How to Take a Photo of a Night City


Megacities look especially attractive at night so it’s not surprising that photographers want to capture them. However, even such a simple photo can bring a lot of troubles. Here are some tips on how to correctly convey the beauty of the city in the light of the moon and stars through the picture.

Photos during sunrise and sunset

At this time, the city looks no less beautiful than at night. Warm light illuminates the buildings and fills the image with a special atmosphere. The first 10 minutes before sunrise or immediately after sunset can also be useful for the photographer. Due to the fact that the sun is low but not completely hidden beyond the horizon, the sky becomes deep blue. Artificial light, from car headlights, street lamps, etc., looks bright and stands out at this period.

Most likely you will need a few evenings to take a photo at this time since on the first day you are unlikely to pick the ideal camera characteristic. After all, the main thing in working with natural light is to find suitable conditions that it is not always possible to do on time.

Preparing for night shooting

Even though you have a whole night to take a beautiful picture, it’s recommended to start preparing in the afternoon or even in the morning. Take a walk around the city and find attractive places you want to capture. Take test shots from different angles to choose the best. Also, consider the possible problems that may arise, for example, if your place of shooting is an attraction that is especially relevant at night, a large number of people can interfere with you.


Camera settings

Put the camera in manual mode and select the lowest standard ISO value (usually, it’s ISO 100). Next, adjust the aperture depending on the scenario and what effect you are trying to achieve. When photographing at night, the shutter speed is always a variable that depends on the amount of light in the scene. When ISO and aperture are low, you may need a shutter speed of more than 30 seconds to capture all the details of the night city.

Using a tripod with this characteristic is very important. Any slight shift will affect the image and ruin it.


Shooting through glass

The desire to photograph the city nightlife comes to us often when we are on the upper floors of high-rise buildings. Unfortunately, as soon as we take out a camera, we face the problem of a few inches of glass. This can be a real challenge for long exposure. Dirty or scratched glass, especially on the outside, will affect the final image. You will have to remove all the flaws during photo editing, which will take a lot of time.

Another problem is the reflections caused by internal lighting. Therefore, you must choose the cleanest part of the glass and keep the camera straight and close to it but without touching. If you are in a hotel room and can turn off the lights, do it or cover the light source with something. Use a lens hood as it can also be attached to the window using suction cups.


Ideas for a photo of the city at night

Slow shutter speed shooting in the rain is definitely a challenge for photographers of any level. However, gloomy sky or wet sidewalks add drama, so it’s worth a try. The main thing is to protect the lens from rain during the entire exposure time. Then you’ll get really emotional pics.

Shooting a road at night can give you some interesting shots. When shooting in Bulb mode, open the shutter before the light source enters the frame and close it as soon as it completely leaves the frame after reaching the correct exposure. So, you capture the movement of light from car headlights.

Bokeh style shots can look very beautiful with the lights of a night city. Bring the scene out of focus so that the lights take on a circular bokeh look and make a composition.

Sometimes people in the frame can be not superfluous objects, but important characters. You can create stunning pictures that are more dynamic or interesting than a photograph without people.



Additional editing is never superfluous. You can increase the contrast of the picture and make the lights of the lanterns even brighter or make the photo lighter if the night picture looks too dark. Also, add other effects such as a vignette if you want to focus on what is in the center.

If you have people in the frame especially close-up, editing may be complicated by additional troubles. Working with human skin is not just adding effects, it requires special skills. Basically, it’s about working with layers, but the difficulty is not to make the model’s face look plastic.

If you don’t want to complicate your life, it’s better to use edit selfie online services. RetouchMe is a simple photo editor that is popular among photographers of any level. You upload a photo, choose what you would like to change and get the perfect result in a few moments. In addition, Retouchme is suitable not only for selfie edit but also for full-fledged work on the picture as it has many built-in functions.

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How to Take a Photo of a Night City
Megacities look especially attractive at night so it’s not surprising that photographers want to capture them.

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