Most photographers tend to avoid night photography, unlike me who loves shooting long exposure nightscapes. I find myself thinking a bit more about the desired end image. Since it's a long exposure and the shutter is open sometimes for minutes, you have more to consider.
Historically, there were good reasons for this. Night photography was hard. You couldn’t see what you were doing because there were no LCD screens on camera. Every mistake cost you money in the form of film and processing. Even when digital cameras came on the scene, the low light performance in most cameras was so atrocious that it made it difficult to shoot at night.
But now, times have changed. Obviously, with digital, you can see exactly what you are doing and take as many test shots as you like. Cameras – and the low light performance of cameras in particular – have improved drastically in the last three to five years. Post-processing tools have come a long way as well, so now you can enhance your night photos a great deal.
1. Otherwise mundane places are dramatic at night
Photographing at night can help make your photos stand out from the crowd. Let’s be clear, though, just taking any old photo at night won’t get you there. But you’ll be surprised at how many locations that appear rather mundane or drab during the day can be made to look incredibly dramatic at night.
For tips on shooting architectural photography, check out my post 10 Helpful Tips for Striking Architectural Photography.
2. You can achieve amazing effects that are impossible during the day
Light trails, starburst effect, motion blur . . . these are all easy at night. The long shutter speeds that are often required for proper exposure in night photography can lead to really cool effects. In addition, at night you can work with lights that just aren’t on during the day.
3. The light never changes
It can be really frustrating to spend all your time waiting for fleeting moments of light that may or may not ever arrive. Have you ever considered what percentage of a typical day is actually good light for landscape photography or exterior architectural photography? It is a tiny window! Furthermore, how many times have you awaited a sunset and aftermath that didn’t even pan out? With night photography, on the other hand, you aren’t waiting around for the light. Once the sun is fully set, the light never changes. It is just always dark.
4. It is not so weather dependent
Night photography is also not as dependent on the weather. For example, at night, whether it is clear or cloudy, any sky in your picture will likely be black or very dark. You aren’t looking for particular cloud formations. I DISAGREE! I always try to find interesting clouds, or the opposite...a cloudless sky showing the stars and maybe the moonlight if it's striking the subject right. Without the clouds in Naptown Tracks below, it would be another shot of railroad tracks leading somewhere and not as dramatic.
5. Night photography fits your life
You know how you want to get out and do more photography but life keeps getting in the way? You cannot get out during the week because you have to work. On weekends you seem to be tied up with family commitments and errands. It seems like there is never a good time to get out and do some photography. Most people find, however, that it is easier to get out and do photography at night than during the day.
For tips on how to shoot interior architecture, view my post Interior Real Estate Photography: 5 Tips for Better Results