Night Shoot in Zurich

Today I want to tell you the story of a photo I took in Zürich, Switzerland a few weeks ago. Night shoots are super fun because there is so much you can do with them. After shooting a couple nice city-landscapes across the river I started playing around with a flash and created this image.

I love this shot because of the depth and interest that it has. The classic Zürich cityscape is shown off nicely in the background, but the story of a photographer working hard to create amazing imagery fills the foreground.


We were traveling pretty light, so my equipment list is minimal:


My shooting process went something like this:
  1. Set up approximate framing for the final shot
  2. Set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO so that the background [cityscape] looks good. This takes 2 or 3 shots.
  3. Connect the flash to the camera using the built in wireless sync
  4. Using the Canon 600EX-RT in manual mode, adjust the flash output until the exposure on the model looks good. [Do NOT change the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO!] This took 4 or 5 test shots.
  5. Fine tune position of model and framing up the composition.
  6. Use 2 second self timer to trigger the camera to avoid bumping it during the exposure.
  7. Viola!


Here you see my original, unedited image as well as a sketch diagram of the 3 key components in the image:

Here’s the editing steps I followed:

  1. Adjust white balance and exposure so that photographer looks good
  2. Add graduated filter to the cityscape to balance the color and exposure
  3. Add second graduated filter to the cityscape because I couldn’t make the first one strong enough [This is the first time I’ve ever had to do that!]
  4. Add round graduated filter to darken out the boat on the right
  5. Sharpen image and apply noise reduction
  6. Viola!

I hope this is interesting and/or helpful to you! Tossing a flash in your bag that can be triggered wirelessly can add a lot of fun options to a good night shoot.

Got a question? Leave me a comment below!




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