Urban Landscapes how to shoot them like a pro
You constantly feel the call of the city and want to encapsulate every moment? You love the vibe of the buildings, the way the sun rays crown your favorite towers or the dynamics of the cars? Whether you’re thinking about taking your very first professional urban landscapes photo or you are already into the game and want to gain some added inspiration, you bumped into the right article. Let’s urbanize our shots together with some great insight!
1. Find the perfect spot
If portrait photography is all about finding the most expressive model, one with a Greek sculpture’s body or a spark in his/her eyes, urban photography is all about places. Sure, at the beginning you take pictures of your best friend, but then, you want to take it up a notch by shooting the hottest girl in town (not implying here that your friends are not hot 😊).
The same goes for urban photography. At first, you take some pictures from your balcony, then you start strolling through the neighborhood, but brave ones get out of their comfort zone – both physically and metaphorically.
Some great ideas for you, the heroic shooters out there, would be to climb on the top of a building, to get breathtaking landscapes. If you are brave enough, make it the tallest building in your city. So, the first golden rule is set: the taller the building, the greater the photo. Hey! No trespassing, ok?
2.Light, light, light
The sky is a vital element of urban landscapes. From beginners to professionals, everyone shoots it, but to stand out from the crowd, you must take into consideration some aspects of the sun. Almighty Egyptian God Ra stands now between you and the perfect shot. Don’t worry, we’ll shed some light on the matter!
There are three types of light, to take into consideration when you are out shooting:
The golden hour refers to the moment when the sun comes down, just before the sunset. It lasts from 20 to 25 minutes and as the name implies, it conveys the time when the sun shines at its fullest potential. Then, the sky is totally lit, bathed in a golden nuance. This also applies to the sunrise and once the sun comes up.
The sunset is, of course, the moment when the sun hits the horizon. Usually captured by the seaside, it can also have a great impact on urban landscapes. But there’s a trick here: the sunset lasts for only about 10 minutes, so you must be quick about taking that great shot.
The blue hour refers to the time when the sun is behind the horizon when the sky is not yet black. Just like the golden hour, it lasts for about 20 to 25 minutes, and it’s your best shot to capture the sky right before the stars awaken.
If for microphotography you have good microscope objectives as a must when you’re going for urban landscapes you should take the tripod out of the closet. This is because when in the city, you deal with a lot of dynamics – people crossing the street, dogs chasing their tails, people running for the bus – you get the point.
Even more so, if you want to take shots at night. The first-night urban landscape photo you’ve ever seen was probably that of a street full of running cars. How do I know that? Because the trail of headlights is what probably stuck into your mind. One great tip for when shooting in the city with a tripod would be to lower down the middle leg and also use either a two seconds timer or a camera. And lower the ISO as much as possible, as well.
4.Shoot straight up
A great part of dealing with urban landscapes involves getting acquainted with architecture. This is because this type of photography is mainly made up of lines and patterns.
Looking at buildings through your camera is quite more different than any other type of shooting, mainly because it aims at getting the right angle. Photographer Ray Scott teaches us that a great trick of architecture photography is shooting straight up. In this way, you get the well-deserved and sought-after blend of lines.
5. Go RAW
Shooting in JPG format is one thing, but going RAW is a total game-changer, especially when it comes to urban landscapes. In fact, according to Corey Benoit from Faymus Media, you should never shoot landscapes in JPG, as then all the processing of the dynamic range is camera fixed. ”You can really focus more on the dark areas and brighten them up a little bit and bring shadow detail back up and bring the highlights down”.
So, if you want to get that depth of field and shadow play, go RAW!
After going through these tips and gathering some insight, you deserve a feast for the eyes and some trendsetters to follow in their footsteps in the search for urban greatness. We’ve surfed the web, got the most awe-inspiring urban photographers and made up a top 5:
- Angeliki Jackson
- Thibaud Poirier
- Pedro Correa
- Paola Franqui
- Orlando Andersson
Wait! We’ve got a surprise for you! Before putting your boots on and gearing up, take a moment to download a great urban photography guide right here, FREE OF CHARGE! Do it fast, before it’s gone forever and then take the challenge: you, your camera, spice it up with some creativity and head to the town!