Taking photos of cityscapes at night can be a great way to capture the beauty of a city as well as play with the intricate nature of night photography. There is a lot to talk about, so much in fact we published an entire eBook on Night Photography, but here are just a few important tips to keep in mind when you’re capturing those glittering city moments.
As with all photography, picking the best time for lighting is your most important step for ensuring great shots. Most photographers recommend twilight for the after-sunset/ before full dark sweet spot. Make sure you pick a spot with lots of twinkling city lights. Setting up your equipment before the sun sets and experimenting within that time frame will ensure you get the best shot.
2. Setting Up
Setting up your shot is not just about the right time of the day. Using a tripod or other steadying devices is the best way to get great shots without the inevitable movement blur when hand-shooting. You also want to set your camera settings for the kind of shot you are hoping to take. Long exposures can yield striking effects when photographing twinkling city lights, so try a slower shutter speed to play around with that effect. Consider using an ND filter.
3. Timers & Remote Release
The first rule of photography is to try, try, try again. Use a timer or a remote release to keep your camera steady, and take as many shots as possible within your ideal lighting window to yield the highest possibility that one of those shots is near perfect.
4. Try a Panorama
Taking panorama shots are a great way to capture a large portion of the cityscape in one shot. Pick a location with a wide scenic view and play around with your camera options, as well as photo combination options in order to achieve your best effect. Here’s a tutorial on making panoramas in PaintShop Pro for those of us without built in panorama modes.
5. Editing and Touch-ups
After your carefully planned and executed shoot is done, it’s time to wade through your photos to choose the best ones. If you are finding some of your shots too dark, try lightening them using the tips in this tutorial on lightening night photos. Small, subtle adjustments can have a dramatic affect on your photographs so play around with them in an editing suite such as PaintShop Pro or AfterShot Pro. Always make sure to save your original photo separately however!
Are you ready to try your hand at night photography in the city? If you need more information and advice, watch a Night Photography tutorial for useful tips on capturing the best night shots, no matter the location. If you want to try something even more advanced, give this tutorial on Night HDR photos a try for truly stunning images. Happy shooting!