Shoot at Twilight: How to Turn a Boring Scene into a Gorgeous Photograph

Ugly black nets in the trees... cars parked all along the road... boring overcast sky...

It wasn’t the best option for a daylight shoot, but we couldn’t wait to go back at twilight.

Bonnie, here, coming to you from a cute little town called Leiden, in The Netherlands. Professional photographer Efraín Padró and I are gearing up for the first day of our Holland Photography Expedition, with nine of your fellow readers.

We just found the perfect spot for our twilight shoot. During the day, this particular canal is pretty boring. It’s also lined with cars, and the trees on the left have ugly black nets over them.

Here’s what it looks like:

But we noticed a few things that made us want to come back for twilight:

** 1. The canal is lined with lamps. If those light up nicely, they’ll add interesting reflections in the water.

** 2. Even though there are cars along the sides and ugly black nets in the trees, those won’t show up after dark.

** 3. It’s cloudy, which makes this shot look pretty “blah” during the day. But just after dark, that won’t matter. With a little luck, the sky will look blue and beautiful against the lamp light.

Here’s the very same canal, just after dark:

Photographing at twilight is great when you’re traveling somewhere and you want to hide something ugly or the sky is plain white. Get your tripod and try it out for yourself.

Things to look for when you scout out a twilight spot during the day:

** Lamps along the street...

** Buildings that light up at night...

** Reflections in water...

** Things that might “hide” after dark, such as cars, construction, nets on trees... etc.

Keep in mind that twilight is a little tricky. When the sun first goes down, the sky won’t immediately turn blue. Start shooting and watch the sky. Usually it happens a few minutes after sundown, and stays blue for 20-40 minutes more. That’s the “sweet spot.”

Can’t wait for our first day tomorrow! We’re headed to the Keukenhof Gardens, where we’ll find more varieties of tulips than we can count.

While we’re at it, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for more tips to send you.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

4 responses to “Shoot at Twilight: How to Turn a Boring Scene into a Gorgeous Photograph”

  1. Erik Nash

    Hi Bonnie;

    I so loved the photos that you shared with me. I'm a recent transplant to Roseburg, Or. from Bremerton, Wa. and there is a very sharp contrast between the two towns. Bremerton is home to the Navy as well as its famous ferry rides to Seattle, while Roseburg is so relaxed, laid back and more picturesque. Hopefully someday I'll be traveling with you on an adventure or two, but until then I think I'd better keep taking amateur photos.

  2. Dianna B. Suratt

    Thanks Bonnie for sharing your "Twilight Tips" with those of us at home. The photos literally demonstrate the difference in plain day & intriguing night.

  3. Jo Ferris

    Loved the difference in the two shots.. I've also just read your bio and congratulate you on your go get 'em attitude. l live at the bottom of the world in - NZ. Are there many of us online from this neck of the woods looking to break into the market there with stories and photos?


  4. Susanna Perkins

    Wow, the lights in the twilight make it look super inviting and intriguing. What a fabulous difference a few hours can make!

Leave a Reply