Photography Questions Answered

How Do I Create Amazing Night Photos?

THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE new photographers make is waiting too late after sunset to take photos. You want sunset light in your photos to compliment your subject, not black skies!

Sunset Photography - Times Square
Times Square Plaza, NYC

If you start shooting too late in the evening after the sun has fully set, you lose much of the color that would add visual excitement to your photo. I would recommend shooting during and just after sunset while there is still some color in the sky. Photographers call it the ‘golden hour.’ It’s really about a half hour of amazing light just after sunset. The post-sunset color in the sky will be a beautiful compliment to the street lighting and details in your photo. If you wait until the sky is fully black you miss all of that amazing color.

Here is a sample of ‘golden hour’ light. I shot this photo (shown above) in Times Square, NYC. The fading post-sunset color in the sky balances the color in the street lighting making for a very colorful photo. If I had waited until the sky became black, this photo would not be as interesting. Shoot the scene you want to record repeatedly at two-minute intervals as the sun is setting and chose the one you like best.

Shoot during the golden hour of sunset to capture your best night photos!

The photo below was also shot in post-sunset light. It is rich in detail because the sky is not black. Moody light just minutes after sunset enhances this scene. Be ready to shoot as the sun sets and you will capture amazing photos!

Night Photography - Times Square, NYC
Times Square Billboard

Frugal Photography Gear: The first photo on this page (Santa Fe, New Mexico) was shot with a Canon 10D and Tokina SD 28-70mm lens (a used Canon 10D can easily be found for under $100 on eBay and the Tokina SD 28-70mm manual lens cost me $10.00). The same gear was also used for the Times Square Billboard photo. The Times Square Plaza photo was shot with a Canon Rebel XS and kit lens. Used Canon Rebel XS kits can be found on eBay for under $200.