Essence of Photography: Night Photography

Night time is a great time to photograph the world in fun and unusual ways. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to get better photos at night.

January 25, 2022

Cities at Night

Cities light up in the evening and provide many opportunities for night photography. You can create photos of large cityscapes, individual buildings, or even smaller moments and details on the streets.

A tripod can help you take longer exposures, but it is often possible to use the ambient light from the city to take handheld photos without a tripod.

If you do use a tripod, try setting the aperture to a smaller opening like f/16 or higher. This will make lights look like twinkling stars.



Landscapes and Rural Photos at Night

Nature can be peaceful and strange at night. By the light of the moon or the stars, landscape photography at night is an art form all of its own.

You will likely need a tripod for these type of photos as you may need to create very long exposures from several minutes to hours.



The Blue Hour

The blue hour is a special time just before the sun rises and just after the sun sets. It usually lasts around 30-60 minutes. In the right conditions you can create photos where the sky appears a brilliant blue color.



Painting with Light

If you are comfortable taking long exposures with a tripod, another fun technique you can try is painting with light. The idea is to shine a light like a flashlight or LED bulb in a pattern while you are taking a long exposure. You can repeat the pattern over and over so that it appears as a solid shape in the photo.

If you attach your light to a stiong, you can swing it around in random shapes and patterns for otherworldly effects.



These are a few ideas for night photography. Go out and experiment and see what you can find!




Essence of Photography is a series of tips, tutorials, and visual inspiration on a variety of photography skills and techniques.

You can practice these skills and more by purchasing a deck of Photo Cards from Zoom In Reach Out, a non-profit with a mission of teaching to see the world from a different perspective.

All photos in this article were posted to the Aminus3 Photography Community and are copyrighted by their respective photographers.

Click on any photo to see a larger version or to leave a comment for the photographer.

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TOPICS: essence of photography

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