How to Shoot Better Photos in Cities at Night (And Some Street Tips)

Cities are some of the best places to shoot photos at night, and here’s an infographic giving you a few tips you’ve never heard.

I think that every photographer somehow or another loves to photograph cities at night. They become magical places that suddenly come alive and have specific lighting set so carefully. And they’re gorgeous. The contrast that city lights create draws people in from all across the world. Take Times Square: though it is the bane of every NYer’s existence, people stand and stare in wonder at all that’s around them. One could say the same about many a Rambla in Barcelona. Walk though the streets of Bangkok at night and you’ll see the city come alive like no other.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post by Samyang. All images were shot using the Samyang 75mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8, and the 18mm f2.8. 

First off, the great thing about shooting better photos at night in cities is that you don’t need the greatest gear you can get your hands on. Luckily, Samyang has a number of affordable, small primes. This is great, especially if you’re a Sony FE shooter. With the Samyang 45mm f1.8, 75mm f1.8 and the 18mm f2.8 you can get beautiful images. Best of all, none of these lenses are over $400. With a camera like the popular Sony a7 III, you’ll get images that you’re bound to really love. The photos will be sharp, crisp and contrasty. Samyang also has a characteristic color to their lenses that really presents vivid photos.

Best of all, if you combine these lenses with the image stabilization within the cameras, you’ll get blur free shots every time. When walking around cities, we strongly recommend that you photograph the architecture. Most cities are going through gentrification, and so it makes for beautiful scenes. It also makes for great contrasts within the scenes themselves. Presenting the new with the old is a fun way to show off how the city is changing. Luckily, these lenses also use many of the latest Sony autofocus algorithms. But you can update them via a Samyang dock too! This will help keep the autofocus blazing fast and accurate at night.

One of our favorite things to do at night is to photograph contrast. Luckily, contrast is all around you. Not only is it present in the light and dark, but also in the colors. To get even more out of this, we suggest trying a fixed white balance. Most photographers shoot in auto. But why not try shooting locked at Daylight or Tungsten? Tungsten will give you a very cinematic look, while daylight will create an image filled with warmth.

With a variety of small focal lengths on you too, you can do so many different things. The 45mm lens is right between 35mm and 50mm. So its versatility is valued. A 75mm lens is a bit wider than an 85mm, so use it with a full frame camera to capture candid moments. The 18mm is best for getting up close and personal or far away and all-encompassing. And with an f2.8 aperture, you’ll be able to soak up lots of light when you raise the ISO to 3200 or 6400.

We recommend that you give these lenses a shot if you’re looking for something much different!