How to Shoot Low Light Landscape Photography without a Tripod
Some landscapes are at their most beautiful in low light. Whether you want to include stars, northern lights or moody skies in your landscape pictures, it's important to keep your photos sharp. Even if you don't have a tripod, you can still take great photos in low light.
Use a High ISO Number
ISO is very important in low light landscape photography. Don't be afraid of high ISO numbers. You should have a reasonable limit, of course, as anything too extreme will result in very noisy pictures. Feel free to go above what you're used to, though.
The higher your ISO, the easier it will be to take sharp photos in super low light conditions.
Use a Large Aperture
In low light landscape photography, a large aperture is your best friend. It can help you avoid going too high up in the ISO range. If you don't mind capturing a little less detail in your landscape photos, you'll find this setting immensely helpful.
In some cases, a small aperture is very important. Even if you want to keep your foregrounds and backgrounds sharp, consider using an aperture that's slightly larger than the one you're used to. In low light photography, even a small change like this can make a significant difference.
Find Something Sturdy to Put Your Camera On
Once you find a view that you really like, look around. Are there any flat and sturdy objects that you could put your camera on? This could be a wall, a stone, or even your knee. Simple objects like this can help you support your camera and take sharp landscape photos.
No matter what object you choose, always have your hands on your camera. This will ensure that your equipment is safe at all times. If you're afraid of shaking your camera when you press the shutter, you can use a timer.
Stand Properly to Avoid Camera Shake
How you stand and hold your camera plays an important role in low light photography. If your arms and legs are loose, you're likely to take blurry photos. Keep your arms strong. Don't relax your muscles. If possible, bring your arms together so that they create a stronger foundation for your camera to stand on. In addition to this, stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Standing still takes patience and practise. Experiment with different arm and leg placements. With time, you'll discover poses that work perfectly for you.
Low light landscape photography is an inspiring genre that you shouldn't miss out on. Just because you don't have a tripod doesn't mean you should stay away from it.
Familiarise yourself with different ISO and apertures settings to make the most of your experience. Remember to use objects for support when necessary and to stand the right way. The more you practise, the easier it will be to take fantastic landscape photos at any time of day.
Subscribe to my Newsletter ... and don't miss any new articles!
About the Author – Jan Erik Waider
I'm a visual artist and fine art photographer based in Hamburg. My work focuses on atmospheric and abstract landscape photography, capturing the essence of the remote polar regions. – Learn more about me and discover my fine art photo series, prints and books or download my Lightroom Presets or Capture One Styles.
Master Collection: 8 Lightroom Preset Packs for Landscape and Travel Photography
Discover the Master Collection by Northlandscapes with 8 professional preset packs for moody landscape, travel and aerial photography. Get a total of 362 Lightroom presets with a shop value of $282 for only $69! And the best part: All future product releases are also included!
Included in the Master Collection:
- Dark & Dramatic Lightroom Presets $35
- Landscape Essentials: 20 Lightroom Presets ($39)
- Forest Landscapes Lightroom Presets $35
- Aerial & Drone Lightroom Presets $35
- Signature Lightroom Presets $35
- Polar Landscapes Lightroom Presets $35
- Black & White Lightroom Presets $29
- Cinematic Lightroom Presets $15
- ... plus all future product releases!