How To Make Colorful Photos At Night

The magnificent Red Square on a warm summer's evening in Moscow, Russia.

When it comes to photography night time is the right time.

There’s something really special about the night. Time seems to move at a slower pace and the world around us seems to quieten.

What’s more your senses seem to heighten and, as a result, you become more aware of what’s going on around you.

It’s at times like this when I feel I’m experiencing the world at a deeper level, which is a great help when it comes to focusing my attention on creative endeavors.

Entrance, St. Petersburg, Russia

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Into Red Square We Marched

Red Square is an amazing place, particularly at night. I made this picture with the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral just behind me and to my right. The walls to the Kremlin are clearly evident on the left side of the photo.

I spent hours in Red Square. It was packed with a steady throng of tourists moving through the space. I included them in some photos and lifted my tripod up to exclude them in others.

In this case I position myself behind a temporary barrier so as not to have any people walking in front of the camera when I made the photo.

The vibrant colors of major Moscow landmarks, close to Red Square, by night.

Behold! The Dynamic Duo Of Light And Color

Light and Color are intractably bound together. However, to reveal the color of your subject you must light it.

There are several reasons, other than the iconic nature of the structures themselves, why Red Square is such an incredible place for night photography.

  • Many of the buildings and structures around the square are illuminated.

  • The light brings out the color, shape and texture of those structures.

  • The structures are, by their nature, colorful. The onion shaped domes of St. Basils Cathedral, for example, feature green, yellow and blue hues.


An exterior view of the magnificent St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow at night.


Making Great Photos at Night

The key to great night photography is to ensure that you are photographing interesting subject matter that is well lit.

To take this notion a step further, try not to think so much about the building in question, but about the light that illuminates it and what that light reveals. For example:

  • The composition (e.g., color, shape and texture) that’s inherent to the structure

  • The story that building propagates about power, majesty, state or religion

The vestiges of Russian power, both historical and contemporary, are clearly evident in Red Square. Rich in history and iconography it’s an amazing place to visit and to photograph.

Attend My Next Night Photography Workshop

I run a popular Night Photography in the City of Melbourne Workshop throughout the year.

Do you live in or around Melbourne, Australia? This could be just what you need to elevate your photography up to the next level.

It’s a fun, informative and creative experience and, at just $88 including a free eBook to help you prepare for the workshop, it’s great value.

What’s more the entire session is conducted outside and is 100% hands on. Just you, your camera and little old me to help you make amazing photos.

It’s going to be fun and I hope to see you there.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru