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Digital Night Photography

Don't Rely on Flash

SUMMARY: Flash may not help your nighttime digital photography.

While flash may be helpful in taking photos in low light conditions, there comes a point at night that flash may not help much anymore, especially onboard flash.

Flash requires light to bounce off a subject. If you are shooting dusk or late-night shots over huge expansive distances, such as a beach, cityscape, or mountain range, all flash may do is occasionally show a small annoying burst of light in your picture. If your subject is a long way away, your small flash unit will never reach your subject effectively.

An expensive external flash may help some in these instances, but consider using other digital camera features when taking night photos such as decreasing the shutter speed to take longer exposures, necessitating a tripod or other stabilization device. Beginning photographers may want to try using the preprogrammed scene mode.

If you are unable or concerned about using a tripod, such as in the city, try increasing the camera's ISO settings to compensate for the lack of light, though this will introduce some noise into the photo.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.