- Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
- Digital Photography: Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure
- Bryan Peterson's Exposure Solutions: The Most Common Photography Problems and How to Solve Them
If you're in an interesting location that looks good during the day, stick around to see how it is lit at night. I'm talking of course about urban areas that can provide you with spots for taking awesome cityscapes.
Before starting your nighttime shooting session, take a walk during the day and find the best spots that will give you great composition. Pick one and get there before sunset, while there is still some daylight left. The reason for that is that you're going to need to get everything in focus, while the camera can still ""see". Once you do that, switch focusing to manual to lock it and don't touch the ring.
A tripod is absolutely necessary because you're going to be taking long exposures. After you get settled, it's pretty much a waiting game until the light goes down and the city lights get turned on. As soon as that happens, start experimenting with exposure settings. Try to keep the ISO at its lowest value. Have the aperture closed all the way down to f/8-f/11 and adjust shutter speed according to your needs. In some cases, when the light is really absent or you want to get a glass-like effect of a river, an exposure of over thirty seconds could be necessary. In that case, you're going to need to put the camera on bulb (B) mode. Basically, this exposure mode works by pressing the shutter release to open the shutter, and pressing it again to close it. A remote trigger is obviously proffered because you'll want to make sure there is no camera movement or vibration.
Leave the white balance on auto because you can tweak it later in post processing.
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This is just a crash course in nighttime photography. For more info, check out this video made by Adorama TV with photographer Doug McKinlay shooting a nighttime cityscape in beautiful London.
Learn more about exposure from these recommended books: