The setting for night photography on your camera is the little man with either a star or a moon over his head. See him there on the left hand side? Like the other settings on your camera, this setting controls the shutter speed and aperture of the camera for you, so that you can get some of the same effects of shooting manually, without the hassle.
Night photography is difficult because, as is obvious to most of us, it’s dark. If you’re outside, the only light may be streetlights, car headlights, or – this time of year – jack-o-lanterns. So the camera needs to slow the shutter speed down in order to let in enough light to make a photograph.
But if you want to take a photo of a person at night – for example, your kid in her Halloween costume – you will need the flash to go off also. The lights from streetlights and jack-o-lanterns just won’t be enough to light her adorable face and see the chocolate covered smile. A slow shutter speed, combined with the flash, is what the night photography setting on your camera will accomplish for you.
This combination of slow shutter speed and flash can make for really cool effects. The shutter speed is slow enough that a moving subject will be blurry in the frame, and the flash will illuminate your subject as she moves. Using this setting, you can make very ghostly images. As an example, I made this photo with my trusted models, Eddy and Sparky, to show you how the motion blur combined with the flash can make your subject look like a ghost. I tried to make it really spooky looking, but after all, it is a cat playing with string. (Sometimes we have to work with what we have.)
Anyway, tomorrow night, take a moment to experiment with your kids using the night photography setting on your camera. I bet you’ll love the spooky results!