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Take Better Photos in Low Light: Night Photography Tips and Tricks on a Budget

5/28/2024 Matt 0 Comments

Want to capture stunning low-light photos without shelling out big bucks for fancy gear? Buckle up, because  Jason Vong is here to share five creative tips and editing tricks to take your low-light photography game to the next level!

1. Use Direct Flash with a Twist

Ditch the flat, boring look of built-in flash. Here's a super cool hack: pop up your flash and give it a twist! This creates a dreamy, ethereal effect with a swirly background. The more you twist the flash, the more dramatic the effect. So, crank up your creativity and experiment!

2. Diffuse the Flash with a Tissue

Grabbing a napkin or tissue is another way to soften that harsh built-in flash. Simply drape it over the flash to diffuse the light. This trick transforms your subject from a startled deer in headlights into a naturally illuminated masterpiece.

3. Find Free Light

Instead of wrestling with complete darkness, seek out those hidden gems—available light sources! Any light, from natural window light to even streetlights, can add dimension and depth to your photos. So, keep your eyes peeled for lighting opportunities!

4. Long Exposure Photography with a Stable Surface

Take Better Photos in Low Light: Night Photography Tips and Tricks on a Budget

Here's a powerful technique to capture breathtaking low-light photos with any camera, even a basic one: long-exposure photography. This involves keeping your camera still for longer to allow more light to hit the sensor. A tripod is ideal, but improvise if you're on the go! Find a flat, stable surface to prop your camera on and unleash your inner MacGyver.

5. Editing Tricks

Reduce Noise: Low-light photos often come with unwanted grain. Fear not! Use noise reduction software like Adobe Lightroom to clean them up and bring out those crisp details.

Masking: Want to make your subject the star of the show? Use masking tools to selectively brighten them while darkening the background. This creates a dramatic spotlight effect, especially if you used free light as suggested in Tip #3.

Lens Blur: Take your photos to the next level with a touch of background blur, also known as bokeh. This effect is usually associated with expensive lenses, but you can achieve it with editing software too! Just be careful not to go overboard—a subtle blur adds artistry, while an excessive blur can look unnatural.

Following Jason Vong's pro tips, you can conquer low-light photography and capture stunning nighttime images without breaking the bank. So, grab your camera, unleash your creativity, and prepare to paint the night with light!

Images and video via Jason Vong