Is urban photography something that you’re interested in? Would you like to take the best pictures of your city, and have amazing souvenirs from your travels? This text should appeal to you, no matter what your current skills are, and how interested you are in architecture and city design. You will learn a few interesting tips that will help you ‘pimp’ your urban photos to maximum 😉
There’re different types of frames, panoramas, details, static and dynamic shots, photos taken from above or below… and finally, light – which builds the atmosphere of the environment depending on the season or even on the day. Urban photography provides so many opportunities for expression! The key to it is to pay attention to certain details that will help you draw from architecture the most of its potential, and put it onto your photographs.
In Kaboompics we tend to get carried away 😛 Though when it comes to photography, there is one golden rule that we follow: be spontaneous, but well prepared.
Our advice? Always have a plan. Prepare yourself before you decide to go anywhere – find the places you want to visit, put them on the map, check the weather, public transport, and your equipment. Remember to include the daylight into your plan. You don’t want to cross half the city only to be too late for taking photos, once it gets too dark. The evening’s golden hour in July is far from the one in January.
It is quite straightforward. If there’s a skyscraper that you really want to photograph you shouldn’t be standing a few meters from it, pointing your camera at the sky. Well, you can do, it if you want the photo to come out weird – with a massive base of the
But if you want to actually depict its substantial height and monumentality, you should try a different approach. Or you shouldn’t try to approach it at all! Keep your distance. Start from two hundred steps away from it and keep getting closer, trying different angles. Finally, you can even get inside – it may hide a wast staircase that would look great in the photo!
If the monumentality is what you’re looking for, be sure to catch something other than the building, as it will make a point of reference. It can be a person, a car, a tree. Well, you know. Ever heard of Staffage? Try it out!
Never stop looking for new opportunities that can be hidden in urban photography. There are so many variables that influence the final outcome of your photo – time of the day, weather, season. Even things as traffic and temperature! Be patient in your explorations and you shall be rewarded 🙂
Pro tip: Don’t forget to look up!
The city looks best during the so-called golden and blue hour. First one is the time of the day just before the sun rises, and also right before it sets. The second one is the moment after the setting of the Sun when the city light is subtly complementing the last colors of the day passed. Use it to your advantage and be sure to pay attention to these hours while you’re preparing your plan.
Attention to Details
Panoramas, wide presentations, and frames covering the entire building make
Look for the seemingly small things, as these details are the main factor of the space that surrounds you. Even a street lamp and a fragment of some inconspicuous building, if taken from the right perspective, can create an interesting composition.
Look for symmetry, different lines converging in one point, objects of unique shape or just their fragments.
In Lisbon, we were fascinated by the colorful doors of the local buildings. Visit new office buildings, as well as old tenement houses. Grasp the texture of the materials they were built from, both on the outside and in the inside (wooden climatic stairs are very impressive, but also is the mosaic of raw glass lines in modern construction).
For what? Well, you won’t know, until you find it! Plan aside, it is even more about having fun, feeling the thrill of excitement, as every street, every alley, shortcut, a tunnel can hide something, and surprising.
That’s the greatest asset of urban photography – there’s always something interesting waiting for you. Don’t be afraid to take a different path from time to time, and let yourself go. Keep your camera close and eyes open. Who knows, what’s around the corner? 😉
PS. I was supposed to choose my best urban photos from Kaboompics. Once I finished, I realized that all were taken in Portugal… I swear, it wasn’t planned! I guess I should book tickets to Lisbon soon. Sorry, Sri Lanka! <3
PS2. Here you will find all the pictures I took in Portugal this year. You can download and use them for free, as always!