The Nikon d7100 is a very popular camera body from the Nikon DSLR range and although it has a price tag at the bottom end of the intermediate level camera range, it can offer outstanding image quality when used correctly. Although the Nikon d7100 already has a large and established core customer base of photographers using it as their camera body of choice of their photography sessions, the excellent performance of the camera has ensured that it is still seeing some very strong sales.
Just like all of the other popular cameras on the market right now, we are constantly seeing people reaching out and asking questions about the Nikon d7100. With the camera body still seeing very strong sales and its user base rapidly growing, we only expect this to increase in the future so we have decided to try and start answering as many of these Nikon d7100 specific questions as possible. Although the Nikon d7100 questions we see are spread over a wide range of topics, we often see a large number of people specifically asking for Nikon d7100 night photography tips to help them get better image quality at night when using the camera.
Thankfully, the Nikon d7100 is a very capable camera when it comes to using it at night or in any other low light photography situations that you may have to use it in and the majority of the issues that we usually see from people asking questions are usually user error rather than a problem with the camera. Thankfully though, this means that you are easily able to fix these issues with the tips, tricks, and suggestions that we offer below and quickly improve the quality of your nighttime photographs with your Nikon d7100.
Consider A Free Night Photography Course
As we just touched on, the vast majority of the issues that hold photographers back when it comes to night photography are usually due to themselves rather than their equipment. As a Photography Paws reader, you are able to take a no commitment two month trial of Skillshare premium allowing you to enroll on one of the best online night photography courses available without having to spend a cent. The course has an absolute ton of excellent reviews from the community as well as a bunch of great reviews from other people who have completed it too with most of them having to have had to pay for access to it.
The course only takes around an hour to complete but offers so many excellent entry level and intermediate level tips and tricks to help you improve your night photography that we definitely think that it is well worth enrolling on and completing. In addition to this though, once you have completed the night photography course, you are able to enroll on any of the other excellent courses on the Skillshare platform with your subscription too provided you are able to complete them within the two month time limit. This is a quick, easy, and free way for people to improve their photography skills in pretty much every niche out there and due to the courses on Skillshare being laid out in such an easy to follow way, they can quickly help you get results.
Get Yourself A Lens That Is Ideal For Night Photography
Another very common issue with people looking to improve their night photography skillset is that they will be using a lens that has not been designed for night photography making it an uphill battle to get high quality photographs. The majority of the Nikon d7100 bundles out there come with either the 18 to 55 millimeter f/3.5-5.6 or the 70 to 300 millimeterf/4.5-6. as the kit lens for the camera and neither of them are particularly good for nighttime photography and will definatley be holding you back.
If you do have the budget available then adding a budget-friendly lens that is ideal for night photography like the Rokinon 14mm to your collection of camera accessories can be a great investment. Although in this particular situation, we are recommending the lens for night photography, our regular readers will probably know that the Rokinon 14mm is our recommended lens of choice for pretty much any photography niche where you require a wide-angle lens as it is an excellent bit of kit to have. With it being so budget-friendly and offering outstanding performance, it is not surprising that it has managed to earn itself such an excellent reputation amongst photographers in such a short period of time.
Invest In A Suitable Tripod
Another common problem with photographers looking to get better at night photography is that they will sometimes be using their camera body handheld and if you are using a kit lens, this just adds to your problems. Thankfully though, the majority of the people who are using the Nikon d7100 do seem to be using a decent tripod like the Manfrotto MT055 or something similar. That said though if you don’t have a tripod in your collection of camera accessories yet then even adding a decent entry-level tripod like the Zomei z699c to your collection can be worth it.
The image stabilization from the tripod helps to overcompensate for the poor apertures on the kit lenses that come with the Nikon d7100 and even if you have invested in a higher quality lens for your night photography, a tripod can still help to increase the overall image quality of your photographs. As you probably know, a tripod is one of the best camera accessories that you are able to invest in and can be used in pretty much any photography niche so it is well worth having one.
Consider Getting Some Steel Wool
Although the popularity of using steel wool in night photography sessions has taken off over the last year or two, it can still be a great, cheap way to make your content stand out. As you can see in the example photograph above, the addition of the steel wool really does add the additional element to the photograph to help make it stand out and pop. Without the use of the steel wool, it would just be another poorly lit photograph of a bridge and it would be very unlikley that it would get any attention on social media.
With many photographers getting a large chunk of their gigs from social media these days, being able to attract likes and followers to your work is becoming part of being a professional-level photographer. This is why we always recommend that our readers pick up some cheap steel wool for their night photography sessions. It lets you capture photographs of the more well-known landmarks in your local area that are commonly photographed by many other photographers but lets you get your photo to stand out amongst the crowd.
Get Yourself A Remote Trigger
Now, this next tip is only really for anyone in the astrophotography sub-niche of night photography and using their Nikon d7100 with a super zoom lens with over 300mm of zoom capability. At these high levels of zoom, you can easily add blur to your photograph and spoil it when you press your capture button on your camera body due to even a slight vibration being able to have an effect on the lenses focus when zoomed in so much. Thankfully though, the solution is very cheap and adding a sub-twenty dollar remote trigger is able to remove the need for your to actually touch your Nikon d7100 and let you capture your photograph.
This can offer a surprising level of bang for your buck as it can easily sharpen up the image quality that you are able to capture with your astrophotography resulting in a surprising improvement to your photograph. We see people folking out for very expensive superzoom lenses on a regular basis and complaining about the blurring but this tip can help remove that completely as the blur is usually down to vibration, not the actual lens.
Experiment With Manual Focus
In our opinion, no matter the quality of your lens that you are using for your Nikon d7100 night photography, you really should be trying to develop your manual focus skillset. Although the modern autofocus systems on a bunch of camera lenses are great for well lit photography niches, they can end up being a problem for night photography and actually being more of a burden. This is why we tell people to try to use their manual focus with their night photography sessions.
An auto focus system on a lens can end up getting confused and tracking for the subject of your photograph due to struggling to pick it up in the low light. With the manual focus you can easily adjust the focus of the lens as required as you can clearly tell where the subject of your photograph is. Developing your manual focus skillset it a great skill to have for many other popular photography niches too so it should not be overlooked.
Capture Your Photographs In RAW Format
Thankfully more and more people are dropping JPEG due to SD memory card storage capacities getting larger while their price tags come down so RAW is a more viable file type. If you are still using JPEG then we would highly recommend that you at least switch over to RAW for your night photography as it does not compress and degrade the image that may potentially already be on the lower end of quality, especially if it was captured with a kit lens.
Keeping as much detail as possible in your photographs with RAW format not only helps to improve their quality but it also ensures you have the best image for any post production editing too. The vast majority of photographs have some form of post production editing on them these days and JPEGs compression can end up causing issues for you. If you are using the kit lens for the Nikon d7100 then chances are you will be wanting to make a few tweaks in post production anyway so RAW is the way to go.
Plan Your Night Photography Session
Our final Nikon d7100 night photography tip is to actually plan your session and although this sounds basic, this is a very common mistake for night photography. It only takes a few seconds to check the weather, cloud cover, stars, phase of the moon, and anything else you need for your session and it can make or break the images that you can capture. We even see professional photographers make this mistake and hike out to some location only to find that there is low cloud cover and poor visability preventing them from capturing any of the photographs that they actually wanted.