The Nikon d3300 is one of the more popular entry level DSLR camera bodies on the market from the Nikon range that continues to see strong sales year in year out with it constantly expanding its already huge customer base of photographers. Due to the d3300 already having such a large customer base of photographers using the camera body as well as seeing strong continuing sales with each passing month, we are alwasy seeing new people reaching out and asking for tips and tricks on how they are able to ensure that they are getting the best photographs possible when using the d3300.
Although we see photographers reaching out about pretty much everything that you could ever imagine when it comes to the Nikon d3300 with questions ranging from technique to camera accessories to specific photography niches, we have noticed more and more people asking about improving their Nikon d3300 night photography. Night photography and the various sub-niches within it is seeing really strong growth in its popularity right now so we think that the number of people reaching out for advice is only going to increase over the coming months so we wanted to get this article online to try and help as many of our readers as we can.
Our tips, tricks, and suggestions below should be able to help anyone who uses the Nikon d3300 improve their night photography image quality quickly. We would highly recommend that our readers try to implement as many of our suggestions as possible from our list below as they all have a compounding effect with each other to get you better results. That said though, some of our suggestions are location, and niche dependent so depending on exactly what you are wanting to do with your Nikon d3300, you can miss some out as they may not be applicable to your goals.
Consider A Free Night Photography Course
With the Nikon d3300 being an entry level DSLR camera, we feel that a large number of people reaching out for advice on improving their night photography with the camera will be entry level photographers. One of the main problems that we see with entry level photographers and night photography is that they will often treat it as if it is regular day light photography and ignore the core principals of night time photography and the differences in lighting.
As a reader of Photography Paws, you are able to claim your two free months of Skillshare premium and enroll on the highest rated night photography course on their platform. This is one of the best night photography courses available and only takes just over an hour to complete while being able to quickly teach you the fundamentals of night photography as well as a large number of intermediate level tips and tricks too. Due to being able to do the course without having to spend a cent, we would highly recommend that our readers check it out if they are wanting to get the best night photography photographs possible.
Due to the no-obligation two month trial being for the whole Skillshare premium membership, you are able to enroll on a number of the other excellent photography courses on the platform after the night photography course too. In our opinion, this is one of the best ways to quickly and easily develop your skills in a number of different photography niches and be able to take the image quality that you can capture with your Nikon d3300 to the next level quickly.
Get Yourself A Lens That Is Ideal For Night Photography
We see so many people who use the Nikon d3300 using their 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for their night photography and unfortunately, although the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is a solid little entry level general purpose lens for many popular photography niches, it definitely falls short when it comes to night photography. The f/3.5-5.6 aperture on the lens just is not good enough to be used in the poor lighting for the nighttime photography niches and will almost always end up resulting in sub-par image quality.
In our opinion, you should be looking to try to upgrade to something like the Rokinon 14mm as soon as possible, although it is an excellent lens for night photography, it is also a solid investment for a large number of other popular photography niches due to the image quality being so shart and its focal length being so wide. The great aperture of the Rokinon 14mm makes it the perfect lens for your Nikon d3300 for night photography with it being able to cover the vast majority of night photography sub-niches outside of the astrophotography super zoom lens style photographs.
Invest In A Suitable Tripod
Although a tripod is usually one of the very first camera accessories that we usually see people adding to their collection, we do see some people who are trying to use their Nikon d3300 with their 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for hand held photography at night. We have already touched on the weaknesses of the kit lens for the d3300 above but trying to capturing your night photographs while holding your camera in your hands just makes the whole experience even worse.
If you do have to stick with the kit lens for the d3300 for your night photography then you should be trying to get your hands one a decent tripod as soon as possible as it will offer some improvement when using the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and a vast improvement when using a better lens such as the Rokinon 14mm. When it comes to modern tripods, there really is no need to break the bank either as something like the Zomei z699c will usually be able to get the job done and it is a very budget friendly tripod.
That said though, if you are planning to stick to photography for many years to come and to potentially make a career out of it then you should really be looking at something like the MT055CXPRO3 from Manfrotto. Our regular readers will probably already know that we are huge fans of the tripod and think that the MT055CXPRO3 is one of, if not the best tripod ever made and with it managing to earn such an excellent reputation for itself amongst both photographers and videographers, it definitely does seem as though the community agree.
Consider Getting Some Steel Wool
We are seeing more and more people start to use steel wool in their night photography sessions no matter what camera body or lens they are using. It adds that additional element of light and movement to your photograph to really make it pop and stand out from what other photographers are able to capture. If you are planning to go out and capturing photographs or popular locations in your area that have already been photographed hundreds of times then adding some steel wool usage into your photograph can be the perfect way to make your photograph stand out.
The image above shows a great example of how adding some steel wool to the photograph to light it up and add the excitement really does help to make an otherwise boring photograph pop and get the viewer’s attention. With social media playing such a huge roll in being able to get your work out there and show people your skills when it comes to getting bookings as a photographer when just starting out, this quick and easy trick can let you draw the eye away from a potential competitor.
Get Yourself A Remote Trigger
If you are looking at capturing photographs of the moon or planets rather than general night photography with your Nikon d3300 then you are ideally going to be wanting a super zoom lens. When you are working at these high end zoom ranges it can be a total pain for you to keep your image quality share, even when using an intermediate or professional level telephoto zoom lens due to even the slightest vibration being a pain.
Our quick and easy tip to prevent this is to switch over to using a wireless remote control to trigger your Nikon d3300 rather than actually physically press the capture button. This removes the chance of any vibrations at all and will ensure that you are able to capture yourself the sharpest possible photographs when working at those super zoom lens ranges.
Try Some ND Filters
We are big fans of ND lens filters in general as they work in a large number of photography niches where you are looking to blend time and movement in the same photograph. If you are wanting to do this with your night photograph sessions such as capturing star trails or to use steel wool during your sessions then a decent, cheap ND filter can be an excellent investment in your Nikon d3300 camera accessories.
The ND filter allows you to control the light that is able to enter your lens and reach your camera sensor meaning that you can leave your shutter open for longer without spoiling your image. The use cases for ND filters are only limited by your imagination though and as we touched on above, they can be used in a large number of niches outside of just night photography too such as capturing waterfalls or other water features giving them that milky smooth water look.
Take Advantage Of The Landscape
This one is often overlooked by entry-level photographers and it is something that can add a dramatic difference to your image when used correctly being able to quickly, easily, and cheaply add some depth or scale to your photographs as shown in the image above. Ideally, if you are wanting to feature something in the distance of your photograph like the moon or prominent stars in your area then having something in either the foreground or middle ground of the photograph can really help improve the overall composition of your photograph.
Experiment With Manual Focus
We have lost count of the number of people who we see reaching out for help to improve their nighttime photography skills for the them to say that they are using the auto focus on their lens. Due to the poor lighting during night photography, auto focus systems usually end up just tracking constantly and doing more harm than good due to randomly knocking your subject out of focus.
We would highly recommend that all of our readers, no matter the camera, lens or niche put the time in to practice using the manual focus ring on their lens. Being able to manually focus effectively is an important skill and should not be overlooked if you are wanting to progress as a photographer. We see a large amount of people new to photography overly rely on their autofocus systems but it really is not hard to get used to using the manual focus ring and although it can be a little offputting at first, you will quickly get to grips with it.
Play Around With Your Camera Settings
Although this one is common sense and you should always tweak the settings of your Nikon d3300 to meet the needs of the specific photography situation that you find yourself in, we always see people making the exact same mistake no matter the camera, no matter the niche. People tend to just Google their camera body and the photography niche that they are working in to look for a camera settings benchmark and then they just use that and never end up trying anything else.
The problems with these benchmark settings for cameras that people find online is that they are often bad anyway and in addition to this, different locations, especially for night photography need slightly different ISO and shutter speed settings due to the different lighting. This is why we always recommend that our readers get a benchmark off the internet if they wish but that they test it and tweak it as soon as possible in their local area in the conditions that they will be capturing their photographs in to make sure that they have optimal camera settings.