Urban photography: 5 clever ways to shoot creative cityscapes

Urban photography: 5 clever ways to shoot creative cityscapes

A city’s souvenir shops are invariably awash with clichéd postcards of local landmarks, but by thinking creatively it’s possible to capture something much more striking and original. Here are five fun urban photography ideas to get you started…

Urban photography: 5 clever ways to shoot creative cityscapes

Urban Photography Idea 01: Work the angles

When shooting cityscapes, the temptation is to shoot wide with your camera perfectly level, but tilting your camera and cropping in on shape and pattern can often result in much more dynamic images

First things first
Before you even get your camera out of your bag, it’s a good idea to spend some time exploring your chosen location, to try and get some idea of which angles and vantage points will work. Move around, kneel down, get up high, look behind you – you never know when you’re going to find a better angle.

SEE MORE: Camera Angles – 5 ways to add impact with unusual perspectives

Once you’ve decided on a few different options, try some compositions with your camera in hand to see if the shots will work, and take a few rough shots before setting up your tripod.

Urban Photography Idea 01: Work the angles

Expert tips
Don’t feel that you have to squeeze in the whole of a building. Architectural details can be just as pleasing, and can be found in any building, ancient or modern, famous or otherwise.

Look for patterns created by the structure or material of the building – the repetition of shapes can create fantastic semi-abstract images.

Modern buildings tend to result in the best abstracts, and keep an eye out for glass skyscrapers that can provide reflections of older architecture, or an original view of a well-known landmark.

Where appropriate, use a longer lens to isolate different elements, and try angling your camera to create dynamic compositions with strong diagonals.

SEE MORE: 5 ways to compose an image for supreme impact

It’s also worth zooming in and out, and shooting vertically, to exhaust every possibility, while shooting upwards can help eliminate unwanted distractions at ground level, like pedestrians and cars.

The colourful building shown here is behind the Tate Modern art gallery on London’s South Bank.

SEE MORE: City photography – tips for taking pictures of buildings with maximum impact

We started out trying to get the whole building in, but ended up going for a more abstract approach, cropping in close and angling the camera.

We also used a circular polariser to give the colours in the sky and building a boost.

SEE MORE: 9 common filter mistakes every photographer makes (and how to avoid them)

Essential kit
A polarising filter is a must-have accessory for city photography. It can be used to eliminate – or at least minimise – reflections from windows, but by cutting out reflections from other surfaces, it can also intensify the depth of colour in a structure.

It is also handy for making blue skies look even bluer!

It can sometimes be hard to predict how much effect a polariser will have on your scene, so rather than wasting time screwing one onto the front of your lens, try holding it up to the scene and looking with your eye.

Remember to rotate the filter until you get the greatest polarised effect.

Urban Photography Idea 01: Work the angles
Urban Photography Idea 02: Shoot motion blur
Urban Photography Idea 03: Apply a tilt-shift effect
Urban Photography Idea 04: Wait until dusk
Urban Photography Idea 05: Capture moving clouds

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