Shooting the City at Night by Emily Endean

Being based by the beach, I do like to get out of my comfort zone and head into the city every now and then to shoot some night-time cityscapes. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with some friends and get creative away from the sea.
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Mar 21

For anyone wishing to try shooting at night in the city, first and foremost I’d recommend being able to take full manual control of your camera. There will be many light sources with differing degrees of strength and you will really need to be able to control the amount of light being let into your camera.

Secondly, this can be done handheld but to give you more flexibility take a lightweight tripod with you. I say lightweight, as you definitely wont want to be lugging anything too heavy around the city on foot! I will take my Benro Slim CF tripod with me, which is extremely lightweight and slots on the side of my bag really easily. It’s all about convenience!

As for the settings, I tend to shoot F11, ISO 80 (or as low as your camera will go) and the shutter speed will be dependant on the scene in front of me. I expose for the bright light sources so that nothing is over exposed or blown out, so that can be anything from half a second to 2 or 3 seconds. Hence the need for taking full manual control of your camera! Part of the fun, as with any type of photography is creative licence to do things your way – what do you want to get out of the image?

The night does represent a more challenging time to take pictures but it really allows you such a wide range of creative expression. There are so many colourful light sources and you can play with shutter speeds to create longer exposed images retaining the trails of the moving traffic.

One last thing and something equally as important as all of the above, its always worth doing this type of shoot with friends and the safety element does have to be considered when travelling around a busy city with such expensive gear in your bag. Take a friend and turn it into a fun cityscape night-time adventure!

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