The urban landscape can be a wonderful subject for both experienced photographers and those new to the art. Every city has its share of architecture and people which create unique opportunities to capture the spirit of a city in a photo. In order to get the best photographs, here are a few tips to think about.
Bring the Right Gear
Not everyone can afford all the expensive gear that can give a full range of versatility to photography, but there are a few items which will help in taking urban photos. A tripod is a must if one is going to be shooting at night or at dawn or dusk. A few extra lenses can be useful as well. A wide angle and a zoom lens will enable one to capture the city in different ways, from detail to a more encompassing picture.
Pick a Focus
Every city is its own entity and conveys many different images. It is important to find those things which stand out to the photographer and resonate how they feel about the city they are capturing.
Panoramic shots can be great for showing the city in all its glory. Focusing on one particular architectural element can be a good way to create a set of photos. Cities all have their own unique architecture, from graveyards and churches to old buildings and skyscrapers. One should find the areas of the city with these elements, even if it takes a little bit of exploration.
Also, sometimes the people that walk through the city are as interesting at the city itself or more so. Businessmen on their way to work, kids hanging about idly or districts that cater to a counter-culture all make good subjects.
Choosing the Right Time
If one is looking to get quiet and clean photos of the city, the morning is the best time, since it is less busy. This is the prime time for doing architectural shots. When looking for a more active time, lunch hour or a busy Friday night will bring the people into the streets.
Bright, vibrant photos will require shooting when the sun is high, while times such as dawn or dusk have their own appeal. Ultimately, the best thing to do is to make time and spend an entire day shooting in order to get the widest variety of lighting.
Things to Keep in Mind
When looking for a good photo opportunity, there are some things to keep in mind regarding composition. By paying attention to one’s surroundings, a shot will often present itself by observing some basic rules of photography.
- Angles – Find new and interesting angles to use and take lots of pictures from many different angles.
- Contrast – Seek out contrasts in visual elements such as architecture styles, textures and colors.
- Theme – Pick a theme and photograph with that theme in mind to create a set of photos that work together.
Even when one does not know what they wish to photograph, being able to use these elements will produce good photos simply by their own virtues.
Be Creative and Be Patient
Never be afraid to try things out and be experimental with photography. Even if unsure of a shot, take it anyway and take a dozen. Sometimes looking at photos later will reveal something interesting that one did not see at the time of the photograph’s taking and inspire them creatively.
Also, one should be prepared for a huge pile of photos that never quite work out. It pays to take more photos than one thinks is necessary, just in case a subtle variation in two similar shots makes the difference between mediocre and great. Photography is ultimately a learning process, and every photo, good or bad, has a lesson to teach.