Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

Long Exposure Tips: Jazzing Up Your Nighttime City Skyline Shots

Jazz up your nighttime city skyline shots with a few simple tricks!

Nighttime skyline shots are filthy and shamelessly beautiful especially when done right. But when you’ve had your fill of the same flawless shots, they can get a little boring. When that happens, the best thing to do is take your perfected technique and mix it up with some simple yet unconventional tricks. Here are some tips to jazz up your nighttime city skyline shots.

SHOOT IT (IN TWILIGHT) – Unless work or school prevents you from going out early, don’t wait until it gets dark before you shoot. City lights always come on at sundown so if you have the perfect spot for your shot, make sure to get there before the sky turns black. A dusky blue sky will always prove to be the best and most interesting backdrop for those twinkling city lights.

OVEREXPOSE IT – If you can’t go out there early in time to catch that dusky blue sky, just overexpose your shots; not too much so that it gets overblown but enough so as to capture the lights from the city reflecting onto the sky.

SLIDE IT AND CROSS IT – Here’s an idea: load those Astias, T64s, Sensias, and Velvias onto your cameras, take them out for a night drive, and cross-process them. Purple skies are great in the daytime but they’re even more awesome at night!

DOUBLE IT AND BOKEH IT UP – When you think you’ve just taken your most amazing city skyline shot yet, don’t forward it to the next frame. Make it even more amazing by slapping a homemade bokeh filter on your lens (tipster here) and double exposing your perfect shot with a bokeh version of it. You’ll love it even more!

TRAIL IT – While it is virtually impossible to get any good star trails (tipster here) with your city skyline shots unless you do some photoshop magic – the sky reflects the abundant light from the city, we can always get light trails from less heavenly things like cars and airplanes. Make your shots more interesting by including traffic.

DISMOUNT IT – Ditch that trusty old tripod and steady your camera with your bare hands. You’ll get results with painting-like quality!

FLIP IT AND REVERSE IT – Take a shot of those city lights but before you move on to the next frame, turn your camera upside down and take that same shot. You’ll love the results!

MIX THEM ALL UP – If none of those tricks are enough individually, use them all at once and just go crazy!

written by blueskyandhardrock


  1. neanderthalis


    Looks like some fun ideas I would like to try soon, Thanks!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. ohlordy


    Cool as! you've filled my nights with ideas!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. blueskyandhardrock


    @neanderthalis you're welcome. Hope to see your results soon!
    @ohlordy happy to share!


    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. exlhantu


    Those purple skies are beautiful :D
    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. herbert-4


    Glorious article!! There are things I've never thought of here! Thanks!!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. blueskyandhardrock


    @exlhantu thank you. I'm glad you like them! @herbert-4 looking forward to your jazzy nighttime shots! have fun! xo

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. crevans27


    Great stuff!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. stonerfairy


    exposed on the sky line.. but still in great tone! thaanks!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch, Français, Nederlands & Československy.