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Essential tips for shooting landscapes at night


While night photography poses its own set of challenges, it makes for a good opportunity to appreciate the beauty of landscapes in a different 'light'. Night landscape photographer Keith Liew shares his essential tips.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 6sec, 16mm, ISO800
Aurora reflection, Laksvatn, Norway

Research your landscape

Before heading out to shoot, take the time to know your landscape during the day. Simple things like finding where to park your car and the route to your preferred spot can help you to work more efficiently and ultimately, get the shots you want. “Find the perfect location for your shoot before nightfall. This will enable you to identify the best composition for your shoot before the sun sets,” Keith says. 

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/9, 20sec, 17mm, ISO100
Night cityscape in Dubai, UAE

Look out for dark skies

The key to making the most out of the night sky is darkness. However, one of the biggest challenges of night photography is light pollution. He explains, “Shooting stars in a city with bright lights is no easy task. Therefore, I tend to travel to very dark and low lights places when I shoot stars”. Keith’s tip: Use the moonlight to brighten the foreground instead of upping the ISO level on your camera.

Discover how shooting under a moonlight can make all the difference to your photos. 

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 8sec, 19mm, ISO800
Aurora Borealis, Sommaroy Island, Norway

Trust your tripod

Don’t leave home for a night shoot without your tripod. Keith adds, “Night photography requires a tripod, as stability is important when shooting in low light conditions. This also means a slower shutter speed or a longer exposure time is needed. My advice is to keep shooting and never stop learning.”

Learn how to enhance your nightscape photos for your next shoot. 

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 1sec, 16mm, ISO100
Colourful night in Singapore

Let there be lens

Getting a good lens is more important than shooting with an expensive camera body. Keith is a fan of the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens as it is a very wide lens, and it enables him to zoom in when he needs a close up shot. Its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture also allows more light into the lens. 

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 6sec, 16mm, ISO800
Light up the Peak, Laksvatn, Norway

Get more inspiration on how to take photos of the night sky in this article: Watch and Learn: Taking Photos of the Night Sky


Quick Tips:

  • Scout your location prior to shooting
  • Look for dark skies to minimise light pollution
  • Use a tripod for stability
  • Shoot with a wide lens


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Photographer Profile

Keith Liew

About 80 per cent of the Earth’s population today have never witnessed a clear view of the Milky Way. I’m fortunate to be among the 20 per cent to have seen it with my own eyes. I am a landscape and astrophotographer who loves capturing photos at night. I feel lucky to be able to travel and to be inspired by the people around me. The most valuable thing is to share my experiences and inspire people to go out and shoot.