Article ID : 00090905 / Last Modified : 11/04/2018

How to shoot night scenes and decorative lighting with an Alpha digital SLR?

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This introduces techniques for taking beautiful shots of night scenes. Night scenes may include streets light by streetlamps and gorgeous bright lighting.
Follow the hints below to capture photographs of beautiful night scenes and gorgeous decorative lighting.


Have you had problems like these before?
Have you ever messed up a shot due like in the photos below when trying to shoot night scenes and decorative lighting due to issues such as noise standing out or camera shaking with slow shutter speed?
This introduces techniques for shooting with an Alpha digital SLR the beautiful nights scenes and decorative lighting you used to give up on.

[1] Lots of noise
[2] Camera shake

  • Shooting with the Superior Auto and SCN (Scene Selection) functions

    • Using Superior Auto
      Your camera is equipped with the Image(Superior Auto) shooting mode to reduce mistakes like these.
      Using this mode, the camera automatically recognizes dark situations such as night scenes and decorative lighting to combine a series of images at high speed to generate a single clear photograph.

    • Using SCN (Scene Selection)
      With SCN (Scene Selection), you can select the modes below to record at settings best for night scenes.

      • Hand-held Twilight (compatible models only)
        With this setting, multiple photographs taken continuously at high speed each time the shutter button is pressed are combined to record a single photograph. The process of combining allows you to take clear photographs with reduced blurring and noise.

        Please do not move the camera when photographing. Hold the camera still until "Processing..." is displayed.


      • Night Portrait
        Set this when you want to use a tripod to shoot portraits and night scenes at the same time.
        You will be able to record clearly everything from people's expressions to night scenes in the background.

      • Night Scene
        Set this when you want to use a tripod to shoot night scenes.
        ISO sensitivity is set low to minimize noise, and the shutter speed is lowered to allow you to take bright photographs.

  • Shooting crisp or defocused night scenes and decorative lighting
    Setting to "A (Aperture Priority mode)" is recommended when shooting photographs where the full screen is in focus or photographs with the foreground or background beautifully defocussed.

    Close the aperture (increase the F-value) to take crisp photographs.
    Open the aperture (decrease the F-value) to take defocused photographs.

    Use of a tripod is recommended when shooting in other than "Hand-held Twilight".
    Camera shake occurs when pressing the shutter button even when using a tripod, so use a remote commander or set the self timer to 2 Sec.

    Example of closing the aperture and putting the entire screen in focus
    Shooting mode: A (Aperture Priority)
    ISO: 200
    F-value: F8
    Shutter speed: 2.5 seconds (using tripod)
    Exposure compensation: None

    Example of shooting with the aperture open and defocusing the background
    Shooting mode: A (Aperture Priority)
    ISO: 320
    F-value: F2
    Shutter speed: 1/80 second
    Exposure compensation: 1.7