The Nikon Coolpix b500 is one of the most popular entry level bridge cameras in the world and although it already has an absolutely huge core customer base, it is still seeing strong growth and sales with more and more people picking it up due to the surge in popularity of bridge cameras right now. With the b500 being such a popular camera, we are constantly seeing a large number of different questions being asked about it week in, week out ranging from camera accessories all the way through to different tips and tricks for specific photography niches.
Due to the camera being one of the better entry-level options for capturing good, high quality photographs of the night sky, it is not surprising that we see so many people specifically reaching out and asking for tips and tricks on how they can improve their Nikon Coolpix b500 night photography. Due to this, as well as the popularity of the camera steadily increasing, we have decided to dedicate this article to a bunch of b500 night photography tips and tricks to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Although you can pick and choose the different suggestions that you want to implement into your own night photography routine, adding in as many of them as possible will help to improve your night photography image quality as much as possible. That said though, depending on the type of night photography that you are doing as well as your goals for your sessions, there may be no need to implement some of our suggestions below due to them being specific to a niche you are not working in.
Consider A Free Night Photography Course
With the Nikon Coolpix b500 being an entry level camera, many of the people using it are new to photography and seem to be treating night photography the same as day photography but there are some fundamental differences in how you should go about it. As one of our readers, you are able to take advantage of a two month premium, no commitment Skillshare membership trial and enroll on their best night photography course that only takes around an hour to complete.
We would highly recommend the course to our readers, especially as you usually have to pay to complete it but the course has a ton of high quality videos showing you the principals of night photography while offering a bunch of entry level and intermediate tips and tricks that you can use. In our opinion, this will be the best way to quickly improve the night photography image quality that you are able to capture with the Nikon Coolpix b500 and on top of this, the course has one of the best reputations going amongst the photography community.
Use Night Photography Mode
We can’t stress this one enough, the Nikon Coolpix b500 actually has an excellent, built-in night photography mode that so many people don’t seem to be using. It is rare for an entry level camera to have such a solid built-in night photography mode that is able to offer you such a large improvement to the image quality that you are able to capture at night simply by switching your camera over to using it. You can quickly and easily navigate to it in your camera settings under modes and enable the night photography setting and we would highly recommend that our readers do this as it is a quick and easy win.
Invest In A Suitable Tripod
With the Nikon Coolpix b500 being an entry level camera body, some of our readers reaching out for ways to improve their night photography image quality may not have added a decent tripod to their collection of camera accessories yet. Thankfully, tripods such as the Zomei z699c are excellent, budget friendly tripods that can offer excellent levels of image stabilization without you having to break the bank.
Although we have seen some solid night photographs captured using the Nikon Coolpix b500, the vast majority of sub-niches for night photography should really be using a tripod for the image stabilization. Not only can this result in sharper images but it can also help with the overall competition of the photography too. Although you can go with an intermediate tripod from Manfrotto if you really want, the z699c is a solid little tripod that is cheap and very popular offering excellent performance to its users.
Consider Getting Some Steel Wool
Steel wool can be a quick, easy, and cheap way to bring a boring photograph to life and add some light, movement, and excitement helping your photograph stand out. The example photograph above would just be a boring, poorly lit photograph of a bridge without the steel wool being used and you can use this to your advantage with your own photographs too.
Another great use of steel wool for night photograph is to make your photographs of local landmarks that are often photographed standout on social media. Being able to catch the eye and gain likes and followers can really help your photography business see some solid growth and steel wool is able to draw the eye and help you dominate the relevant hashtags for the landmark you are photographing.
Get Yourself A Remote Trigger
Due to the Nikon Coolpix b500 being able to support up to 40x zoom, you may be using that upper zoom range on a regular basis depending on the night photography sub-niche you are working in. If you are trying to take part in something like astrophotography where you will often be at the higher zoom range of your camera then adding a cheap wireless or wired remote trigger to your camera accessories can offer some solid bang for your buck.
A common issue with even the intermediate level bridge cameras is that the slight vibration that you send through the camera when actually pressing the camera trigger can add a slight blur to your image. A remote trigger prevents this from happening as there is no reason to actually touch your camera body to capture the photograph and can help to keep your photographs as sharp as possible when using the higher zoom ranges on the camera.
Try Some ND Filters
Although the Nikon Coolpix b500 does have a built-in, electronic ND filter (-2.0 EV) that can help improve your image quality, we would usually recommend that our readers try to add a decent, cheap ND filter to their collection of camera accessories if possible. This can really help to let you capture movement and time in your night photographs with your b500 as seen in the photograph with the steel wool in the section above while also being a useful effect for star trails and other photography niches too.
Now, the Nikon Coolpix b500 does not have a native camera lens thread on it so you will need a filter thread adaptor to actually mount an ND filter but they can be great camera accessories to have depending on what you are planning on doing. That said though, if you are not planning to try and capture movement by being able to keep your shutter open for longer then you can usually skip them without issue.
Take Advantage Of The Landscape
This is a quick and easy tip that we always see entry level photographers overlooking and that is to use the local landscape to your advantage for your night photography sessions. The image above shows how you can use trees and hills to add depth and/or scale to your photograph while having the moon feature as the main feature of the photograph. If you are in an urban location where hills and trees may be scares then you can use tall buildings, bridges, and other prominent features in the area with a similar effect.
Experiment With Manual Focus
We cant stress this one enough, developing your skills when it comes to using your manual focus for your photography is useful in pretty much every niche but so many people don’t develop their skillset correctly. If you patch your Nikon Coolpix b500 to the latest firmware release from Nikon then the auto focus system on the camera is great for an entry level camera and this is the main reason we see so many people neglect their manual focus.
Unfortunately, the majority of the auto focus systems on professional level cameras can have issues with night photography, never mind the ones on the entry level cameras. This is due to the poor lighting essentially locking the auto focus into a tracking loop where it is unable to workout what it should be focusing on. This is why putting the time in to get better at your manual focus is so important and why we cant stress it enough as you can adjust the focus as required for the main subject of your photograph.
Plan Your Night Photography Session
Our final tip to improve your Nikon Coolpix b500 night photography may seem like common sense to some people but in reality, it is an often overlooked step that we see intermediate and professional level photographers make. You can check the weather, phase of the moon, star patterns, and cloud cover for your local area within a matter of minutes before leaving the house. Making sure that the conditions for your night photography session are ideal prior to leaving the house can be the difference between you getting no good photographs and getting nothing but excellent photographs so it is well worth doing.