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Night Photography Tip: How to Use a Remote Switch to Prevent Camera Shake

When taking photos at night, it is essential to prevent camera shake so that your photos will be of utmost quality. While using a tripod can be effective, combining it with a remote switch allows for even greater control over camera shake. In this article, we will look at how to use this helpful accessory. (Reported by: Teppei Kohno)

Night photography

EOS 760D/ EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 18mm (29mm equivalent)/ Shutter-priority AE (f/16, 30 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: AWB


Minimizing camera shake for sharp, steady night photos

Night photography

Shooting procedure
A: Fix the camera to a tripod
B: Connect the remote switch to the camera
C: Switch to Live View
D: Set to a low ISO speed
E: Use Shutter-priority AE to control the shutter speed
F: Press the shutter button on the remote switch to shoot


Recommended remote switches for those new to night photography





The RS-80N3 switch has an 80cm cable, while the RS-60E3 switch has a 60cm cable. By sliding the shutter button to the lock position, there is no need to keep holding down the button with your finger when you are shooting with a long exposure. Additionally, by using a remote switch you will be able to release the shutter at the ideal moment while being able to continually observe the scene. When you decide to use a remote switch, remember to check which switch is compatible with your camera.


Use a remote switch to minimize camera shake on slow shutter speeds

If you use a high shutter speed, you should be able to capture sharp images at night even if you shoot handheld. However, you will need a tripod if you require slower shutter speeds, especially when you want to capture an image of higher quality, or a sharp picture all the way to the background on a narrow aperture (deep focus), or to capture light trails from cars.

Even when you use a tripod, slight camera shake can still be caused by the impact that occurs when you press the shutter button by hand. You can avoid this camera shake by using the remote switch, which lets you shoot from a distance without touching the camera. To further reduce camera shake, switch to Live View mode to minimise mirror shock caused by the upward and downward movement of the mirror when the shutter is released in viewfinder photography.


How to use the remote switch

Insert the remote switch into the camera

(1) Insert the remote switch into the camera

Insert the end of the remote switch cable into the remote control terminal of the camera. To access the terminal, open the terminal cover on the left side of the camera. Ensure that the cable is inserted fully into the terminal.


Set the Exposure mode

(2) Set the Exposure mode

To depict long light trails of cars, use Shutter-priority AE and set the shutter speed to 30 seconds. As we are using a tripod here, select a low ISO speed of ISO 100 to capture images with high image quality.


Use the remote switch to release the shutter

(3) Use the remote switch to release the shutter

The camera focuses when the shutter button on the remote switch is half-pressed. After focusing, press down fully to shoot. If AF (Autofocus) does not work well in nightscapes, use MF (Manual Focus) to adjust the focus.


Bonus tip: Shoot in Live View to avoid mirror shock and camera shake

Night photo (Live View example)

Close-up of night photo shot in Live View

Good example: Shot in Live View
EOS 760D/ EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 155mm (248mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 30 sec, EV-0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: AWB
I used a focal length of 155mm (248mm equivalent) on a telephoto lens to make the bridge and high-rise buildings appear nearer, and shot in Live View to prevent mirror shock. This allowed me to capture a very sharp image.

Close up of night photo shot with viewfinder

Negative example: Shot using the viewfinder
EOS 760D/ EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 155mm (248mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 30 sec, EV-0.3/ ISO 100/ WB: AWB
I shot with the viewfinder instead of Live View, using the same conditions as the above. The image is blurred due to mirror shock. When shooting with a telephoto lens on a slow shutter speed, like in this example, camera shake becomes even more prominent.


Check out the following articles for more night photography tips:
Nightscapes – Controlling Light for Fine Shots
In Focus: Night Photography


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Teppei Kohno

Teppei Kohno

Born in Tokyo in 1976, Kohno graduated with a Social Work degree from the Department of Sociology of Meiji Gakuin University, and apprenticed with photographer Masato Terauchi. He contributed to the first issue of photography magazine PHaT PHOTO and became an independent photographer after that, in 2003. The author of many books, Kohno not only shoots all sorts of commercial photographs, but also writes prolifically for camera and other magazines.