Photographing Motion in a Cityscape at Night

Night photography can yield some spectacular results, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to balance your camera settings for the most effective images.

In this photography class Karl photographs two of Paris’ most famous historical monuments. Using a long telephoto for the first, Karl explains why and how he uses this lens as well as how to use different combinations of shutter speed and aperture for different effects. In this first part of the class you’ll also learn how to photograph car trails using a slower shutter speed.

The second part of the class shows just how quick and easy it can be to take amazing night photographs once you know how to balance your camera settings.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Night photography tips
  • Camera settings for night photography
  • How to photograph car trails
  • Using 2x converters for night photography
  • Telephoto lenses and their effects

If you have any questions about this photography class please post in the comment box below.

NOTE: This photography class is available with subtitles.


    1. Hi, this was also on the 70-200mm lens but without the 2x convertor. I will have to find the original file (which is from some years ago) to see the exif data of the exact focal length. I will come back to you here on that tomorrow.

  1. Hi Karl, thanks for your videos and for sharing your knowlegde, and to your teammates too you do such a great job. I was wondering if by any chance you took a picture of the Eiffel tower with the light beam pointing towards the left corner of the pictures instead of the right as you did? Wouldn’t it fill a little more that “blank” space in the sky in order to be a different composition? I would love to hear your thoughts about that. Thanks Karl

  2. Off to Berlin today and planning some night shots. Will go through the video on the train. Would it be possible for you to review the images which I click?

    1. Hi Mayank, I’m afraid we are unable to review individual students work one on one as our workloads would be too high. We do however run picture critiques for our members during some live shows, look out for those in the live shows section.

  3. Hi Karl
    I believe that you need permissions to photograph any major landmark in France, especially if you might be thinking of selling any of the said images.

    How do you go around doing this in various countries?

    1. Hi Graham, I ignore it. To me if it’s a landmark then it’s there to be viewed. Although I don’t tend to sell those type of images so I just have them on file.

    1. Hi Rollen, thanks for joining most people like to jump in and take a look around but please remember that our course chapters are numbered so if you are new to photography start at the beginning of the ‘Essentials’ section and work your way through. Many experienced photographers have been happy to have watched our ‘Introduction’ course as it reinforced some new ideas! All the best Karl.

  4. Where I live there is not a single school of photography. I want to thank Karl and his entire work team for teaching me so much in photography. I subscribed two days ago and the knowledge acquired has been invaluable. God bless you

  5. Hi Peter, OK I get it. First off with the Arc de Triumph shot it wouldn’t really be feasible as it was a 400mm focal length – 200mm with 2x convertor – and in low light the settings I was using wouldn’t have permitted it. The range of focus probably wouldn’t have permitted it. As you can see in the shot above the depth of field ‘runs out’ at the cars in the foreground and for me it suits the shot as it draws emphasis to the main subject. On the other shot I’m on a wider lens so it’s not an issue as they inherently have greater depth of field. If though I am wanting everything as sharp as possible with I generally focus on my main subject – so say the Eiffel tower – and then pull back the focus one third of the distance back into my shot. But I must say I don’t always do this often I focus on my main subject, set an aperture of f16 stop the lens down with the stop down button and look through the lens to see how far the depth of field extends, if it looks OK I just go with that.

  6. Hi Karl, thanks for your reply, what I should have made clearer was I am wondering what method would you use to figure out where to focus to get a sharp image throughout the shot.

    1. Hi Peter, generally for this type of shot as it’s on a tripod I would focus manually and then check the focus by zooming in on the preview image. Once I was happy it was sharp then I would leave it in manual focus to avoid the focus moving around trying to track traffic.

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