How can I shoot film at night without a tripod?

Using a tripod to take a photo helps reduce camera shake and motion blur for a steadier and cleaner shot, especially when taking photos in low-light scenarios such as night time, an overcast day or an indoor set up. But if you don’t have one, there’s a few tricks you can do to get a better shot without a tripod to work with.

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Higher ISO Film Stocks/Pushing Film

One method is picking a higher ISO film stock to let more light into your photo, typically ISO 800 and higher film. If the only film available to you has a box speed of ISO 400 or below, another method is to push the film. This is done by setting the ISO of your film camera one or two stops higher, for example setting an ISO 400 film stock to ISO 800 depending on how dark your environment is.

When taking a photo, you can also use a light meter (or downloadable light meter app on your phone) to help you get the best exposure setting to use for your specific set up.

Choosing Bright Subjects

You can also maximize the available light source around you by choosing bright subjects such as neon lights, headlights, lamp posts, lanterns or the like.

Using Flash or Faster Lenses

Turning on your flash is one of the easy ways to get a clear photo at night time especially on set ups such as night outs and evening parties. Another way is to use faster lenses which generally let more light in, such as a prime lens with a fixed aperture of f/2.8 to f/1.2. The lower the aperture is, such as f/1.2, the wider the lens is and the more light can be absorbed by the film.

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