My favourite 2 weeks of the year are back as the River of Light Trail returns to the Liverpool waterfront for 2022. This year’s trail entitled “Unexpected Twist” features 10 illuminated artworks dotted around the Pier Head, Albert Dock, Chavasse Park and Exchange Flags.
Photographing light displays like this is always such a fun challenge, balancing your exposure triangle whilst keeping an eye on movement and bright lights can be hard, but get it right and the results can be spectacular.
I’m leading groups round the lights this year (I still have limited space so check out my booking page for details) but for those heading out themselves, here are my top tips for capturing this years displays.
Composition is Key
Just like any other time of day, photography at night is all about composition. Try getting in close to the artworks, use the light they give off to light subjects’ faces, use wide apertures and soft focus to give the impression the artworks are bigger than they actually are.
Don’t be afraid to increase your ISO
Everyone is always scared of “noise” in their photographs from high ISO, but at night it really pays to understand how far you and push your camera. Don’t be afraid to push your ISO higher than you would normally. I find viewers are often more forgiving of high ISO in these situations anyway.
Understand which artworks are worth spending time on.
Not every artwork is photogenic, but that doesn’t mean they are any less of an experience. Some are just better experienced than photographed, which is a lesson in itself. Don’t forget to experience the trail as an open air artwork as well as a photography subject!
No such thing as bad weather
Is rain forecast? Don’t close the door and head back inside, get your coat on and head out because if I’ve learnt anything shooting landscapes, its that some of the best images come when its raining. This is just as much the case with the River of Light as rain creates puddles and puddles are little night time mirrors that reflect the light works and create beautiful foregrounds. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!