Shooting daytime views of the city is all good, but take those same shots at night and your photos will take on a totally different look. The lights, the moving cars, the stars, all these things combine to make night photos much more dynamic, and at times alive, than daytime ones can be.
One important trick to take stunning night photos is to use HDR. With daytime photos, it’s as simple as taking a few brackets of the same scene and merging them together, but things get a little trickier at night. Here are the top things you should keep in mind while shooting HDR cityscapes at night.
• Shoot Manual Brackets
It’s important to have multiple different brackets for your night HDR photos. That is why you may need to adjust the settings on your camera manually and take various shots rather than relying on the camera’s own bracketing system.
• Focus Manually
At night, all but the very best of cameras will have trouble finding focus on their own especially in low light. For this reason, you should try and focus manually using live view or the EVF of your camera.
• Use a Tripod
It should go without saying that you should use a tripod for night time photos. This will help minimize camera shake in long exposures. You should also invest in a remote shutter release, or use a 2-second delay when taking photos so the camera doesn’t move when you press the shutter.
• Software Matters
HDR photography requires you to merge the various brackets you’ve taken into one cohesive image. This can be done within the body of some cameras, but it helps a great deal if you shoot in RAW and use a software to take care of this. The excellent Aurora HDR is an easy recommendation because of its lower price and vast array of easy-to-use features.
• Don’t Push ISO Too Much
One of the most important things to remember while shooting night HDR photos is to keep your camera’s ISO at a level where noise doesn’t creep into your photos too much. The maximum usable ISO for every camera differs, and you will have to do some test shots to find this out.
• Invest in Equipment
They say that gear doesn’t matter but in some cases, especially in night photography, it does. You need a camera body that can handle high ISO levels with ease, and a lens that has a wide aperture and is sharp as can be. A cheap lens will encounter high levels of lens flare, which becomes very hard to fix in post, so get a lens that is better suited for night photos.
HDR night photography can be very fun and quite rewarding if you do it right. Make sure you read through all these tips and tricks before heading out for your next project, and you can be sure that you’ll end up with some amazing photos.