How to Use Night Photo & Night Lapse

What are you trying to do?

To effectively use Night Photo or Night Lapse.

Where does it apply?

  • HERO6 Black
  • Fusion
  • HERO5 Black
  • HERO5 Session
  • HERO4 Black
  • HERO4 Silver

How to do it

Here's a quick video that introduces these features:

 

You may find this camera icon key useful throughout this article:

First, determine which mode you want to use.

Night Photo

Captures a single still photo in low light environments, such as capturing the night sky.

HERO6 Black / HERO5 Black:

  1. To enable Night Photo, select the Mode/Power button until the camera enters Photo mode.  
  2. On the touch display, tap the camera icon in the lower left corner.
  3. Tap "Night."


Fusion: 

  1. Press the Mode/Power button (side) repeatedly until the Settings icon (wrench) is displayed; press the Shutter button (front) to enter Settings. 
  2. Press the Mode/Power button once to bring up the photo mode settings.
    • NOTE: If "NIGHT" is already displayed, your camera already has Night Photo enabled; simply exit the Settings and navigate to Night Photo to take a picture. 
  3. Press the Mode/Power button once to highlight "PHOTO," then press the Shutter button repeatedly until "NIGHT" is displayed. 


HERO5 Session:

  1. To enable Night Photo, select the Menu button until Camera Settings is selected.
  2. Press the Shutter button to highlight the Video icon,then press the shutter again until a Photo icon appears.
  3. Press the Menu button again to highlight the word "Photo".
  4. Then press the Shutter button to change the mode to "Night" photo. 

*** The Night Photo settings can also be set and changed easier when connected to the Capture app.***

HERO4:

  1. To enable Night Photo, select the Mode/Power button until Photo is selected.
  2. Press the Settings/Tab button and change the Mode setting to Night.

Night Lapse

Captures a  series of photos at specific intervals and exposure times. Use Night Lapse in low light environments, such as when capturing the night sky over a period of time.

To enable Night Lapse, select the Mode/Power button until Multi-Shot is selected. Press the Settings/Tab button and change the Mode setting to Night Lapse.

Once you have the mode set up, it's time to choose the best settings. Settings for Night Photo & Night Lapse are nearly the same as the Standard Photo or Time Lapse with a couple of exceptions:

  • Both Night Photo & Night Lapse allow you to control the camera's Shutter speed.
  • The Interval for Night Lapse ranges from 4 seconds to 60 minutes. Standard Time Lapse intervals range from 0.5 seconds to 60 seconds.

HERO6 Black / HERO5 Black:
If you want to adjust the shutter speed, follow these steps

  1. First press the Mode/Power button until Photo or Multi-Shot is selected.
  2. Tap the Photo icon along the lower left corner on the back LCD screen.
  3. Tap the Night photo mode.
  4. A Shutter option is now available along the bottom center of the LCD screen. Tap on the Shutter option.
  5. Swipe left or right or tap the desired shutter speed (the default will be Auto).

Fusion: 

  1. Press the Mode/Power button (side) repeatedly until the Settings icon (wrench) is displayed; press the Shutter button (front) to enter Settings. 
  2. Press the Mode/Power button once to bring up the photo mode settings.
    • NOTE: If "NIGHT" is already displayed, your camera already has Night Photo enabled; simply exit the Settings and navigate to Night Photo to take a picture. 
  3. Press the Mode/Power button once to highlight "PHOTO," then press the Shutter button repeatedly until "NIGHT" is displayed. 

HERO5 Session:
If you want to adjust the shutter speed, follow these steps

  1. To enable Night Photo, select the Menu button until Camera Settings is selected.
  2. Press the Shutter button to highlight the Video icon,then press the shutter again until a Photo icon appears.
  3. Press the Menu button again to highlight the word Photo.
  4. Then press the Shutter button to change the mode to "Night" photo. 
  5. Press the Menu button again to highlight the word Auto, then press the Shutter button to choose the desired shutter speed (the default will be Auto).

*** The Night Lapse settings can also be set and changed easier when connected to the Capture app.***

HERO4:
If you want to adjust the shutter speed, follow these steps (ref. p. 37 of the HERO4 Black User Manual):

  1. First press the Mode/Power button until Photo or Multi-Shot is selected.
  2. Press the Settings/Tag button.
  3. Press the Shutter button to change the Mode to Night (Single will be the default selection).
  4. Press the Mode/Power button to highlight Shutter Speed.
  5. Press the Shutter button to select the desired shutter speed (the default will be Auto).

You can use this chart to decide what shutter speed is best for you:

SettingsExamples
2 sec, 5 sec, 10 secDawn, dusk, twilight, traffic at night, Ferris wheel, fireworks, light painting (instances in which there is a relatively bright source of light, somewhere in the frame) 
20 SecNight sky with a distant/minimal light source (e.g., the moon, some light pollution)
30 SecNight stars, Milky Way (complete darkness)
AutoSunrise, sunset, dawn, dusk, twilight (the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed between the fastest possible; 1/4096th of a second, up to 2 seconds)

HERO6 Black / HERO5 Black:
In Night Lapse mode, if you want to adjust the interval at which the camera initiates photo capture during the Night Lapse sequence, follow these steps:

  1. First press the Mode/Power button until the Time Lapse is selected.
  2. Tap the Time Lapse icon along the lower left corner on the back LCD screen.
  3. Tap the Night Lapse photo mode.
  4. A Interval option (INTR) is now available along the bottom center of the LCD screen. Tap on the Interval option.
  5. Swipe left or right or tap the desired Interval setting. 

HERO5 Session:
In Night Lapse mode, if you want to adjust the interval at which the camera initiates photo capture during the Night Lapse sequence, follow these steps:

  1. To enable Night Lapse Photo mode, select the Menu button until Camera Settings is selected.
  2. Press the Shutter button to highlight the Video icon,then press the shutter again until a Time Lapse icon appears.
  3. Press the Menu button again to highlight the word TL-PH.
  4. Then press the Shutter button to change the mode to TL-NT.
  5. Press the Menu button again to highlight the word CONT, then press the Shutter button to choose the desired Interval (the default will be Continuous).


HERO4:
In Night Lapse mode, if you want to adjust the interval at which the camera initiates photo capture during the Night Lapse sequence, follow these steps (ref. p. 46 of the HERO4 Black User Manual):

  1. First press the Mode/Power button until Multi-Shot is selected.
  2. Press the Settings/Tag button.
  3. Press the Shutter button to change the Mode to Night Lapse (Burst will be the default selection).
  4. Press the Mode/Power button to highlight Interval.
  5. Press the Shutter button to select the desired Interval (the default will be Continuous).

Note: An interval setting of “Continuous” results in the camera immediately capturing another image after the unit takes the previous photo—the interval will be equal to the selected shutter speed.

Night Photo/Night Lapse Tips

  • A stable camera is absolutely necessary for crisp images and Night Lapse sequences. The extended exposure/shutter speeds in both Night modes, allow the camera to capture the minimal light available in the scene. Please be aware that this also means that any movement, of the camera or within the scene, will be much more prevalent in a night photo than when using the standard Photo and Time Lapse modes.
  • Using Mounting Accessories like the 3-Way’s built-in tripod, Tripod Mounts, an Adhesive Mount (applied to a stable location), and/or using The Tool to tighten the Thumbscrew will ensure that the camera remains in position.
  • Use the newly available Protune for photo features to fine-tune your Night Photos and Night Lapse images. Protune allows you to alter the White Balance, Color Profile, ISO Limit, Sharpness and Exposure Compensation. An in-depth look at Protune settings can be found, here.
  • Just as with standard time lapse sequences, Night Lapse involves taking photos over an extended period of time. If the situation allows, take a couple of test photos with the camera in position. You can then review the samples using an LCD Touch BacPac, the Capture App or the HERO4 Silver’s built-in touch display. This method provides an opportunity to make any necessary alterations to the settings, prior to capturing a lengthy Night Lapse sequence.
  • Use our free editing suite; GoPro Studio to compile the sequence, alter the speed of playback, and apply features like color correction and panning.

Image Comparison

Note: All images were taken with a HERO4 Silver mounted to the 3-Way's tripod, and controlled using the Capture App to keep the camera stable.

Shutter Amount of time the image sensor is capturing light.

Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 5500K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Shutter: 30 sec | WB: 5500K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
10 sec | Minimal exposure in the dark foreground; offers more detail in the city lights.30 sec | Illuminates the foreground; loss of detail near light source due to over-exposure.

 

White Balance (WB) Adjusting the overall color tone (warmth of the lighting).

Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 6500K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
A 10 second shutter with a 3000K White Balance setting, giving a cool, blue tone.Note the much warmer hue emitted by the available light.

 

Color Allows you to adjust the color profile.

Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: Flat | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Flat captures more details in shadows & highlights, especially in low-light scenes.GoPro Color enhances contrast and saturation.

 

ISO Limit (Gain) Adjusts the camera’s sensitivity in low-light environments, and creates a balance between brightness and resulting image noise.

Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 400 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
A lower ISO will result in darker footage, but will deliver reduced noise/grain.A higher ISO will result in brighter footage, but you may encounter more noise/grain.

 

Sharpness Alters the acutance (the severity of transitions and boarders) in the image.

Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: Low | EV: 0
Shutter: 10 sec | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: 0
Zoomed in ≈12x | Low; softer boarders.Zoomed in ≈12x | High; more defined transition between pixels (e.g., grass and branches).

 

Exposure Value Compensation (EV) Used for fine-tuning exposure levels.

Shutter: Auto | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: - 2
Shutter: Auto | WB: 3000K | Color: GoPro | ISO: 800 | Sharpness: High | EV: + 2
A very dark scene, further darkened by reducing the exposure compensation.Note the more prevalent glow of the city lights.

 

Additional Resources

  • To learn more about the specific Night Photo & Night Lapse modes, feel free to visit Abe Kislevitz’s blog. Abe is one of GoPro's Senior Production Artists and provides great, in-depth information regarding some of the cameras’ more intricate modes.

night, lapse, nightlapse, nightphoto, photo, night-lapse, night-photo
Was this article helpful? Yes | No
Thanks for your feedback.

Feedback

Please tell us how we can make this article more useful.

Reason:
Comments:
Characters Remaining 255