Feeling Blue? How adding blue radically enhances your city night photography.
Written by Mark Hemmings on November 19th 2018
When you're photographing at night within a city, you may find that your photo's color balance isn't very dramatic. This lack of color drama is often caused by ugly city lights that contain either sodium or mercury. 

But there's a brilliant solution that is incredibly quick and easy . . . 

Take a look at this church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. My assumption is that it is illuminated by sodium vapor lights which cause an orange color cast: 
San Miguel de Allende parroquia
I took the above photo on Auto White Balance for the sake of this tutorial. The problem with Auto WB in this case is that cameras have a hard time dealing with greenish mercury and orange sodium vapor street lights. 

Your camera's white balance will do its best to give you an accurate image, but it may not be completely to your liking. 

That's why I suggest that when you photograph a scene such as this Mexican parroquia, just keep your camera on auto white balance and add blue to your photo afterward in your editing software:
San Miguel de Allende parroquia
The addition of blue by using your editing software's White Balance slider not only reduces the ugly orange color, but it also adds drama to the night sky. 

The newly added blue of the sky really works well with the illuminated buildings that you'll be photographing. In my mind, the sky of the second photo looks far better than the sky of the first photo.

One more tip for those of you who know how to use selective color adjustments: After you increased the blue in your photo, choose the orange or yellow channel and alter the hue and saturation until you feel that your building looks accurate to what you saw with your own eyes.

Happy night photography!

Mark Hemmings

PS, we have a few spaces left for our San Miguel de Allende photo workshop, where we practice night photography on this church plus so many other amazing San Miguel locations. Check out our webpage!
From Mark Hemmings:
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