How To Take Fantastic Night CityScapes

Taking cityscape pictures, no matter how professional or unprofessional you are, or whatever camera, tripod, memory card, lens, skill set or whatever the case may be, is and always has been a difficult thing to do. With this having been said, I would like to share with you some of the most helpful and uplifting tips on shooting, blending, and editing cityscape pictures.

1. Shoot In AP Mode (Aperture Priority)
Maximizing the usefulness of this set is essential. The two modes that any photographer can make use of is, for lack of a better and more advanced term, Manual Mode and Automatic Mode. While we are in manual mode, we can control every single aspect of the camera while simply being in its ‘operating system,’ or HUD. From there, we can change the shutter speed of the camera while using the many physical buttons, knobs, sliders, zoomers, and switches that are located directly on the lens itself. This mode is if we want to go manual.

When we are using Auto Mode, it tends to darken everything else imaginable, and then just crank the ISO levels through the roof. This will lead to increased blurriness as well as noise in the photographs. Because of this, we recommend using Manual Mode.

2. Bracket Exposures
Because there are so much natural and artificial points of light coming from cityscapes, it is necessary for you to properly adjust your ISO to overcome the overwhelming as well as the underwhelming points of contrast and exposure.

It seems, as of now at least, that they only way for you to professionally, cleanly, and efficiently overcome this annoying obstacle is to perform what is known as a ‘bracket’ exposure. It means that you take multiple pictures at the same location, very quickly, in entirely different ISO and shadow-focus modes.

One picture can be overexposed to give light to the dark areas, and one can be underexposed and focused solely on the buildings to create the ‘hazy sharpness’ that you see with night-time cityscape shots. Of course, you can take any number of these shots that you want, but the less, the better. You then go into some editing program, light Lightroom or Photoshop (both are professional picture editing services kindly provided by Adobe) and stitch them together using luminosity masks.

3. Manual Focus
Having your camera manually focused is a must. The speed in which modern lenses shoot is sometimes incomparable to the sharpness generated by manual lenses. This failure is because the computer chip and light sensor(s) inside of modern cameras can, unfortunately, misjudge the focus. This leads to a misguided ‘focus,’ while the automatic setting of the camera ‘thinks’ that is in focus, it is not. This one reason alone shows us is why shooting in manual is such an important thing for you to do, not only when it comes to cityscapes, but in all ‘walks’ of photography.

We hope that you have enjoyed this brief article on how to take fantastic cityscapes, and good luck!