How can you tell what settings should be used at night?

2 months 3 weeks ago #685555 by Cory J
When taking night time portraits and you have inconsistent lighting, how can you tell what settings to use?  There will be fireworks going off overhead creating the light.  I'm going to be using the lighting from above for this and not sure how to set things ahead of time seeing timing will be important. 


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2 months 3 weeks ago #685556 by Nikon Shooter
Once you have dial in enough latitude for the shooting con-
text, the camera's light meter will be the fastest way to react t
o the light conditions leaving you with only the compensation
value to worry about — mostly on the "-" side.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
This person is a posting maniac and deserves a #1 badge!Top Poster
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2 months 3 weeks ago #685613 by garyrhook

Cory J wrote: When taking night time portraits and you have inconsistent lighting, how can you tell what settings to use?  There will be fireworks going off overhead creating the light.  I'm going to be using the lighting from above for this and not sure how to set things ahead of time seeing timing will be important. 


You google for advice on the conditions you expect to experience. For example, for fireworks you:
  1. Use a tripod
  2. Use manual focus, set to infinity
  3. Aperture of f/11
  4. Shutter time of 3 - 5 seconds
  5. Use a remote shutter release (wired or wireless)
And you start from there, practice, then make changes. I got the above settings from a friend, who picked them up online, and they've served me well.

If your question was about photographing the people watching the fireworks, that's a different story. Much like a dark club, start with a wide open aperture, and reasonable shutter speed (1/160s or faster) and Auto-ISO. Then figure out what works.

That said, emphasis on practice.


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2 months 3 weeks ago #685627 by Shadowfixer1
Figure out how you want the exposure for the scene to look without considering the person, then adjust your subject lighting with those settings either reducing or increasing power on the fill light or by adjusting the distance between the subject and your fill light. Also consider using a grid to prevent light spillage if necessary. 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #685744 by Superman
If you have a flash you can set your flash to fire on the back side of things

Watch this video


Nikon D90 & D40 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 35mm, 50mm, 105mm, SB600
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2 months 3 weeks ago #685755 by garyrhook

Superman wrote: If you have a flash you can set your flash to fire on the back side of things


That would be "rear curtain sync", I think?


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