

Most smartphone cameras have problems measuring and implementing the optimal amount of white color in images. In some image editing programs, you can take these settings and change the amount of white light in the photos.

As mentioned above, some of the photos taken from low-light situations are recorded using a high ISO sensitivity, and this causes the amount of noise in them to be high. This is why you should adjust the light parameters with an open vision when photographing in a dark environment. The change of each of them is effective on the other, and the balance should be created simultaneously with the evolution of several variables.

Several photo editing programs in the dark can reduce this noise by applying various filters. These settings can be found in these programs under titles such as Noise Reduction, Luminance Noise, Color Noise, or similar.

Before using these programs, note that they may reduce the overall quality of the images after editing. This is especially true when you are editing images in JPEG format.

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