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5 tips for better urban landscape photography

The sprawling metropolis is like a playground for the urban-inspired photographer. With plenty of leading lines, creative manmade structures, and endless life twenty-four-seven, what's there not to like? 

But what makes a great urban landscape photograph? Here are five pictures from the Urban category of Digital Camera magazine’s 2019 Young Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) and Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) competitions so far that have caught our eye – and with them, a few tips to get you going! 

Above image: Mohamed Abdulle

Landscape photography (opens in new tab) tips and techniques

1. Into the night 

(Image credit: Chirag Khatri)

Shooting when the light drops and into the twilight hour not only means the sky gives off this blue glow but you can also slow your shutter speed down to capture the movement of traffic. Chirag's image shows a great example of this technique and uses the intersection of the motorways to create a compelling composition.  

• Essential landscape photography tips (opens in new tab)

2. Look for reflections 

(Image credit: Klaus Kannas)
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Water and architecture are fine match! Head out into the urban city just after a rain storm to find plenty of puddles to use to your advantage. River banks and boat marinas are also idyllic locations where you can find plenty to shoot. A polariser can help to reduce sun glare if shooting during the day.   

 3. Subtle colours and tones 

(Image credit: Oleg Bolotnikov)
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The tones and complementary colours in this scene are stunning and really make it stand out from the crowd. Using the cool tones of the twilight sky against the warm outdoor light the photographer has greatly considered how all the elements in the scene work together. Look for this type of interest in your own shots to make the most from what could otherwise be considered a dull setting!     

 4. Look for the unusual

(Image credit: Pedro Quartin Graça)
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The city is jammed packed with alternative views and interesting buildings. By framing this shot to include only the top of the building the photographer has removed any distractions below so the viewer can engage fully with the structure of this jungle like sky scrapper. Try this isolating framing technique next time you're out and about.  

 5. Shoot from above 

(Image credit: Shoykot Roy)
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For the photographer that makes the effort to go to the top they will be rewarded! The urban environment from above offers so much from above, and by using the weather to your advantage you can capture some classic compositions. Take for example Shoykot Roy's image. The dense clouds encapsulating the buildings are striking.   

Enter the competition here (opens in new tab)

About the prizes

Digital Camera Photographer of the Year is back for 2019, with an amazing prize fund worth £30,000 up for grabs! This year the awards are free to enter, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, mpb.com (opens in new tab) and Affinity Photo (opens in new tab).

The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape contest will receive a Rohan jacket worth £249. The winner of the crowd vote will receive a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine (opens in new tab).

The winners will be featured in Digital Camera magazine and on Digital Camera World, as well as sister magazines including N-Photo (opens in new tab) and PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab), and they will receive additional exposure through Digital Camera’s social media. There will be an exhibition at The Photography Show (opens in new tab) in March 2019, and winners will be invited to attend a special gala reception.

The overall winner of Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win an MPB voucher worth £2,500 GBP, a £2,000 Rohan shopping experience, a Sony A7 III (opens in new tab) + 28-70mm lens, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print.  

The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape  - 25 & Under contest will win £100 cash and Affinity Photo + Affinity Photo Workbook. The winner of the crowd vote will receive Affinity Photo and a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine. The top ten of the crowd vote will each receive Affinity Photo (opens in new tab).

The overall winner of Young Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win £3,000 cash, Affinity Photo, an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, a Sony RX10 IV, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print. 

Find out more about the competition here (opens in new tab)

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The sister print publication to this website, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) is Britain's best-selling photography publication – and it can also be purchased outside the United Kingdom as Digital Camera World. 


Digital Camera Magazine is packed with more expert advice and more inspirational images than any other title, with the sole aim of helping you become a better photographer. Every issue we also bring you a selection of great gifts which are designed to help you get more from your photography – everything from tips cards and cheat sheets to free software and bookazines. 


In addition to inspirational images, interviews, projects, mini tests and tutorials, each issue is packed with news, reviews and comparisons, as well as photographer vs photographer shootouts and head-to-head challenges using the best photo editing software.


The magazine is captained by Editor Niall Hampton (opens in new tab), with Technique Editor Alistair Campbell (opens in new tab) adding his own expertise.