If you’re shooting during sunset, don’t leave when the sun has vanished. Stay a little longer to enjoy the soft light and tones that appear right after. You will see that between the sunset and the blue hour, there is a magical moment filled with pastel colors and soft light. Here’s a quick list of tips to help you get beautiful shots:
1. Wait for the lights of the city: a few minutes after sunset, they will be turned on every day of the year. It will give you a beautiful match between the light of the sky and lights of the city
2. Know which buildings are illuminated. Sometimes the light from the windows can be enough, but many landmarks have additional lighting.
3. Include clouds in your composition! They will make your sky more interesting (and less flat).
4. Don’t forget water. Rivers, lakes, puddles, will make beautiful reflections. The water will get the color of the sky and reflect the warmth of the city lights. Try to use a ND filter to have a nice flowing water.
5. Expose for the buildings. They most likely are your main subject. But don’t forget to get enough details in the darker areas, use another exposure if needed.
6. Use selective color balance in post-processing. The sky will be cooler than the warm illuminated buildings. Don’t try to set a single overall color balance.
7. Vignette. This is a powerful tool, that you can use to make the city pop out.