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by Russell McMahon

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I am looking for some advice on how to improve the colour of the sky during night time photography. At the minute I take most of my photographs in central london and the sky colour can vary by a large degree some deep black, some a blue colour and others sometimes appear a slightly polluted colour. Ideally I would like to take photos that show the sky with a deep dark colour.

I am wondering if it has something to do with camera settings or whether I should be looking at the night time conditions whilst taking the photographs. I also use Photoshop to edit the photographs so if anyone has any tips on how to improve the sky conditions this way that would be great.

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The colour of the sky in urban settings will depend greatly on the level of cloud cover. More clouds will reflect back the streelights –  Nick Miners Jan 4 '13 at 13:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Shoot during blue hour, just after sunset. Once the sky goes black you lose a lot of impact, the contrast between lit buildings & black sky is too much. Try googling 'blue hour photography'.

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Often I find it is a white balance issue. You may find switching to "Cloudy" white balance sorts the problem for you. If you've shot in RAW it's easy to do in post.

Note that you may need to make a virtual copy of your pic, change the white balance in one, so the sky is correct (and then it makes the foreground funny), and stitch the two exposures together...

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A generic rule of thumb is to manage as much as you can in camera and avoid post-processing as much as possible. In order to capture the sky properly you will want to make sure to point at the sky when getting your camera to evaluate the exposure, lock the settings and recompose.

You may also want to shoot RAW in order to be able to play with the White Balance settings in post and see what works best. You probably would need to use a Custom White Balance otherwise.

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