Learn to Take Spectacular Night Photos during June :: Digital Photo Secrets

Learn to Take Spectacular Night Photos during June

by David Peterson 2 comments

After teaching photography for almost 10 years, I know that taking great photos at night can be extremely frustrating. If you don't know the tricks to night photography, all you'll get are a series of blurry shots that are way too dark. Photos that miss the magic and wonder you can experience at night.

Night Photography Made Simple

During the whole of June, I'm running a dedicated Photography Dash on night photography. I'll show you the easy fundamentals so you can have success with your own night photos.

During the June Dash, I'll have you taking crisp, clear, and correctly exposed night photos. I'll tell you exactly which settings to use (and what to set them to), which settings give you special effects, and how to make the most of your night shoot.

Would you like to take night shots like this?

A great night shot taken by Dash participant, Barbara Reed.

... and how to use your flash to illuminate your subject AS WELL as the background:

Four Case Studies

I'm adding a new feature in June's night photography dash: Case Studies. For four situations (Light Trails, City Streets, Moonlit Landscapes and the City At Night), I'll give you a step by step instruction list on how to take superb photos in these situations. Walk through the steps with me, or adapt them to your own scene.

4 Weeks of Wonder

If you are not familiar with the Photography Dash, it's a month-long photography course designed to help you take much better photos with your existing camera. Twice a week, I'll send you new course material with a fun photographic assignment that helps you 'lock in' the knowledge in the course. Share your image with the hundreds of other Dash participants in our Dash community website - all participating at the same time as you - and receive feedback that will further help you improve your photography.

The June Dash is a continuation of the monthly Dashes I have been running since February. Since Feb, over 27,000 spectacular images have been shared by the thousands in our community - that's over 200 images a day uploaded. Wow!

The Dash will only take 30 minutes to 1 hour twice a week for a month; and is a bargain at only $25 (or even less if you register for more than one Dash).

The June Photography Dash starts on 1st June. Register for the Night Photography Stream, or the other concurrent stream on Flower Photography (or both!).

Course Schedule

Here's what we'll be covering during the Night Photography Stream in the June Photography Dash:

1. Basic Night Photography

We'll start with the basics - to get you out and about and shooting beautiful, crisp night shots right away. We'll build on these basics in the rest of the month.

2. Camera Settings / Shutter Speeds

In Day 2, I'll tell you why the shutter speed is the most important setting for night photography. I'll tell you what shutter speeds work best, and how to use 'bulb' mode for some special effects.

3. Examples: Light Streams / City Streets

Our first 'case study' day. I'll walk you step by step through two case studies. I'll show how to setup your camera and dial into the right settings for taking excellent Light Steams photos (like the one below) and of city streets.

4. Required Gear

Night Photography doesn't usually require much extra camera gear. But if you want to invest in some more advanced accessories (like remote shutters and lens filters), I'll tell you the ones to get, and why.

5. Examples: City At Night / Moonlit Landscapes

This is our second 'case study'. I'll walk you through taking wonderful 'city at night' landscapes. If you live in the country, I'll show you the techniques for spooky moonlit landscapes.

6. Using the Flash

Have you ever used the flash at night? You usually get an overexposed image of your subject, and black behind them - no wonderful city lights they were standing in front of! Today, I'll change all that. I'll show you the settings to take a correctly exposed flash subject and have the camera expose the lights behind them too. It's simpler than you think!

7. The Histogram / Setting Focus

In Day 7, we get into some of the more technical aspects of night photography. I'll explain what the histogram is, and how to use it to improve your night photos; and I'll give you lots of techniques for overcoming the common problem where your camera won't focus properly in low light.

8. Light Painting

I love this subject, and it's proved very popular when we ran it as part of the Dash Blend. Take eye popping photos like the one below.

Image by Dash participant Wendy Cozicar

But Don't Take It From Me...

Just three of the hundreds of glowing testimonials I have received for the Dash:

My nephew is taking photography in college. When I sat down with him not too long ago to compare notes, I was surprised to hear he knew nothing of ISO, Exposure Triangle or Depth of Field. It saddened me that my brother is paying thousands of dollars, and I have learned so much more in just a few months of dashing for just pennies! The lessons are simply written, easily applied and produce astounding results. Not only my photography, but also my love for photography have grown tremendously thanks to David's invaluable lessons.

-- Christine Austin, Pennsylvania, USA

feel the Dash is the perfect way to learn how to use your [camera] - I was a complete novice with my newly acquired SLR and had only used auto on my point and shoot before I joined the Dash. The way the challenges are set up makes you have a go and share your attempts with the community, good or bad, who offer advice on how you can improve your shots or just offer praise, which is always greatly appreciated. I feel I have a family of like-minded friends in the community even though I have never met them personally - it is a lovely idea and works amazingly well - thank you David and helpers for all your support along the way!

-- Lynda McGennity, Preston, UK

My photographs have improved dramatically since your dash. No more flat or dull photos, now I have eye popping photos on which I never thought I could accomplish until the dash. I am excited on David's future dashes, I do only have one problem though, it's addicting and to much fun!!!!! :) Thank you David for all you have taught me.

-- Sarah Hamilton, PA, USA

Bring a Friend!

Participating in The Dash is more exciting and rewarding when you have someone to share it with. You can revel in each other’s successes, and help each other if you get stuck on a challenge. You and your friend can participate in ‘photo shoots’ together bounce ideas off each other.

Encourage a friend to participate in the Dash, and you will receive a free critique of one of your photos for each friend who participates with you – a $50 value (limited supply – be quick!). And in addition a free copy of Phil Hart’s “Shooting Stars” ebook. I’ll tell you more on the gifts, and how you can get your friends involved once you register for the Dash.

Here's another great city night photo taken by Dash Participant Lynne John during Melbourne's White Night festival

This is the 5th dash I've participated in - and it will NOT be my last! I have learned so much in each Dash - topics that built on basics I knew, and many topics that provided new, useful information and skills. I love that the articles, videos & teaching materials are easy to follow and understand, and the hands-on, get-out-there-and-do-it "assignments" and challenges are achievable and are the "cement" to the training. Having people comment on photos I've submitted adds even more to what I have been able to learn - as well as being a great encouragement to me to keep pressing on. The Dashes have been invaluable to my learning--easily the single & most valuable means to achieving improved photos.

-- Donna Girardin, New York, USA

Join the Photography Dash Today

Take your own photography skills to new heights, have loads of fun, and have the opportunity to share your creations with fellow photographers from all around the world with the June Photography Dash.

I'd love to see you there!

Top image by Dash participant Steven Shum.

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  1. Christine says:

    Hi David, Do you need a tripod for your night shot dash course? I have a SLR and I take terrible night photos. My daytime one are reasonable. I only take night shots when I go away, so I do not have the room for a tripod. Can I still take good shots without a tripod.
    Thanks Christine

    • David Peterson says:

      Hi Christine,

      You will definitely need something to steady your camera so it doesn't move while the shutter is open. So yes, I highly recommend you use a tripod, but you can also simply sit your camera on a steady platform like a bench.


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