In The Dark: 10 Tips For Street Night Photography

Much is spoken about photographing during the twilight hour, but what about after that?

Night is my favorite time for street photography. Cityscapes are lit with a myriad of interesting and colorful light sources, such as lampposts, neon signs, store windows, car lights, and bare bulbs. People dress in their favorite outfits to go out. Bland scenes by day can suddenly turn ominous and fascinating at night.

Here are 10 tips for night photography to get you thinking about starting your next street photography session at twilight, rather than ending it.

Ideal camera settings for sharpness at night

To freeze motion during the day, I prefer to use a shutter speed of 1/320th, with 1/160th as my lower threshold.

At night, this changes. In the brightest areas, you will be able to photograph at 1/250th, but most of the time it will be best to use a shutter speed somewhere between 1/160th and 1/60th. You need to have: steady hands; a wide-angle focal length; and to stop your own motion completely to be able to photograph handheld at speeds around 1/60th, but with some practice it can be done.
1/125th at f/2.5, ISO 6400

A wide-angle lens is necessary for this type of photography because the longer the focal length, the faster the shutter speed needed to keep an image sharp. With a 28mm or 35mm lens (up to 50mm) it becomes much easier to handhold the camera at slower shutter speeds.

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