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Night Photography - A Different Perspective

Updated: May 20, 2020

My son playing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Washington Monument

Yes, we all know most photographers chase after 'golden hour', but when it comes to monuments or statues just hear me out.

As I aimlessly scrolled through Pinterest scouting locations and fun things to do while in Washington, DC, I came across some eye catching photos of must see sights, but at night. That instantly caught my attention since Justice, of course, had to work on sight from 9-5pm which typically didn't give us much daylight to explore or even catch golden hour if I tried. So as a predominantly natural light photographer I was a bit intimidated.

I took a few moments to research 'night photography' for tips and tricks as I was in the car on our way into the city. Then quickly realized that, "Duh!" The memorial would already be expertly lit with artificial light. I just needed to be aware of minor setting tweaks based on subject. For example, I would need a faster shutter speed when I captured my son playing or a slower shutter speed when I photographed the memorial statues to really capitalized on the dramatic contrasting details.

An added bonus to seeing the monuments at night that I wasn't expecting was the lack of people touring.(It was also relatively chilly that night) This meant my son could freely play and I was free to photograph without people walking in front of me or having to edited them out post production. Score! Plus I was able to capture the memorable moment of my son playing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Washington Monument(pictured above). Also, damn it looked good in our family's annual ChatBook.<-(Save 10% with this link)

Tips & Tricks:

  • Shoot in Aperture Priority

  • Play with your shutter speed based on subject

  • Depending on lighting, bring a TriPod

  • Manual Focus since AF can have some trouble in low light on some cameras

  • A low ISO(if possible) will create buttery beautiful photos

  • ALWAYS shoot RAW

  • Add additional lighting for functionality or creativity (I like LumeCube)

**Captured with Nikon D750, NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8 G

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