Photographing Cities at Night
Cities are an excellent subject for photography, especially at night. Though we tend to lose natural light at night, cities more than make up for it with ambient lighting. The ambient lighting tends to serve two primary purposes: first, it acts as a suitable replacement for the lack of natural light and second, it lends its own unique touch to the images a photographer shoots. Nighttime city photography provides you with multiple options such as changes in the tone of lighting, alterations in texture and also a different perspective on subjects that you’re probably used to shooting in the day.
However, there are some guidelines that you need to follow when engaging in nighttime city photography. These guidelines can help you create sharper and higher quality images.
Use a tripod and remote shutter release
Nighttime photography brings with it the need for long exposures due to the lack of natural light. Therefore, you will have to setup your camera with a tripod. Tripods can help you eliminate blurs that occur as a result of shaking or vibrating.
Also, use a remote shutter release to click the images. Since, clicking the camera’s shutter release with your hands can cause shaking or vibration, it is safer to use a remote shutter release to avoid blurring in the photos. Plus, it also gives you the freedom to shoot yourself standing in the subject’s foreground or maybe even the background.
Use the right camera settings
It is also necessary to use the appropriate camera settings for night photography. Ideally, the camera must be set to AV mode with an aperture of f/16. This particular setting, when combined with long exposure, will also help you achieve the ‘starburst’ effect in your pictures. If the ambient lighting around your subject is low, you will need to reduce image noise by setting the ISO at 100 and shooting in RAW format for maximum detail.
Choose the right subject
There are plenty of subjects in the city, especially at nighttime. From bright neon signs to vehicle filled flyovers, there is never a lack for subjects on a typical night in the city. Try to look for a subject that is unique or extraordinary. For instance, cities at night, after a downpour, tend to have a gleaming effect created by the reflection of light in the water. Or you could even try night portraits by placing your human subjects against a typical city backdrop such as a quiet street or a building.