How to Take Night Photography for City Life

Every city in the world shows a lively character when night falls. The bustling city scape lights and the glowing darkened skies makes up for a very interesting and appealing night photography shots.

However, the scenes with low light conditions and lots of movements are the hardest subjects to photograph; therefore shooting the city at night requires discipline and an understanding in nighttime photography.

Here are some tips to get you started with city photography during the night.

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Night Photography – Camera Set up

First thing to do before setting up your camera is to find a good viewpoint. A platform that shows a clear view of the city scape, with the skyline and the roads visible is a good place to start. Second, a tripod is a must.

night photography

Night photography is impossible to achieve just by holding your camera, you need a steady base to place your camera. Going back to the viewpoint, the ideal place I always look for is somewhere above the ground level, find a stairway or on top of a small building with a balcony or an open space.

This way it will give you a good vantage point to see a wider angle of the city. Once you have set up your camera, you can start shooting with a shutter speed of at least 15 seconds and try to experiment with various images with longer shutter speeds.

Shooting the Photograph

Once you finished with the camera set up and you’re now good to proceed with night photography, first thing you need to do is to study your scene. Is everything you wanted is included already? Are there enough zooming car headlights? Are the buildings illuminated in an interesting pattern? Are there crowd walking on the streets? Once you think the over-all scene possessed interesting subjects that compliments each other, then you can start shooting your photos.

night photography

Even though your camera is already mounted on your tripod it is still advisable to set your camera in self-timer or use a remote trigger as this also avoid unnecessary shake when pressing the camera button by hand.

What Makes a Good Nighttime Photograph?

From my experience shooting cityscapes at night (check Stunning Examples of Cityscape Photography), the presence of streaking car headlights and tail lights, the neon street and building lights plus the nighttime available light all conspires to make a nighttime photograph interesting and arresting to the eyes of the viewers. To capture engaging streaks of car headlights and bumper lights, search for a spot which offers a great view of a street with a busy traffic.

Set your camera to a long shutter opening so you can capture more streaks of light. The trails of light that will appear on your photograph are what make city nighttime photography very interesting. So be sure to also set your ISO setting to its lowest number to ensure a sharp image. The available light plays a large role in creating a good nighttime photography shot.

Sometimes an image appears at its best when set between inky-black skies. Sometimes, a bit of light works perfectly, so images that are taken just before darkness sets in are a must-try.

Night Photography Final Tip

Experiment with the shutter speed (check Ways to Make the Most of Your Camera’s Shutter Speed), sometimes 10 seconds is enough while some instances you will need a minute long exposure to capture the right feel of nighttime scenes.

Always look out for the interesting angle with enough traffic and background lights which balances the presence of light and compliments the dark spots in the frame.

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This is Photographytuts editorial team. provides Photoshop tutorials for photographers, photography basics, Photoshop actions, resources, and photography marketing tips.

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