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How To Take Scary-Good Night Photos This Halloween

by Taylor Slattery | October 9, 2023


Halloween is a great time to make memories with friends and loved ones. And with everyone in costume, it’s often the perfect opportunity to take some exciting pics as well. But taking great night photos can be a challenging feat, and it usually isn’t until the next day when we’re reviewing our shots that we realize many of them didn’t turn out quite how we would have liked. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, keep reading to find out how to take great photos this Halloween so you can enjoy your spooky memories for many more years to come.

What Makes Nighttime Photography Different From Daytime Photography?

In order to obtain a proper exposure, the sensors inside of our cameras require ample light. This is the case regardless of the type of camera you use, whether it be the one inside of your smartphone or a dedicated standalone device. During the day, there’s enough light for modern sensors of any size to produce great-looking images. During the night, however, it’s a different story. 

Larger cameras have the advantage of being able to accommodate larger sensors. The larger sensor enables these cameras to collect enough light to obtain proper exposure even in low light situations. 

Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to find ways to fit increasingly larger sensors into smaller, more portable bodies. However, as a general rule of thumb, the smaller the device, the smaller its sensor size will be. This means that smartphones will typically use some of the smallest available sensors and often struggle to take great nighttime photos as a result.


Best Settings For iPhone Night Photos

If you’re going to be using your iPhone to take photos this Halloween, there are a few things you’ll want to look out for in your Settings to get the best results. Simply setting your camera to Night Mode is the easiest way to improve your photos if you think having to fiddle with camera settings will pull you out of the moment. 

For those who want full control, you’ll probably want to try out some third-party camera apps that can give you access to manual settings. Any app will do, but the main things you’ll want to look out for are your ISO and shutter speed settings. You’ll want to experiment with these to find the right balance depending on the setting and activities you’ll be shooting, but generally, increasing your ISO and slowing down your shutter speed will help your phone’s sensor to get the light it needs for proper exposure.

Be careful, though. Boosting your ISO too high can introduce some undesirable noise into your image and going too slow with the shutter speed can cause some blurriness if either you or your subject moves during the exposure. 


Best Camera Settings For Night Photos

If you’ll be shooting on a dedicated camera, the good news is you’ll have much more control and a larger sensor to work with. Your odds of taking great photos in challenging lighting situations improve drastically with each step up in sensor size. 

Regardless of the camera you’ll be using, the problem you’ll face doesn’t change so neither does the approach to solving it. However, in the case of a dedicated camera, you’ll likely have one more tool in your kit you can use to help get more light to your sensor and obtain proper exposure. In addition to ISO and shutter speed, you can also adjust your aperture.

These 3 photography aspectsISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture—make up The Exposure Triangle and are the cornerstones of professional photography.

The aperture is the size of the opening in your lens that controls how much light is let into the sensor. When shooting in low light situations, opening your aperture can help your sensor get the light it needs to take great shots even at night.

Learn Photography Online To Become An Expert At Night Shoots

Have you ever wanted to capture the beauty of a starry night, the vibrant colors of a cityscape, or the magical moments of Halloween like a pro but don’t even know where to begin?

Good news! You don’t have to be a seasoned photographer to take stunning nighttime photos. With the right knowledge and techniques, you can transform your shots from ‘meh’ to ‘mesmerizing,’ and we’re here to help you do just that. Enroll in our online photography certificate program to start capturing the moments that matter most to you.

However, if you really want to learn how to master the art of nighttime photography, The Exposure Triangle, and become a professional full-time photographer, then gaining a bachelor’s degree in photography through Sessions College is THE best choice for you!


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


Are you interested in stretching your photography skills? Sessions College offers a wide range of online photography courses as well as digital photography degree and certificate programs. Contact Admissions for more information.

This blog is powered by Sessions College, the leading online school of visual arts.

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