Night 360 Photography Tips & TricksApr 19, 2023
When capturing 360 photos at night, auto-exposure can often produce subpar results.
However, with the correct camera settings and techniques, you can take some truly incredible photos in low-light conditions. 🙌
In this article, I'll share my best tips and tricks to help you get awesome 360 photos at night.
Without using these tips, you may end up with shots that are:
Have Too Much Contrast 👇
Have Too Much Noise👇
Tips For Shooting At Night 🌃
👉 Use a monopod!
👉 A monopod is a single-legged camera support that provides stability and balance while allowing for some movement. It is lightweight, portable, and easy to use, making it an excellent option for photographers who are always on the go.
👉 With a monopod, you can stabilise your camera and reduce the risk of motion blur without sacrificing mobility.
👉 Shooting handheld is convenient but can lead to motion blur, especially when the light is insufficient. Even slight movements can ruin an otherwise perfect shot, leaving you with an image that is soft and out-of-focus.
👉 To avoid this, you can use a monopod, tripod, or fixed camera setup of some kind. I recommend the Best360 Monopod Aluminium Edition.
👉 Use the correct camera settings 📸
👉 There are various methods to expose your shots at night, but I recommend starting with the inbuilt HDR mode on your camera.
👉 This mode captures multiple exposures of a scene and blends them together, resulting in a balanced photo with well-exposed shadows and highlights.
👉 The Theta X is particularly great at this, producing photos that don't require any additional colour correction.
👉 However, HDR mode may not be the best option in really dark situations because it uses auto-exposure on individual exposures, which can lead to excessive noise in your photos.
👉 This is where manual exposure settings come in handy. Adjusting your camera's shutter speed gives it more time to capture light and brighten up your shot.
👉 A one-second shutter speed is ideal for scenes that are dark but not too dark. This setting will allow one second of light to hit the camera sensor, resulting in a brighter image. 👇
👉 On the other hand, a 30-second shutter speed gives your camera 30 seconds to capture ambient light in the environment.
👉 This is a great setting to use when shooting in very low light conditions, as it can help illuminate even the darkest locations while minimizing noise. 👇
Now, this isn't a one-size-fits-all setting. You will want to adjust your shutter speed either up or down, depending on how bright your shots turn out.
👉 The longer your shutter speed, the brighter your shots will be.
However, if you choose longer shutter speeds, just set your ISO as low as possible to avoid excess noise.
👉 A higher ISO means higher noise, and this is something that can easily be avoided.
Additionally, you'll probably want to avoid being in the shot unless you hold really still. Even the smallest amount of movement can cause ghosting.
👉 Ghosting is another common issue at night where moving subjects or elements become blurry or ghost-like. 👻 This is because low-light shots rely on longer shutter speeds, which will blur even the smallest amount of movement. To fix this, hold still for the whole duration of the exposure if you plan on being in the shot. 👇
👉 Try Light Painting 🖌️
👉 Have you heard of the technique called light painting?
👉 Light painting is a photography technique where the photographer uses a handheld light source to paint or draw light in a dark environment while the camera's shutter is open.
👉 Light painting allows you to draw in the sky of your night shots and has a serious wow factor! 👇
How To Do Light Painting
👉 First, you'll need to find a really dark location to do a light painting.
This is because you'll need a minimum of 10 seconds to do your drawing, which means a 10-second shutter speed. This would completely overexpose locations that already have a bit of light in them.
👉 So once you've found a dark location, stand about six feet from the camera so your painting doesn't appear too big or too small.
👉 Set your exposure to 20 seconds at the lowest ISO, and then activate a five-second countdown timer on the camera so that you have time to get in position.
👉 Once the camera starts the exposure, you can use the flashlight on your camera or mobile phone to write or draw your desired design.
👉 However, to separate the numbers, you must turn the light off after drawing each number.
👉 You will then need to turn it on again once you are in the correct position to start the next one.
👉 If you're writing text, you'll also need to write the characters backwards since the camera sees the reverse perspective of what you see when facing it.
👉 This effect will take a few attempts to get right, but the final result will be well worth it! 🤩
👉 You can try a range of lighting effects, like walking around the camera with the light or even using lights of different shapes and colours. A bit of creativity can go a long way with light painting.
👉 If you want to create stunning tiny planet shots like my light painting, I'd love to share my knowledge with you. I've compiled my best creative ideas into a free ebook you can download and explore today. Click here to download my free ebook!
👉 Using RAW.
👉 If you're shooting longer exposures and your camera does have a raw option, using raw will allow you to capture more detail and dynamic range whilst also offering more flexibility to adjust the exposure in editing.
👉 Shooting in low light can be tricky, but between HDR mode and using longer shutter speeds, you should be able to get the best results out of any type of nighttime situation.
In conclusion, capturing great 360 photos in low light can be challenging, but with the right camera settings and techniques, it can result in some amazing shots. ✅
By implementing these tips, your 360 photography skills can be elevated to new heights, enabling you to create impressive images.