How to photograph cities at night?
Updated: Jan 14, 2020
Get amazing results!
Night photography is an amazingly effective way of taking photos. The facts are that most of us in our private portfolio have the vast majority of photos taken during the day, while the city at night takes on a whole new character. If you live in a small town, you do not have to go to the capital or any big city, just find a bridge, a viaduct with a road running beneath it to capture extremely interesting stuff.
Capture the movement. Night photography in the city
The "secret" is primarily the long exposure time. This is a very effective way of blurring the lights of passing cars or reflecting lighthouses and neon lights in the river. The following photos with EXIF description show what camera settings should be aimed at.
Do not plan a session in the middle of the night
This is not a stiff rule, but usually the most interesting effects of night scenes can be obtained up to an hour after sunset. The sky is not completely dark, it's getting dark blue. I would advise you to check the exact hour of sunset in your city. Of course, photos with completely black sky are not worse, but especially if you are a beginner, try up to about an hour after sunset.
Do not forget about the right equipment
First of all you will need a tripod for night photography. It should be stable, with adjustable angle regarding the position of the camera. I use Manfrotto tripods, which I honestly recommend. Thanks to the tripod you will be able to use really long exposure times and reduce the ISO. I also recommend buying a cable release, this will eliminate the vibrations occurring when manually pressing the shutter. Even if your camera is equipped with a WiFi module and the possibility of remote control, I will tell you from my own experience that a cable release is cheap and irreplaceable. The simplicity of this device makes it a better option, also because it will not run out of power at the worst moment. In addition, you control the settings on the camera, not the app, which makes it easier to get familiar with the equipment.
I always encourage you to take photos in RAW + JPEG format, if you are not satisfied with the JPEG effect, you will have much more room for maneuvers when processing a raw RAW file. Remember to use the lowest ISO, assuming you are using a tripod. You should also not open the aperture up to its maximum, most likely you will get a lot of burns, but by closing the aperture to the value of ex. f/16 you get an interesting effect, as if the light source was a star. Do not forget to turn off the stabilization of the camera body or lens, depending on the type of stabilization your gear is equipped with. Always remember this when using a tripod.
The autumn-winter weather in most of the European countries does not encourage day shots, especially because the pictures do not look very interesting. The night scenery at this time of year in the city is, in my opinion, much more interesting. As always at the end, I encourage you to leave a comment, here or on our FB profile and ask questions.
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