The Nikon d5100 has proven to be a very popular camera body amongst the photography community over the years with it managing to grow itself a large user base that continuously grows month in month out. Due to already having so many people using the Nikon d5100 with more and more people purchasing it each month, we constantly see large numbers of questions being asked about the camera body from photographers.
Now, as the Nikon d5100 is targeted towards entry level photographers, many of these questions that we see people asking about the camera are from people new to photography. Due to this, we have decided to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible who own the d5100 and have questions on how to get the best image quality possible.
Out of all of the questions that we see asked month in month out, the most popular questions seem to be based around how people are able to improve their Nikon d5100 night photography. We doubt that the frequency of these questions will end up fading any time soon due to night photography being surprisingly different to the other, well lit photography niches.
We have decided to come up with as many different tips and tricks for our readers as possible to try and cover as many of the frequently asked questions about Nikon d5100 night photograph as possible all in one article. Please keep in mind, we have tried to keep the majority of questions based around entry level photographers while also trying to keep them as cheap as possible while also including as many free tricks we could think of.
Consider An Online Night Photography Course
As we have touched on above, the vast majority of photographers who seem to be using the Nikon d5100 are new to photography and still developing their skillsets. Although the majority of the photography niches with optimal lighting are relatively easy to pickup, the low light photography niches can be considerable more difficult due to many photography principals simply being different what you may be used to.
As a reader of Photography Paws, you are able to take advantage of being able to sign up for a no-obligation trial of Skillshare premium meaning you don’t have to pay for access to their premium, usually paid courses. Skillshare has managed to attract some of the best course creators in the world with many world class professional photographers choosing to use the platform for the courses that they make too.
This includes one of, if not the best online night photography course that has been made to date. Not only does the course offer a ton of high quality, easy to understand videos to help you improve your night photography skills but it also has an excellent reputation as well as a ton of excellent reviews too.
If you are an entry level photographer then we would highly recommend that you take advantage of our offer above as you are able to enroll on the course that the majority of previous students have had to pay for without spending a cent. This is probably the easiest thing that you are going to be able to do to improve your night photography image quality and is well worth doing in our opinion.
Get Yourself A Lens That Is Ideal For Night Photography
Another quick and easy win that you can often do to allow you to easily improve the image quality that you will be able to capture with your Nikon d5100 on your night photography sessions is to try and pick up a better suited lens. A large number of people use the kit lenses with their d5100 and this really can hold you back when it comes to low light photography niches as the apertures on those lenses just is not ideal for optimal image quality.
Thankfully though, there are an absolute ton of cheap lenses that are great for various night photography niches that will mount streight to your d5100. You can usually shop around on sites such as eBay too and find them second hand to keep your costs even lower if you are on a tight budget.
Invest In A Suitable Tripod
This is another quick, easy, and cheap fix for a very common problem we see with entry-level night photographers and that is to pick up a solid entry-level tripod to get yourself some decent image stabilization. So many people try to capture photographs at night while holding their cameras in their hands and the lack of available light means that even the slightest movement in your hands when capturing the photograph can blur it.
This problem becomes even more prevalent if you are using an unsuitable lens with a slow aperture like many people who use the d5100 seem to be. Thankfully though, there are some excellent level tripods available that are in the sub-one hundred dollar price bracket but offer excellent levels of performance and image stabilization. Again, if you shop around on eBay, you can often find tripods at surprisingly low prices too.
Consider Getting Some Steel Wool
This next one is going to depend on what you are actually wanting to get done with your Nikon d5100 but in the age of social media, getting your hands on some cheap steel wool is a great way to improve your night photography photographs. As you can see in the photograph above, it adds an element of excitement with the movement and the additional lightsource helps to light your subject too.
With so many people who are entry level photographers wanting to rightfully grow their social media followings, steel wool can be a great strategy as it can draw the eye to your work amongst the competition for popular hash tags. This can then lead to clicks to your social media profiles ad help you grow your accounts faster.
As it is rare to find a location that is not photographed regularly these days, steel wool allows you to escape the monotony of the competing photographer’s work too. It adds that additional element to the photograph to add the unique look and feel to it that can make sure your work will stand out against a regular photograph of a location at night.
Get Yourself A Remote Trigger
In all honesty, the Nikon d5100 really is not an ideal camera body for serious Astrophotography but if you are wanting to try your hand at it then you are likely going to need a super zoom lens. When working at these high zoom ranges even a slight vibration in your d5100 can end up spoiling your photograph and causing the image to blur.
This is where a decent, cheap remote trigger comes into play as it totally removes the need to touch your d5100 to trigger it when capturing your photograph. This small, cheap addition to your camera accessories really can work wonders for your astrophotography sessions and usually results in a surprising improvement to your image quality with minimal effort being required by you.
Take Advantage Of The Landscape
This next one is not just specific to entry level photographers, even expert, professional level photographers regularly make this mistake as we become so focused on capturing the photograph we initially planned, we miss some excellent opportunities. We would highly recommend that you try to get into the habit of looking around you while out and about on your photography sessions to see how you are able to best intergrate the local landscape into your work.
We know that this sounds simple but time and time again, people make this mistake and end up missing some excellent photographs. We often see people saying that they live or work in an urban location so don’t have rock formations or mountains but in a city, you have tall buildings, bridges, and statures that work to the same effect.
Experiment With Manual Focus
Unfortunately, as auto focus systems have become better and better, more and more photographers have built up a habit of neglecting their manual focus skills and simply letting their auto focus do the work. This is a huge mistake, especially if you are planning to be involved in night photography on a regular basis as auto focus systems are a total nightmare in low light.
They will often constantly track to search for your subject and force everything in and out of focus randomly pretty much making it impossible to capture your photograph. Although getting good at using your manual focus can be a pain at first, it really is work it and is applicable in a wide number of other photography niches too so it is well worth the time investment.
Capture Your Photographs In RAW Format
Thankfully, a large number of photography YouTubers and social media influencers have started to preach the importance of switching over to capturing your photographs in RAW format rather than in JPEG. Although JPEG can be great if you are short on storage space, decent memory cards are much cheaper than they used to be but the compression rate of JPEG takes its toll on your image quality.
We would highly recommend that you switch over to RAW format as soon as possible with your night photography sessions as it can be a direct improvement to the image quality of your photographs. In addition to this, it also ensures that you have the best possible starting image for any post production editing that is required too.