Today we are going to see some tips to make a very interesting type of photography: urban photography.
1. Wear Several Glasses
Having two lenses is usually sufficient for street photography. Ideally, you would have a wide-angle lens and a telephoto zoom lens.
Longer focal lengths are useful for capturing details in a set of dilapidated buildings or street details that add ‘real’ character to the shot.
Wide angle lenses are ideal for capturing the overall image and tend to give a greater depth of field which can add interest and a nice feel to our shots.
The equipment that we carry to make urban landscapes, of course, will reflect our own style of photography (and our budget), but in addition to these two lenses and DSLR, sometimes a tripod is a good idea if we are going to shoot at night, also filters polarizers, UV filters, a camera bag (it is advisable to carry a bag or backpack that is not too obvious that we keep a camera, for example, that does not have a brand or logo, but it is best if it is a common backpack), batteries spare and usually an external flash (although it will not be used as much for landscape shots it does not hurt if we find an opportunity to take a good portrait).
3. Shot From The Hip
This technique is a bit more sneaky, but we can get great shots. We carry the pre-focused camera in our hand at hip level with the tape wrapped around our wrist and take photos without looking into the viewfinder.
If we are familiar with the equipment and the camera has become an extension of our body, the ability not to use the viewfinder allows us to take images that we will not otherwise get. We can sit on a bench with the camera on the knee and look in another direction while pressing the button to take a picture of a man playing the guitar in the street, for example.
A constant challenge for urban landscape photographers is that cities are places where people naturally come together.
There is nothing wrong with people, but in urban photographs, they tend to become the very important point in the shots whether we want them to appear or not.
Our thoughts on people in street photography are that we work with the fact that there are people in the photos and use them as a point of importance or if they have to be removed from the shot – there is really no middle ground. One way to eliminate people from shooting is to shoot on weekends or after work hours.
Ultimately, when it comes to whether or not people should be included in a shot we should ask ourselves the question ‘Are they relevant to the shot? and What to add or take away from the composition? ‘. If they add something, we include them. If they distract, we get rid of them. Patience is necessary in most of these jobs, so we must be prepared.
5. Investigate The Locations.
Cityscape photography can seem like a very spontaneous thing (and it can be at times), but many of the most spectacular shots are the result of very careful planning.
We can go through a specific area looking for angles, corners, checking the lighting, etc. It’s amazing how a situation can change depending on the time of day (as a result of light angles especially) to explore potential locations at different times of the day and think about going back to the same place over time to see what else it can offer.
As for what time of day is ‘best’ to photograph – it actually has a lot to do with location, but is usually best in the evening, late afternoon (an hour before dusk), or on days that are very cloudy.