Living in a big city or visiting it for tourism will give you the opportunity to shot it from a peculiar perspective: nighttime! Undoubtedly, landmarks, big architectonic elements, buildings and skyscrapers are perfect subjects to be portrayed, above all when illuminated by the romantic lights of the night.
Their colors and sparkle in fact, create a stunning effect in contrast with the dark background of the night, that totally worth a photo! Though during the night is not easy to obtain a satisfying photo, and the result is almost never the one we imagined.
To solve this problem, or at least try to, here we propose some easy but important nighttime photography tips and suggestions you should take into account while shooting a dark landscape.
By the way, please remember that the majority of the photos you see and admire are usually modified in post production processes in order to obtain the best possible effect.
Beside this, here you are some suggestions to obtain the most from your pictures and to capture impressive landscapes images, like the ones you see in this post, captured by Fulvio Medeot.
First of all consider that the contrast between lights and the dark background could create some over or under exposed points in the photograph. To avoid this, choose the right metering to determine the best exposure related to the exact subject you would like to portray.
Equipment does its part too! Remember to always take a tripod with you as you will have to leave the camera shutter opened for several seconds; if you don’t have a tripod, however, you can find a solid, fixed surface to place your camera on and shoot.
To avoid any shakes and blurring effect, there’s another nice tip you can follow: consider the possibility to use a cable release, or at least the automatic timer of your camera to shoot without any undesired movement.
What is more, in nighttime photography a ND filter could come in handy. Its usage, in fact, can reduce the amount of light entering in the camera, allowing therefore, to extend the exposure times; your photos will gain in shallower depth of field and in sharper lights.
Arrive early at the panoramic position to set up you camera and choose a nice viewpoint. Then check the panorama: is it interesting? What kind of picture would you like to portray? How many opportunities does this viewpoint offer to you?
Bridges are particularly charming when illuminated and thanks to the water that flows under them, you can easily obtain different creative pictures of the same subject, by setting your camera on different modes. Water for example can be portrayed as a mirror, and it can be used to create a reflection of the lights of both bridge and buildings. Otherwise you can obtain a more silky effect of the water by regulating the shutter speed.
Another interesting effect can be obtained by including in the picture the movements of people and objects; they can create light trails that are particularly interesting when associated to a sharp background. But that’s not all, if you want to be even more creative, try to use lights as brushes and paint with them!
Obtaining a satisfying picture during nighttime can be challenging, but don’t worry, like any activity, even in this case practice is one of the keys of the success. As always, our biggest suggestion is to experiment and have fun!