If you are planning on doing some night photography I have a few planning tips you will need to keep in mind prior to taking your evening shots:

First, you need a good viewpoint;

And second, you need either a tripod or a solid base to place your camera on. The viewpoint - this depends a little on the type of shot you are after. My preference is for somewhere that is above the ground (a set of steps, for example), but not always. Sometimes the best shots can be had at ground level.

I recommend a tripod or solid base simply due to the fact that your camera's shutter will be open for several seconds and you definitely want to make sure that your camera is absolutely still during that time.

You will also need to make sure you secure your camera onto the tripod. If you can't find a solid surface to rest your camera on you can always try propping it up with something like a bag or jumper.

Once you have your camera in place you want to set your shutter speed for a few seconds. I would recommend you start with about 15 seconds.

If you are unable to control the shutter speed, set it to "night" mode.

Once you have everything arranged (camera on a solid surface and self timer primed) you are ready to take your pictures.

Before pressing the shutter button you must first observe your scene. Is everything in it that you are hoping for? If you are looking to get streaking headlights do you see any traffic around?

Once you are happy with things, press the shutter button.

Your self timer will count down. Special Note! - If you are waiting for something to appear in your scene, you will need to remember that your shutter speed will have to count down first - time for this.

When the shutter clicks it is actually opening up so you will need to wait. And wait, and wait . . . until it closes again. Remember that this could take a few seconds.

Then wait some more. Because of the long exposure digital cameras take longer than usual to process the photo, so your preview on your camera's LCD screen may take a while to show up.

This is just my opinion, but here are a couple of things that I think make a good night photography shot:

Neon lights Streaks of car headlights and tail lights Available light For both of these you need to plan a little in advance. Find an area where you can safely photograph neon lights.

The first thing you do is find your solid spot, or put your camera onto a tripod, and then take a few test shots. If you choose neon lights be aware that they flash so you will want to keep the shutter open for a while in order to catch all the flashes.

For photographing streaks of car headlights and tail lights you will obviously want to find a spot that has a good bit of traffic, but again, be safe in your choice of locations.

Try to get something in the background too - streaks of light on their own can be a little boring!

Then take your shot.

The longer the shutter is open, the more streaks you will capture. And of course, the more traffic there is, the more streaks will appear too!

Available light also has a part to play in creating a good night photography shot.

There are times when a scene looks its best when you set it amongst inky-black skies. There are also times when a little light works best, so photos just prior to dark really sets in are worth a try too.

Try both, and see what captures the effect you are after best.

You also will want to play with various shutter speeds since there are times you will find that a 10 second exposure gets the look you are after. Sometimes you may need up to a minute.

If you practice you will soon get a feel for what you will need for any given situation.

Did you like this article? If you would like even more FREE Digital Photography Tips Just Download This FREE Digital Photography Tutorial

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