Night Photography in London

Night Photography in London at low tide

With the long winter nights and the shorter days at this time of year I've been running a lot of low light and night photography workshops lately. Most of these take place around some of London's iconic and extremely photogenic riverside locations but I also like to venture further in towards the City or the West End, depending on people's preferences. I often bring a small camera and tripod along myself as I find it hard to resist the urge to shoot these locations again myself. The river is always a big draw for me as I love the way the city lights reflect on the water with the super slow exposures that I use at night, both at high and low tide, but especially when the tide is low.

There are a few key points to consider when shooting in low light but once these are understood and you're familiar with the concepts, there's no reason not to feel confident in going out at night with a camera and a tripod. What I do find though is that when shooting at night, each shot takes a lot longer to complete, as shutter speeds are generally much slower, in-camera processing also takes a lot longer and often several shots of the same subject matter are necessary to judge the results and decide on which elements work best (tip: buses and high sided vehicles work better than cars for low angle light trail shots!). I like to play around with light trails and create light orbs too. The spinning balls of sparking fire are a lot of fun, achieved by a simple trick involving steel wool and a kitchen whisk!

This galley was all shot as .jpegs on my Canon G16. The quality isn't bad at all with its 12MP CMOS sensor. The beauty of this little camera for night photography for me is the built in ND filter and the extended range of pre-set shutter speeds beyond 30", something I've yet to find on any full frame DSLR! The dynamic range can be difficult for any camera to capture accurately at night so some degree of post processing is almost always required. I'm not generally a fan of HDR images but when the ambient light conditions are so high, a lot of night scenes in London are HDR by default, so I don't mind bringing that out a bit in post processing.

The night and low light photography workshops that I run are informal and fun. Nobody knows it all and photography is a continual  learning process but my aim is always to ensure that everyone develops their understanding of photography that little bit further. 

If you want to join in one of these night workshops and learn more about the tricks and some tips on low light photography, please just get in touch or check back here regularly to see when the next workshops are scheduled.