© 2012 mJoyPhoto 3 iPhones lit the couple, Left, Center, Right

A shot in the dark…

One of my most favorite things to shoot has been anything at night!

There are many ways to shoot at night. Most don’t go out and shoot at night because there isn’t a lot of light to work with. That is not true.

Lately I have been going out later at night after 9 and 10pm when it gets dark and my day is finally winding down… What do I take with me?

Camera | Tripod | Remote | Flash | lenses

Downtown Fargo has provided most of my night shots.

Quick tips to shooting at night…

If you are going to shoot a long exposure (leaving the shutter open) you have to use a tripod and if possible a remote. You want to have as little vibration and if you can… NO vibrations while the shutter is open. Here is a “pullback” (setup shot) of a night shot I did.

Pullback shot of night setup

The camera that took this shot was also on a tripod with a remote. You can see the light trail left by a passing car as the shutter was left open.

Here is an example of how I set my camera up when I didn’t have my tripod with me and the shot that was created. Sometimes you have to adapt.

And the shot…

Long exposure – On Main

Here is another shot where I had used the lens hood and a rock to prop the camera… This shot was done using a longer exposure and the sky was still barely lit to the northwest by the sun setting.

Night Train up close

Now the above shots were done without flash. They were done using existing light such as street lights and long exposure photography techniques. The night can also give you opportunities to use flashes and strobes. I recently went out with some friends and we did some night shots but with a person as the main subject. This is where long exposure techniques do not work very well. So we used flash!

Flashed bounced off back wall of alley

Then of course to challenge yourself a bit… use existing light or something you have in your pocket… These next shots were both lit with iPhones!

iPhone 4s flashlight app left of model

3 iPhones lit the couple, Left, Center, Right

And sometimes… you just have to look past using light to illuminate… In this next shot the light is used to create darkness!

Used building light to create dark

So many ways to use light! A great photographer once said that “Light is Everything” To be a good photographer in any situation… You have to find the light! Its there, you just have to look for it. Find it and use it to your advantage and you will create something beautiful!

Here are some other shots I have taken in the past couple months at night.

This way to Fargo

Northern Lights – Fisheye Lens

Downtown Fargo





Special thanks to Michael for a shot of me and to Kailee for posing!

Also special thanks to Seth, Lindsay, and Shane for going out with me on these night shoots… always good to have a group with you for ideas etc…



  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:42 am | #

    When you take a long exposure shot, you will be letting a lot of light into the camera. If you are in a low light situation, such as when photographing a city at night, this is not a problem. However, if you are photographing motion during the day, such as you would be doing if you wished to capture the motion of running water in a stream, you will need to adjust the ISO on the camera.

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 9:41 am | #

      Yes that is correct Connie. I dont know if you are asking a question or just stating 😉