How to pick out interesting photos
The key to getting good results when shooting in cities is to crop out the messy world to find clean compositions. Photos work best when you extract the abstract possibilities rather than trying to photograph the surroundings ‘warts and all’.
This photo of a chimney with its shapes and curves shows what’s possible when you look for it – we shot this from the top of a car park on the other side of the road!
We just had to zoom in and wait for the sun to create shadows and for the clouds to clear from the frame. This created a more pleasing background.
Clean up city streets with long exposures
If you live in Paris or Prague, elegant nightscapes are easy to find. However, most main streets are chaotic – cluttered with people, cars and ugly shops.
You can solve the problem by shooting a long exposure and filling your scenes with light trails.
This time of year is ideal for photos like this because it’s dark when rush-hour is in full flow. Look out for buses and trucks, as their upper lights will fill the top half of your photos with a second line of light trails.
Use a tripod and shoot on Self-timer to avoid camera shake. Shoot in Manual, using your narrowest aperture (usually f/22) with a shutter speed of 15-25 seconds.
Keep your eyes peeled for interesting shapes
Don’t always go for the conventional shot. Search for unusual photographic possibilities. Look out for reflections, silhouettes or shadows.
This abstract shot of a bicycle works well because it’s clutter free, fills the frame, is stripped of colour and shows an everyday subject in an interesting way.
But to find such shots you need to keep your eyes open!
Think about a subject’s Photoshop potential
Keep an eye out for photos with potential – shots that, although initially might not look all that, could be turned into little gems with some cunning Photoshop trickery.
This leafless silver birch tree stood amongst green foliage, but in colour it looked a bit lifeless, with little light or shadows.
A quick black-and-white conversion and some boosted contrast later, and it’s transformed into a fine-art beauty that features lovely white tones standing proudly against a newly created black background.
PAGE 1: How to simplify a scene
PAGE 2: How to pick out interesting photos
PAGE 3: Where to find the best photo opportunities
PAGE 4: Look for patterns in nature
PAGE 5: Walk around your subject
PAGE 6: Shoot portraits on the street
PAGE 7: Make the most of your available backgrounds