The Sony mirrorless camera range is absolutely dominating right now and the various camera bodies in their Sony a7 range are constantly going from strength to strength with each new addition to the range. With the Sony a7 being extremely versatile as well as offering some outstanding image quality relative to its price point, it is easy to see why so many photographers use it as their camera of choice.
Due to the a7 being so popular, we see a huge number of questions month in and month out from people trying to ensure that they are getting the best photograph possible when using the camera. Due to some of the older camera bodies in the Sony a7 range being relatively old now, you can usually pick them up without breaking the bank meaning there are a large number of entry-level photographers using a camera from the a7 range too.
This means that we see questions from photographers of all levels of experience but we are seeing more and more entry-level and intermediate level photographers reaching out about Sony a7 night photography. As night photography does not usually follow many of the same photography principals as regular day photography with optimal lighting, we can see why so many people are reaching out.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over a number of different tips and tricks to try and help our readers who use the Sony a7 improve their night photography performance. All of these tips should be able to help anyone using the Sony a7, Sony a7R, Sony a7S, Sony a7ii, Sony a7Rii, Sony a7Sii, Sony a7iii, Sony a7Riii, Sony a7Riv, Sony a7Siii, Sony a7C, and any future additions to the Sony a7 camera range.
Consider An Online Night Photography Course
In our opinion, one of the best things that you are able to do as an entry-level or even intermediate level night photographer is to check out a decent online night photography course. Better yet, as a reader of Photography Paws, you are able to take advantage of a no-obligation trial for Skillshare to enroll on all of their excellent photography courses without having to spend a cent.
Not only does our recommended night photography course already have an excellent reputation amongst photographers but it also has a huge amount of glowing reviews from previous students too. Even if you are an intermediate level photographer or potentially even a professional level photographer, we are confident that there will be something in there for you, and as we mentioned, you are able to enroll without spending a cent.
Get Yourself A Lens That Is Ideal For Night Photography
Another quick and easy win that you are able to use to your advantage is to pick up a lens that is actually suitable for night photography with your Sony a7. We see so many people reaching out for advice on how they can improve their night photography image quality when they are using an unsuitable lens.
We know that this one is going to be dependent on your budget but the Sony a7 range has some excellent lenses available for it that are very budget friendly. You can even take this a step further and check sites like eBay to pickup pre-owned lenses to get them even cheap. In this day and age, there really is no need to break the bank when it comes to your lenses so the majority of people should be able to add a suitable night photography lens to their camera accessories.
Invest In A Suitable Tripod
Although most of our readers who own the Sony a7 already have a tripod in their camera accessories, we do still see the odd person who holds their camera body in their hands for their photography sessions. As you can probably tell, this can play havoc with your image quality, especially at night when the available light is so low meaning that bluring can quickly become a problem.
If you are yet to pick up a tripod, something like the Zomi Z699c should easily be able to meet your needs. It is very budget-friendly, has an excellent reputation, and offers some great image stabilization relative to its price. Again, there is no need to overspend or risk breaking the bank for tripods these day, the price of carbon fiber has dramatically fallen over the last few years and there are some great sub-one hundred dollar tripods on the market.
Consider Getting Some Steel Wool
We are pleased to see that the use of steel wool is catching on more and more for night photography as it is a very quick, easy, and cheap win that can really improve your photography competition and image quality. Take the photo above as an example, without the additional light source and movement from the use of steel wool, it would have just been a boring, very poorly lit photograph of a bridge.
It is nice to see that more and more photographers are starting to think outside of the box when it comes to integrating steel wool with their photography sessions too. You really are able to use it to ensure that you capture a unique looking photograph even if the main subject of your photograph is commonly captured by other photographers.
This in turn allows your work to stand out on social media platforms such as Instagram. Depending on your goals, you are able to showcase your night photographs capturing with your Sony a7 that have steel wool used in them to ensure that your work stands out for some high trafficked hashtags too. Not only can this help your social media accounts grow faster but it may also lead to additional work in the future.
Get Yourself A Remote Trigger
This next one is only relevant if you are working in the astrophotography sub-niche of night photography but depending on what you are actually trying to get done with your Sony a7, you may be able to integrate it in other ways too. With astrophotography, you will probably having a super telephoto lens mounted to your a7 as it offers the best possible image quality of the planets and stars.
The issue with this is that these super zoom lens ranges are often very easy to accidentally add blur when pressing your camera capture button due to even the slightest vibration making a big different. This is where a remote trigger for your a7 comes in as it allows you to trigger your camera to capture the photograph without it actually having to be touched.
This prevents the issues with vibrations as well as helps to improve your image quality. There are a ton of cheap remote triggers available for the Sony a7 range and even the better options are still usually under twenty dollars anyway. This allows you to have a quick and easy win to improve your night photography image quality when it comes to the astrophotography sub-niche.
Take Advantage Of The Landscape
So many photographers get fixated on capturing a subject or landmark that they initially set out to capture on their night photography session that they often miss some once in a lifetime opportunities for some truly epic photographs. This is such a simple fix too but we know that it can be hard to develop the new habit of always looking around you to capture photographs like the one above that are unplanned.
No matter your location, there are almost always some excellent sights that you are able to use to your advantage. Mountains, lakes, and rock formations are all excellent options for out in rural areas where man made structures such as bridges, tall buildings, and statures can all work well in and urban setting.
Experiment With Manual Focus
We have lost count of the number of times that we have had to say this but don’t become overly reliant on your auto focus system. Most auto focus systems can have a hard time when it comes to night photography making them useless meaning that you have to use your manual focus.
Thankfully, the majority of the lenses on the market for the Sony a7 have a great manual focus ring allowing you to easily get to grips with how you should be looking to manually focus your frame. Although many people do neglect to develop their manual focus skillset, it can be easy to get back on top of it with a little practice as it really is not that hard.
Capture Your Photographs In RAW Format
Many photographers still save their work as JPEG and although the file format is able to save a ton of space, it really does spoil the image quality of your photographs with its compression rate. In this day and age, with memory cards being so cheap, there is rarly a reason to use the JPEG file type to save your work.
We would highly recommend that you switch over to the RAW format as it can drastically improve your image quality without any further action being required. In addition to this, as you are saving the highest possible version of the photograph, it also ensures that you have the best possible version to work with as a starting point for any post production work too.