7 Tips to do AMAZING Fine Art NIGHT Photography


– Bonjour mesdames and messieur. In this episode I wanna
give you my seven best tips to take amazing night photography. Last week I was in Dubai
and I was looking for an amazing location where I
could shoot the whole city from very high. And that’s my tips number one is, find a great vantage point where you can see the entire city, but the city has leading lights, the city has like interesting building, you don’t wanna be too high,
you don’t wanna be too low. So we found this place in Dubai called the Shangri-La hotel, we went there and it was 250 dirham which is about $60 to go
and shoot from their view, but it’s the most iconic view of Dubai so I paid the money and the
good thing is that if you pay you can shoot there with a tripod. Now, I’m gonna show you also
how you can do it without a tripod, but tip number
one is find a high vantage location that has a good
composition where tripods are allowed if you can do that. That’s my tip number one. Don’t hesitate to go wide. I shot this with my 12 24
lens, it’s my widest lens. I really wanted to show
a huge vista of the city and I find wherever I am around the world it’s always good to have a very wide lens. So that’s tip number two. So, we went up there, but
we got there it was a little too early, so you know, you
wanna shoot the city at night at a very specific time. Golden hour’s usually is
not a good time to shoot the vast cities because you wanna shoot when the lights come on. There’s a very, very specific moment where you wanna do that,
so while I was waiting I was just you now taking photos, I took this shot of the
Burj Khalifa with you know, just one person as a foreground element. It’s an amazing, breathtaking view. I had a little bit of fear of heights because I really have big fear of heights, the thing is to get a good composition, I had to get all my tripod
outside, in front of the protection that there was
and my wife kind of helped me because I’m really scared of heights and it’s a very, very high view. Tip number three, let’s say
that you cannot use a tripod. So if you don’t have a
tripod, here is the trick. You can put your camera on
self-timer at two second. You take your aperture,
you open it completely, the most that your camera can handle, mine was F4, and most
camera is gonna be F4, then you go roughly at 2000
ISO and then you hold on tight with the strap around your head, you know with your arms really firm, you press, you hold on your
breath and you take a shot. Now this is a shot that I
got this way, check this out. So, this was shot at one
fortieths of a second, F4 ISO 2000. Let’s retouch it really quickly. So I’m gonna open up the shadows. And I’m gonna do my wipe
on holding the option key. Now, when you hold on the option key and you retouching night
photos, you can go usually, you know I go here, at the
threshold where I don’t want too much light to be. But when it comes to night photo you can, you could go further, you could have all this little white dot. The white dot means the
pixel at 100% white. There’s no more information. And then I’m gonna do my black point, I’m gonna hold on the
option key and then move my black point, so you
want a bit of black, okay, it’s still very
dark, so I’m gonna boost the exposure, now this
is shot by hand guys. This is a photo shot by
hand, it looks really decent. I’m gonna boost the
texture, boost the clarity, and I’m gonna change the
white balance I think, I’m just add a bit of magenta, because that’s what I do for
a living is I add magenta. And voila, now let’s zoom in. It looks really cool, well
let’s, let’s maybe make it a little more straight, so I’m gonna, and about chromatic aberration
and all about profile correction and maybe go
to the upright section and click on Auto. Okay. Now, that’s pretty good. I find it’s a little too
bright so I’m gonna make it darker, and check this out. I’m gonna zoom in, so
again this was 2000 ISO, so it’s pretty noisy, but we can, you know we can go in
there and we can reduce the noise, usually when
it’s noisy like this, I go like around 30 on noise reduction and then I go sharpening around 70. So, noise reduction 30,
sharpening 70 equals 100, roughly. And then I do my masking,
masking around 50. Okay? This way, masking
basically, let me show you. If you hold on the option key, you can see what’s going on here. Anything which is black is
not not gonna get sharpened. You don’t wanna sharpen the sky, especially when there’s so much noise, so I’m actually gonna go all
the way to 87 on the masking. Okay, so I’m just sharpening
only the buildings, and I’m gonna boost the
color of noise also, and maybe just go a little
further on this one, like 40. But try not to go over 40
because you’re gonna lose a lot. So I might go back and add
even more texture on this one. But it’s pretty decent, look at this. This is shot by hand, look
at the details that I have, and the noise even makes
like a little bit of a grain. So that’s pretty good, I think I wanna add a
little more contrast. Yeah, and then a little more brightness. Oh, one thing that’s important, don’t forget to like this video. I makes really a big difference for me, if you can just take a
second and like the video. So tip number four,
tip number four is work with long exposure, five to 10 second. The final photo I ended up shooting at, lets see here, six second, ISO 100 F11 at 50 millimeter wide. But I still have the self timer on, because you don’t wanna touch
the tripod when you take the shot, okay? Now, listen to this. Tip number five is try
to put your aperture at F11 or above. Why? Because it’s gonna give you
a little starlight effect, let me show you. Let’s first retouch, the
final, the good photo, the 100 ISO photo. Oh, by the way, if you
want to learn Lightroom or Photoshop check out the links below. I have free course on
Lightroom and a free course on Photoshop you can get,
it’s completely free. So same idea. You know what I can do? I can just go here, I can
press Command + Shift + C and copy what I did on the 2000 ISO photo, go to the 100 ISO photo,
and press Command + V and most of the retouching has been done. Okay, and except, I don’t
wanna bring back the noise reduction all the way down to 10 and I’m gonna move my sharpening
all the way down to 90. I don’t wanna blur the photo too much, but the rest seems to be pretty spot on. Maybe a little more contrast. So now we’re gonna compare
the quality of the 2000 ISO with the 100 ISO. So I’m gonna select both,
press C to go into the compare mode into Lightroom, Shift
+ Tab, so let’s see here. The one that’s a 100 ISO is
the on that had three stars. So I’m gonna zoom in and you can see here, so that’s the 100 ISO,
and that’s the 2000 ISO. I mean you can see
there’s clearly more noise on the 2000 ISO, but
it’s still very decent. Now I told you that tip
number five was to shoot at F11 or above and here’s why. It’s a small thing, but if you
look at the city light here, you get a nice starlight
effect on these lights here that you don’t get at a four. You just don’t get these
little spikes of light. On this one there was so many small lights that you can’t really tell, but it’s a good really rule in general, if you’ve got like nice
lamps in Paris or something, got at F13, F14 and whatever
long exposure is gonna make it right, you know? Because you’re gonna get this
nice little starlight effect which I really like. Tip number six, shoot in
the magic 50 minutes window. What is that? Well, you now wherever
you are in the world, after sunset there is a
moment called the blue hour on in French we say the
(speaks foreign language) which is when the sun
is behind the horizon, all the city lights are on,
but you still have details in the sky. And that’s when you get
the best shots, I find. After it gets too contrasty and too muddy. Let me show you for example
this is a photo I shot from a room that I rented. But do you see here? I shot I too late, it was like
at the middle of the night, this is the Burj Khalifa,
and there’s so much contrast, this photo is nice, but
would have been a lot nicer in this 50 minutes window. So that is right after sunset,
all the city lights are on, but there are still details in the sky, it’s not black like this. And last but not least you’ve
gotta play with light streaks. I, the reason why, I put the
tripod outside is I wanted to get all these light
streaks here of the city and that’s the problem also
by the way with the 2000 ISO. Check this out. If I compare again, you can
see, this is the light streaks here at six second of exposure
and that’s my look at 2000. At 2000 you can see all the
cars, it’s not really nice, the light streak I find is much nicer. So that’s another reason why
you should shoot at 100 ISO with long exposure on the tripod. Oh, also a few days
ago I did another video where I showed you how I shot photos of the
desert from a air balloon. Check it out.

24 Replies to “7 Tips to do AMAZING Fine Art NIGHT Photography

  1. I do quite a bit of cityscapes and use all of these techniques. This location is incredible ! If you google the Shangri-la hotel in Dubai look at the photos…there is one there by the pool that is incredible. There must be a ton of places to shoot there. Also the Shang in London has epic views worth googling. Also in France they have an incredible view of the tower. Most of their hotels are epic views and I book there when I can. @sonymagician

  2. Hi Serg, great shots, I haven't been on the roof of the Shangri-La in Dubai, but it's on my list. I did shoot Dubai from the roof of the Cyan Tower, 73 floors up, and hanging over a rail. I suffer from vertigo, but had to get the shot 🙂

  3. Great tips, night photos are usually tough to nail. The 100 ISO tip is invaluable, providing you have a tripod. BTW, the starlight effect is the result of light diffraction.

  4. super tuto ! very good idea to compare the shooting and retouching of two pictures taken with and without tripod. camera settings very useful as a good starting point !

  5. Serge, I really enjoy your videos and hearing your talk. I would love to see you in a Hair Balloon😎. Keep up the great work and I will keep watching and as always give you a thumbs up.

  6. Serge, do you think you could write out the name of the hotel to shoot from for $60 bucks. Wasn't able to catch the name in the video >>> Merci !!

  7. Great tips. Many of them I discovered on my own through trial and error. But you still managed to teach me a few new things, like stopping the lens down to get the star pattern from the lights. I've always wondered why some of my night photos have the stars and others don't.

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