Tips on Urban photography is a creative process. Learning about what you see helps you to get better at taking urban photographs.
Here are my ideas and 10 tips that will help you improve your Urban Photography.
Urban photography can be anything from street photography, architectural photography, or city landscapes such as a mixture of buildings and parks.
- Be Courageous about what you think makes a good photograph – it’s all your choice. Make your choices based on creativity. Take photos of buildings as if they are your personal compositions to play with. Understanding architecture helps, but isn’t essential knowledge for an urban photographer.
- Forget other people around you. Taking urban photos is your personal thing. You are doing something other than going somewhere, or coming from some place.
- Many people on the street are busy with shopping, coming and going to work, visiting somebody, or taking a short stroll along the road. Sometimes your deep interest in a building, or a group of people, can cause passers by to take notice.
- Don’t take all your lenses with you. One lens, one camera. It’s enough to get what you want. If you take more equipment, you’ll end up getting confused about what you are doing. You probably want to take a wide angled lens, 35 mm, or wider, or 50 mm is perfect if you are photographing people and using the buildings as backdrops.
- Think about where the light is coming from, and use it. Shoot into the light as well as with the light sources coming from the sides.
Light is the first instrument that a photographer needs. Learn to judge the difference between a morning light, and an evening light.
The way it reflects on bricks and mortar, the textures that are enhanced by sunlight, or how colours change when the sky is overcast.
There are so many different tones, and there are so many different days. Walking through the streets of your city will always be different if you are vigilant about the light.
- If you go out, and it’s dark, then you can use the artificial lights of a street or shopping centre.
- Let your creativity flow; this comes from inside. You start by looking at things, objects. Then you make connections that help you realise visual compositions.
- Look for those things that cities always have on offer. Street buskers, acts, groups of tourists wandering around make for good mass-compositions.
- Be respectful of everybody. You don’t want arguments about the laws – most people don’t know the law, and make it up on the spot.
- All cities have building sites. These places offer great opportunities to find old walls, not yet knocked down, or broken masonry to use as foregrounds for photos in the distance. Fences, walls, and wooden structures that have broken parts, or holes in them can be a perfect opportunity to create a composition with the hole as a vignette foreground.
- If possible, find a high place to spend some time observing, especially if you feel it’s not working for you. A change in perspective will change your thoughts and how you view what you are looking for.
- Extra tip: Relax. Just do it and enjoy doing it. Guaranteed, even when you think that you didn’t get a shot worth looking at, when you get home and check your photos in peace and quiet, there’ll be at one or two photos in the camera that surprise you. The mind works in strange ways when we are concentrated on one thing.
More articles from Berlin Note | Sean P. Durham