A Shot of London at Night: Foto Ruta's Guide into the Dark

As darker days approach and night falls earlier, a shortsighted option would be to put away the lens and hide the camera for hibernation, however, getting a shot of London at night could be better than dreaming. Any night owl knows that although photography is generally associated with light, light is nothing without darkness. So fear not, Foto Ruta’s guide into the dark will show you new places, alternative perspectives and give you the details of the proper equipment you need to make sure you get the best shot of London at night.


There are several photographic options to explore in order to get an original shot of London at night.

Typical Locations

 One way to approach the city at night is to look for the most obvious and touristy locations and catch them under a different light. Think of glittering reflections on an obscure Thames, or the lit outline of Westminster Abbey.


 Photo by  Travel Dugong

Photo by Travel Dugong

Bars, pubs, nightclubs, music venues, drunks, the beautiful people, soulful singers and muses, dancers, lonely writers, couples of all sorts, and surely a vampire or two. The London nightlife is well worth getting a shot of and drinking a shot in.

Hidden location

 Photo by  Andrew

Photo by Andrew

Look for little alleys and cobblestone streets, perhaps smoke coming out of a chimney, or a Little Match Girl type of window scene that contrasts the glowing light from the inside with the cold cold darkness.

Nighttime Photography Tours

 (Photo by  Alexander Harbic )

(Photo by Alexander Harbic)

36 Exposure offers a night photography workshop to practice your skills under the stars. They have two tripods that they can share, but if you have your own keep in mind you will use it! More information here.

Play with scenarios

 Photo by  Dominic Simpson

The obscurity that corresponds to night allows for a lot of filling in with the imagination. Dreamlike shots, distorted images, contrast, and reflections on windows, on cocktail glasses, or on wet cobblestones, are just a few elements that you can play with to get your perfect shot of London at night whilst charging it with drama and narrative impact. You can also play with elements from genres such as suspense, horror, and romance which are all associated with the night and darkness.

Be prepared

 Photo by  Metro Centric

Photo by Metro Centric

Shooting in the dark implies a lighting situation that you will have to prepare for. If you adjust your settings to have a wider aperture, you will also capture movement that might blur your image. To avoid this, you will need a tripod, but you can also incorporate it into the aesthetics of your image. Another option is to underexpose images and accept the lack of detail. Finally, there are also special night lenses that the more pro might be interested in. Find some great suggestions for picking one out here

And of course, there are some great apps recommended here for your iphoneography and mobile phone photography that you will definitely want to invest in to ensure you get the perfect shot of London at night.