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Night is my favorite time to do street photography at night. Cityscapes are illuminated with a myriad of interesting and colorful light sources, such as street lamps, neon signs, shop windows, car lights and outdoor bulbs. People wear their favorite clothes. The milder scenes, if taken during the day, can suddenly turn into disturbing or fascinating scenes at night.
Here are 10 tips for doing street photography at night, which might make you decide to start your next photography session at dusk, rather than ending it.
Before starting, however, I recommend you take a look at our guide to street photography, an article in which we have gathered all our experience, from the equipment to buy to the best techniques for an impactful street photography.
To block movement during the day, I prefer to use a shutter speed of 1 / 320s, with 1 / 160s as the maximum allowed lower threshold.
At night, this changes. In brighter areas, you will be able to photograph at 1 / 250s, but more often than not it will be better to use a shutter speed halfway between 1 / 160s and 1 / 60s. To do this, you need to have: steady hands, a wide angle focal length and be able to stand completely still for freehand photography with a speed of about 1 / 60s. With a little practice it can be done.
A wide angle is strictly necessary for this type of photography, because the greater the focal length, With a 28mm or 35mm lens (up to 50mm) it becomes much easier to photograph handheld with slower shutter speeds.
It will also help to use a fixed focal length lens, such as a 35mm f / 2 lens. You can shoot at f / 4 in brighter areas, but being able to shoot at f / 2.8, f / 2, or even f / 1.8 greatly increases your opportunities.
You can’t expect to take good photos if you don’t know your photographic medium well.
Mainly the camera body , but also the lenses and other accessories, including the external flashes , have various controls and functions which cannot be overlooked. The reading of the manual therefore assumes an undisputed importance, in order to make the most of the potential of the equipment .
The next step is to apply what has been learned, in order to become familiar with the vehicle and avoid being unprepared once you are ” on the field “.
Having a good familiarity with the controls and their arrangement allows you to speed upthe setup phase of the camera and allows you to be ready to shoot in less time .
Before leaving for a photographic excursion, it is highly recommended to check the equipment .
First check the battery charge (better to have more than one, for obvious reasons), check that the memory cards are empty and formatted (in order to have the maximum storage capacity available) and turn on the camera to verify that everything works smoothly.
Restore any “changed” settings (during the last use) to the parameters that you consider your defaults.
For example, check the ISO sensitivity, which focus points are active, the white balance setting, the shooting mode (single or continuous), the storage format (JPEG or RAW), etc.
Finally insert in your camera bag only the equipment you really need , avoiding to carry unnecessary weights with you.
A good subject is the basis for a good photograph. Instead, avoid themes that are too obvious or of doubtful taste.
In particular, in landscape photography, I suggest you think as follows: a landscape is generally composed of some key elements , that is, those “details” that characterize it and distinguish it from other environments.
After locating and analyzing these elements you can:
– “assign” to them the same importance , distributing them equally in the image, then composing the whole scene;
– enhance some of them in order to direct the observer’s attention towards what you intend to make stand out.
As for other photographic typologies, such as the naturalistic one , given the general lack of secondary elements as all attention converges in principle towards the subject, the approach necessarily becomes different: capturing the subject in action, while hunting, running , fly, etc. enhances your shot compared to a classic static shot.
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