Sometimes, in pictures of camping published in outdoor magazines, I'll see a night shot where the tent is all lit up like a big yellow bulb. How do they get that shot? Long exposure, probably, but what else? A particular type of tent fabric, a particular color of tent fabric (yellow) and the tent has to be lit up by a bright halogen lamp from the inside?

In other words, how would you go about setting this shot up?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you give an example of the kind of shot you're referring to? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you referring to an advertisement, editorial, or documentary photo? The difference will affect how it is done. An ad or editorial will often be a composite of studio shot with strobes & stock images. Unless the image is journalistic/documentary its probably staged. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 2:11

2 Answers 2


In short You really need a tripod.

After that, you will have to experiment yourself with exposition time and the lighting (diffuse) in the tent (the longer the exposition, the dimmest the light needs to be)

It is easier and cheaper to experiment with light color instead of tent color.

There are tons of references (blogs and videos) on how to do that on the internets.

(most of the tutorials and how-to also show how to take stars trails photography (which is a lot harder because you need to be way out of any external light sources).

Something like this: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/blog/behind-photo-get-glowing-tent-night-shot/ ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, definitely a tripod, and then the key is balancing the light from the glowing tent with the ambient light (e.g. stars, blue hour sky or whatever else you want in your image). To the OP: because it's usually a long exposure, the light source inside the tent doesn't necessarily have to be that strong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Conor Boyd
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 23:45

I think the easiest way would be to take your long exposure shot to get the night sky and fire off a single shot from a flash from inside the tent. You can experiment with the strength of flash needed, but that would probably be simpler than trying to balance a continuous light source.


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