Street Photography Shooting at Night

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Because of their compact size, pocket digicams are excellent street-shooters, enabling you to capture the grit and the glory of urban life at night? that is, if you know how.

When you sit back and look at your travel shots, do you ever feel like you're shooting the same thing over and over, and only the locations change (same boring group shots, blurry bus scenes through the window, and yet another statue)? One of the best ways to inject life into your photography is to grab your camera and hit the streets...on foot.

Now, I'm not talking about raw photojournalism or anything dangerous. Every major city in the civilized world has a good part of town and a bad one. Lace up your sneakers and go to the friendly part of town.

My favorite time to shoot on the streets is from about an hour before twilight until darkness.
Generally speaking, there's lots of activity at this time, and the building lights come on when there is still some color left in the sky. It's a magical setting that's perfect for night photography.

But if you want to capture that magic, you have to turn off your flash. This is rule number one for interesting street photography. Not only does the flash draw way too much attention to your shooting, but it also kills the shots. The possible exception is using Nighttime Flash mode, but for most of your street shooting, leave the flash off.

The best time for "night" photography is actually twilight. Most city lights come on before complete darkness. Your shots will be much more colorful and compelling with the deep blue twilight sky rather than the blackness of night, as shown in the two pictures of the Chrysler Building. The first picture was shot late at night, when the sky was completely dark. I went back the next day at dusk and captured the second shot with more color in the sky. Which do you like best?

As the light goes down, however, your exposures will get longer, which means you have to look out for camera shake. Here are a few ways to combat shake so you get crisp images, even in low light:

•Increase your ISO setting from 100 to 200

You can go up to 400 if you need to, but you will have more noise in your shots at the higher rating. Often, this isn't a big problem for street shooting, because the gritty look seems to work with this type of subject material. Generally speaking, though, don't increase your ISO setting any more than you have to.

Source: O’Reiley | Portfolio Website for Photographers

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