We all were in situation to take photos at night, in a low light.
Using the built-in camera flash is the first option that will trigger when using automatic mode on the camera
(you can know you are on automatic mode if the dial is on the letter A)
However, there are alternative ways for taking photos at night without using flash, or using the built in flash of your camera.
Note that this to be used in case you don’t have other options, as light is crucial for great photos, however the below method can be used in certain scenarios which I will explain further below
Your DSLR camera is capable of great things. Yes.
Even with a very little source of light you can capture amazing shots.
The scenario you want to capture photo of your friends standing still, or objects
You need to use a tripod, put your camera in Manual mode, reduce the shutter speed below 1/20, increase the Aperture (it work in the opposite way , and aperture of 2 is bigger then 5) set the ISO high, but not too high to avoid noises (like sands showing in your exposure) , a max setting of 600 would be still acceptable.
Then you need to set a timer so when you hit the trigger there will be a delay in taking the photo, this to avoid any kind of shaking and to get the exposure as sharp and clear as possible
I will show you an example below
These photos are taken with a mobile phone, just to say that the same principles applies to the DSLR although with this later you will get much better quality.
As you have noticed, there is very low light in the room, yet when using the manual (pro) settings the lights is shining all over the photo.
For outdoor photography, always use tripod and experiment with the shutter speed to create dramatic effects like these:
Using the Build In Flash with Diffuser
The above scenario can be used on a non moving object, because the slight movement will result in blurriness.
As you have noticed in the second photo above, using the flash result in a dull photo, without any dimensions. Luckily there is a solution for this. The light Diffuser (min diffuser).
Why would the light diffuser produce better results the direct flash light.
Simply stated the more the light is concentrated the more shadows and less dimensions you will have. When light is diffused it will go all around the object your are shooting, thus providing dimensions ans softness.
Below and image of a mini diffuser and a link where you can procure one.
The mini diffuser is put on top of your flash.
Using Two or more Flash Lights
For advanced photography, you then need to go for tow and more flash lights to get the desired results. I will not cover the lighting techniques in this articles, it requires a full article, but what you need to know is adding a light on the left and on the right of your subject will provide such beautiful results.
In this case what you need is flash stands, triggers and batteries for the flashes.
I promise I will be writing an article on the lighting.
Night photography is fun and magical.
Play with the shutter speed, aperture (refer to my article on these terminology if you need to) and with the ISO to get the desired exposure to your taste, and don’t forget to keep a tripod in your car.