Nikon School

Blue Hour Photography

By : Nikon School Blog   |  16 Aug, 2018  |  53

Photography is all about getting the best light of the day. While golden light is often what most photographers hope for, blue hour is also a great time to photograph landscapes, cityscapes, and interiors.

Blue hour is the light that appears at dawn till a little before sunrise and at dusk, a little after sunset till darkness sets in. The best thing about blue hour is that the sky turns a deep blue unlike no other time of the day. Moreover, while shooting cityscapes, the street lights and other household electronic lights turn on, adding a sharp and often pleasing contrast between the warm yellow of the lights and the deep blue of the sky.

The most important aspect of blue hour photography is the time of the shoot and the preparation. As light is going to go down quickly and make things difficult, you need to choose the spot in advance and set up your equipment before the blue hour starts.

Set up your camera on a tripod and frame the shot. Set the exposure settings as per your requirements of depth of field, motion blurs etc. Usually, small apertures like f/8 to f/16 work well combined with low ISOs. This provides good depth of field and longer exposure times that produce light trails, if there are moving vehicles in the frame, and also produce starburst effects if there are street lights or other small light sources in the frame.

For interior photography, blue hour is often the most favoured time as it adds the vital blue sky to the frame along with the warm tones of the interior lights. You will notice that images of most hotels and resorts for their brochures are shot during the blue hour.

If you are attempting to shoot any interiors with warm (yellowish) lights during blue hour, make sure the white balance is set to incandescent, or the right colour temperature of the interior lights. This will turn the sky outside a deeper blue, enhancing the effect.

Interesting compositions like abstracts and industrial silhouettes can be crated during the blue hour, taking advantage of the colour of the sky.

If executed properly and with homework, blue hour photography can add quite a bit of 'wow' to your image collection.

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