Architectural Photography #4: Photographing Buildings at Night

Buildings lit up at night make for an especially appealing subject to photograph. In the final article of this series, we look at how to take photographs of buildings at night.

EOS 6D / EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 24mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/40 sec)/ ISO 10000/ WB: Auto
Location: Tokyo Station (Marunouchi Exit), Tokyo

Basics of nightscape photography

Having covered the basic concepts of architectural photography, using wide-angle/telephoto focal lengths, and effective composition techniques in the previous lessons, this lesson looks at the basics of photographing buildings at night.

There are a few things you need to take note of when photographing at night:

– Shutter speed slows when you shoot in dark locations, which makes your images susceptible to camera shake
In dark locations, the shutter speed is slowed down due to the lack of light, so camera shake occurs more easily. To counter that, increase the ISO speed so that you can shoot at a high shutter speed even in low light, and hold your camera steady. These two points are critical when shooting at night.

– Increasing ISO speed tends to increase image noise
If you want to take higher quality images, it is necessary to use a tripod or other means of securing the camera. If using a tripod, camera shake can still occur as a result of the impact of pressing the shutter, so I would recommend setting the self-timer to 2 seconds when taking shots.

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