As you enter into the world of Photography, one of the first tricks you may want to learn is how to take long exposure night time photos. For great looking shots with little fuss or equipment, you’ll just need a tripod and a camera with shutter speed control. A basic tripod you can fetch for around $30 and a basic point and shoot the that gives you at least shutter speed control will be around $200. If it’s in your budget step up to a D-SLR. The concept behind great looking night shots is simple. Making sure your camera lets enough light in and keeping your camera as still as possible. Keeping your camera sill is easy, the tripod will take care of that. On your camera you will want set it to what’s called shutter priority mode or time value mode. This is usually marked on the top of the camera by an (S) or (Tv).
“Tv” is found on Canon camera and means the same thing. Canon just calls it “Time Value” . This may sound somewhat complicated if you’re new to this kind of stuff but don’t worry. (S) and (Tv) are much like the auto mode on your camera with one difference: you control the shutter and the camera does everything else. After you place your camera in shutter priority mode you may have something like a number fraction 1/60 or just the number 60. Both are indicating the same thing. In this case the shutter will be open only one-sixtieth of a second. That’s too quick for most night time shots, so adjust the setting to something like 1/4 , 2 seconds or even 10 seconds.
One more thing, if your camera/lens has image stabilization (IS) make sure it’s turned off. Believe it or not, if the camera’s IS is on and perfectly still sitting on its tripod, the stabilizers may actually introduce blur by correcting for movement not there. In order to keep this simple, I don’t recommend using Manual mode just yet for this type of photography. As you get the hang of it, you will want to venture into manual shooting, mainly for controlling aperture in tandem with shutter speed control as well as other adjustments like ISO. I can’t encourage you enough to do this with a D-SLR camera. Yes, there are point and shoot cameras on the market that can do this to some degree. However, you will get much better results and lot more control with a D-SLR. With that said, go out and give it a try. Experiment with different shutter speeds and have fun.