Taking photos in the city offers many possibilities for architectural, street or travel photographers. It can be a technical challenge, but also an artistic one. Things can go very quickly, something can happen suddenly, so you have to react (and act) very quickly. Sometimes you will only have a second or two to capture an image.
Do Not CenterThe Horizon
Make a choice on which part of the image you want to give more importance. It can be the sky (for its color or for the clouds) or the city. The horizon should therefore be placed either on the lower third line (priority to the sky) or on the upper third line (priority to the city).
Highlight The Verticality Of The City, Switch To Portrait Mode
The city is essentially vertical, so do not hesitate to turn your device and adopt the portrait format to highlight the height of the buildings.
Le Simona in Monaco from the Princess Antoinette Gardens
Stay On The Move
And be on the lookout! The city is full of situations more photogenic than the others. The scenes of life in particular. Observe your surroundings. Anticipate, and you will get spectacular and vibrant images!
Use A Wide Angle To Emphasize The Grandiose Side
Leaving space for yourself can be good in a composition. It can help to highlight it and underline its grandiose side but also to have a monument of significant size in its entirety even when you lack perspective. Also, the low angle with a wide angle will give an imposing aspect to the monuments. Finally, be rigorous in your framing (make sure that the buildings are straight, or else tilt your camera frankly to obtain oblique lines, which cross for example the image from one corner to another and which generally give a lot of of dynamism to the composition.
Nothing like finding a high point of view to photograph the city. Many buildings (museums, monuments, etc…) will allow you to have a panoramic view. Think about it when planning your visits.
Look For Geometric Shapes
Architecture is an inexhaustible photographic subject. The urban environment is just a series of geometric shapes. Match and combine triangles, rectangles and squares with different textures and colors for simple and effective compositions. Also remember to tighten your framing so as to focus the gaze on the essential.
Do Not Underestimate The Capabilities Of Your Smartphone
Did you know that in your pocket you have the most practical camera in the world? Always available, he’ll be of great help if you need to react quickly to a photogenic scene you don’t want to miss. Your smartphone also has the advantage of being more discreet than an SLR if you don’t want to be noticed. The latest smartphones now offer high quality images and a host of tools and applications will allow you to edit your photos after the fact.
Cities exude energy and magic at the same time. The people, the buildings, the rivers and the streets are all sources of inspiration for photographers. So, do not hesitate to go to a city located not far from your home to photograph it. Follow our five tips for taking photos you’ll be proud of. Find out how to improve composition, compensate for lack of light, and photograph the city from a personal perspective.
Tell An Urban Story
All cities are historical and cultural melting pots where thousands of stories intersect. As you explore a city, take an interest in one of these stories and try to dig deeper into it. Ignore the most touristy sites and try to find a narrative point of view that will immerse viewers in the world of your photo. It could be a historic Berlin building under renovation, a chef hard at work in Rome, or a group of locals going out for a night on the town. The objective is to express what the city evokes for you and to capture its essence in a single shot. Try to arouse the curiosity of the spectators so that they want to know more.
Photograph A City In Motion
People, objects or moving vehicles make the heart of most cities beat faster. Think of the streets of Amsterdam overrun by bicycles during rush hour, Bangkok’s floating markets, or Dubai’s incessant traffic. To photograph a city on the move, walk around it until you come across a busy intersection, then take a few shots from an interesting angle. If your camera allows it, adjust the shutter speed. After reducing the shutter speed (to 1 / 60th of a second, for example), stabilize your camera and shoot the moving crowd against a static background for a blur effect. Or get started in the panoramic photo by moving your camera at the same time as a moving object, like a bicycle or a car. These shots take a little practice, but they produce great results and are fun to take.
Photograph A City At Night Or In Low Light Conditions
Most cities change their face as soon as night falls, but it can be difficult to capture the atmosphere due to the lack of light. If you take pictures at dusk, a tripod can be useful. Try photographing cityscapes in well-lit places, like the Christmas markets in Prague or the West End of London. The streaks of light can also be the most beautiful effect. Try to gain height by going for example on a bridge or on the roof terrace of a building to photograph the street below. If you have a digital SLR, try adjusting the delay time exposure of your camera over 20 seconds. Adjusting your camera or ISO settings (if your device has one) can also allow you to take some great night shots.
Emphasize urban contrasts
The most beautiful urban photos are sometimes those which illustrate the contrasts (between old and new, between peace and discord or between the cosmopolitan communities of a city). Give your own interpretation to this theme; for example, photograph a person meditating in a bustling Shanghai park, a historic London building overshadowed by a modern skyscraper or the hustle and bustle of a hip New York neighborhood. Try to go to the same place at different times of the day to capture different atmospheres. The morning serenity of the cafes lining a square can give way to a most festive atmosphere once night has fallen.
Details That Make All The Difference
It’s the little details that make a city’s identity. Often invisible at first glance, these can nevertheless give rise to magnificent photos. Think of the Victorian street lamps of London, the Art Nouveau signage of the Paris metro or the patterns of the cobblestones of Lisbon. On your next trip to a city, look for the quirky little details and try to photograph them from an interesting angle.…