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How to Photograph Hot Air Balloons at Night

It is the obvious thing that hot air balloons are the most photogenic thing in the matter of light; it doesn’t matter; they are blown up or not.

The best time to do photography of hot air balloons is when the sun has set. The hot air balloon festival is the best place to take pictures of hot air balloons.

So it is worth taking the camera and tripod along to take pictures.

However, night glows are the time to take beautiful pictures and test your skills, when the tone and some colors are present in the sky.

Our recommendation is not to waste time here and make sure your camera position is ready to take pictures.

But the question is how to photograph hot air balloons at night? Most people don’t know about it.

If you are one of them then don’t worry, this article, we will tell you about how to photograph hot air balloons, so read the complete article.

How to Photograph Hot Air Balloons at Night

How do you take good pictures in a hot air balloon?

All the tips for hot air balloons photography given below.

Gear Suggestions:

If you have a DSLR with standard, wide, and telephoto zooms, it will be enough to photograph hot air balloons.

But the main thing that you need is a remote release and tripod.

If you don’t want to use a remote release, you can use the self-timer, but this takes time to shots.

The other thing you can use is the small head torch you can take from the outdoor shops or camping, and it would be ideal for you.

This thing will help you to check the settings of your camera.

Arrive Early:

You have to arrive early at the time when the balloon is set up for starting.

This thing will provide you the opportunity to view all the balloons, and you can select one or two that are very attractive to take pics of hot air balloons.

Limit Your Photography:

You have to limit your photography to a small number of balloons and always follow them with the help of the flight process.

Our recommendation is to select yellow or orange color balloons because these colors are visible in the sky and look fantastic.

I recommend you to select the yellow color or orange color balloon because as these colors complement blue skies, and look best during the balloon glow event.

  Simple Tips for Awesome Event Photos
hot air balloons photography


We all know that taking hot air balloon photos is very different from shooting landscapes.

When launching and landing balloons, things happen quickly, so you have to operate your camera and be ready to adjust it very quickly.

At this time, mobility is essential, so forget all your landscape skills like mirror lockup, manual focus, and shooting manuals because they won’t help you.

Shutter Speeds:

The obvious thing that low light is present then slower shutter speeds and needs a tripod, but the thing you remember is that the inflated balloons will move slowly.

So in this situation, you don’t need to drop shutter speed deficient.

However, for the sharp pictures of balloons, the ISO of 400 or 800 is speedy.

The other option you have is to drop the ISO to the lowest settings of cameras.

You can use the longest shutter speeds for the deliberate blur along with closing the lens to its smallest f/stop.

This thing will give you creative and fascinating results.


If you are going to increase the ISO setting, then it might be possible that you use the noise reduction system.

However, too many DSLRs present in the market come with the ISO and long exposure noise reduction.

You have the opportunity to use both, or you can use one of them.

It depends on two different things; the first one is the effective noise reduction system of your camera is, and the second is how bad noise levels are on your camera.

All things depend on the type of noise; it might be possible to look horrible or look very filmy.

So it is the best thing for you that did a test before taking the hot air balloon photo.

When To Shoot:

When the burners are on, this is the best time to take a hot air balloon photo.

It might be possible that the bright light can cause underexposure, so you have to check your exposures, or you can use the exposure lock if you want to keep some details.

Other than this, if your DSLR has the auto-exposure option, then you can set it to get the best result.

The last tip is don’t shoot only balloons; you have to shoot parts of people and balloons to keep things very balanced and composed. 

Other than this, if you have the best camera and can record video, shoot some videos.


I hope you completely understand the process of how to photograph hot air balloons at night. If you have any questions related to this, you can ask us in the comment section.

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Jason Baxter

Jason is a professional photographer based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Loyd has been doing photography for over 14 years and specializes in fine art landscape photography. Loyd's work has appeared on book covers, CD covers, television, internet galleries, and on the walls of private residences.