Top Photo Spots in Charleston for Night Photography

Top Photo Spots in Charleston for Night Photography

Because the historic district in Charleston is largely a residential area there are not a lot of lighted buildings useful for taking night time photos.  But there are several places in the commercial areas and on the fringe that have decent illumination for photographers.

 You can take pictures in the evening after sunset with tripod in hand.  But, many locations have parked cars in your composition and people walking around in the evening.  So, we prefer to take most of our images in the ‘blue hour’ about 45 minutes before dawn with no cars or people. And, of course, the blue time is perfect for adding just a little of light to our subjects and their surroundings so they are not a bright spot in pitch black surroundings.  Either way you prefer to shoot here are some of our top photo spots in Charleston to take night time photos [even if it is in the morning].

Waterfront Park

Here you have two top photo spots to choose from.  One is a round ground level fountain shooting arching streams of water toward the center. It is filled with playing children all day long.  The other is the well-known and often-photographed pineapple fountain a block away.  During the day and early evening both will have quite a few people milling about and children splashing in it, so I like early morning better.  Plus with the pineapple fountain you can stay until sunrise and capture the sun as it rises through or next to the fountain; and if you’re lucky some well-lit sunrise clouds, too.

Dock Street Theater & St Phillips Steeple

To photograph this favorite French Quarter location set up your tripod near the corner of Chalmers & Church Streets looking toward St Phillips Church.  Due to a lot of evening traffic this is better as a pre-dawn location so you can safely set up your tripod on the edge of Church St.  You can make a pleasing composition with the theatre on the left and the tall steeple on the center-right of your image.   You can also move down the street and from either side take a picture of the front of the theater including the entrance & balcony.

St Michaels Church Steeple

This is no doubt the very top photo spot in Charleston, the one you see in every magazine and advertisement.

This a definitely a pre-dawn composition as we need a some light on the colorful buildings in the foreground along Broad Street so they will show up in our image.

The location is the corner of Broad & King Streets with a ‘landscape’ composition including the store fronts along Broad St.  Because the white steeple is much brighter than the streetscape below it you will need to use a graduated neutral density filter to lower the brightness of the steeple or it will be over-exposed.  When satisfied with you results you can walk about half way down the block towards the church and find a nice portrait/vertical composition of a street lamp that has the steeple rising next to it.

Hibernian Hall

We can turn this historic building on Meeting Street into three of Charleston’s top photo spots.

First spot is inside the fence where you can compose an image with one of the large gas lamps and St Michaels steeple down on the corner rising along the side of it.  Then move out to the sidewalk and take a picture of the front  columns of the hall behind a gas lamp.  Then, move down the sidewalk towards the Mills House Hotel and take a picture of the entire scene with the iron fence & gates and the lit up building behind them.

Husk Restaurant

Although we do not recommend eating here [82 Queen & Poogan’s Porch next door are far superior] this old house on Queen Street has a lot of illumination and works nicely as a post-dusk picture while all the exterior lights are turned on.

2 Meeting Street

There is one top photo spot in Charleston below Broad in a residential area that works right after sunset.  This is at the beautiful B & B at 2 Meeting Street across from White Point Gardens.  At their South Battery entrance they have one electric light on an iron arch over the entrance walkway.  It does not give out a lot of light so you need to be there while there is still some dusk light left to illuminate the fence, hedges & sidewalk.

0 George B & B

Further north just off East Bay Street is another B & B that is well-illuminated at 0 George Street.

The main house & concrete pillars along George St are lit up for blue hour images 45 minutes after sunset or at dawn.  You can find compositions here either directly across the street or from the sidewalk to the left of the entrance driveway.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Many people think that this tall, white suspension bridge over the Cooper River is near the top of the page of the top photo spots in Charleston.

 If you agree, in the evening head down to the National Park Service’s Fort Sumter Visitor Center at the end of Calhoun Street next to the SC Aquarium. Walk around the building to the deck area behind it that leads down to their boat dock for an unobstructed & elevated view of the bridge.  The grounds here are open until 11:00 PM.

Questions?

If you have questions about top photo spots in Charleston for night photography, or about our historic Charleston photo tours, you can email us at historicchsphototours@gmail.com or call (843) 991-6128

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Richard Spencer

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