NEW YORK/NEW JERCEY

HOW TO SHOOT CITYSCAPE

15 GREAT PRO TIPS FROM ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Hoboken, Hellowenn
Big cities like New York are distinguished by beautiful skyscrapers and impressive views. And shooting a great city view can be a rather easy task for a real professional photographer.
Basically, it is not a hard task as the object doesn't move as it would for example in case of portrait photo. You just need to remember some basic rules, get inspired and find the best winning angle.
So grab your camera, turn your alarm to catch "the golden hour", and keep trying until you make the best shot ever.
These tips will help you in this task. Check them out and make your shot stand out!

1. Check Forecast
Before going for a photoshoot, check the weather forecast, better do it in advance and couple times. Fog, rain, or unexpected snow may ruin your plans.
Of course, one can't deny that thick fog can create extra dimension and depth but usually it covers all objects and even strong shooting equipment will not help you to realise your dream shot.
Besides that, any outdoor shooting depends on the light. If the probability of good weather is high, try to start your shooting from early morning, if not from the very sun rise.
This will help you to have more time to organise yourself with the shooting angle and the right image perspective.

How to be creative
If you want to have stunning photos with great natural light, think about the shooting time known as "golden hour".
"Golden hour" refers to the time when the sun has just risen up or some time before the twilight. These hours create perfect atmosphere and as usual represent amazing light. It is distributed along the sky with incredible tons and sub-tons.
Another popular time is so-called "Blue hour", happening right between sunset and complete darkness. It lasts for 40-50 minutes. During this time the lights change to darkness and you can capture the twinkling city lights., which are not that easy to catch during day time.
3. Think About Equipment and Filters
Depending on your shooting plans and their difficulty in terms of location, in most cases you will need some basic equipment.
This simple check-list is basic for any photographer, going for a photoshoot:
  • a certain wide angle lens or even a couple of lenses to make the right shot;
  • tripod is a perfect tool to fix and stabilise your camera;
  • check out if you can use some specific filters;
  • extra batteries and chargers;
  • all types of your basic tools such as laptop or iPad.

Besides that, grab some water, juice or coffee with and sandwiches in case you will get hungry. And believe me, you definitely will! Even being super busy with shooting, you will get hungry. Here the home-made sandwich will save you a lot of time.
4. Location Always Matters
If you are shooting a city view, obviously you will try to find a relatively high place with a spectacular observation.
Depending on the city, you can check out the places known for such perspectives. In each big city such places are well-known, but keep in mind that you can always find a non-touristic roof where you can observe amazing view and make a unique shot.
Try to go being typical thinking and try to find a really cool location. Perfect location makes you inspired and motivated to make really worthy images.

If a building becomes architecture, then it is art
5. Use A Wide Angle Lens
If we are speaking about the cityscape shooting, it is always about using wide angle, showing open perspective and harmony of the landscape.
It is always better to have a couple of lenses in your pocket, so you can compare which one works better.

6. Mind the Sun
If you are a professional photographer, you know this rule. But it is always better to remember that sun can damage the geometric lines of the image by creating unnecessary shades.
Always keep your back to the sun, watching the spaces of the building to be exactly as you need them to appear on your shot.
7. Incorporate Water
Yes, this might sound strange, but it is a really a cool working technique! Introducing water or any liquid into your shot will make the image more dynamic, bringing extra depth, reflection, and feel of motion.
Many cities are built near rivers and lakes, so go check out the nearest water reservoirs.
The magic of such image is truly unpredictable, as it can both reflect the beautiful city light as well as show the stormy seasonal change of mood in nature.
The combination of nature and city will definitely make an interesting effect worth trying out.


If a building becomes architecture, then it is art
8. Don't Stop Until the Shot Is Done
It may sound pretty in perfection-style mode, but one great shots worth a thousands of quite-well-done ones.
Never stop searching for a perfect light, perfect exposition, wait till the right light and time to come.
Be sure, you have found the right place and it is your duty to make the shot which really worth the place and the way you see it.


9. Post Production And Editing
Even if you think that you usually capable in making a one-shot photos, never underestimate the necessity of certain post production process.
Pay attention to:

  • white balance
  • horizon line
  • color scheme
  • In many cases, the post-production and editing makes photos more polished and memorable.
10. Arrive Early
No matter how much time you have for your shooting, the earlier you arrive, the better it will be.
Keep in mind, that you will definitely need to spend some time choosing the right place, the right position, and the right angle of observation. Such scouting needs a lot of time.
After the place is found, make some test shots and analyze if the composition works properly.
By the way, each time you think you have found the best location, there is always a better perspective. Don't be amazed by this fact and keep trying out new perspectives.

11. Pay Attention to Converging Lines
In landscape photography it is a popular issue to deal with converging lines, especially when image covers a big view. By mentioning converging lines, it means that because of certain angle of view the space looks weird (for example, building seems to fall backwards).
Of course, this issue can be corrected while editing but better to shot with the right alignment at the very beginning. Extra editing will mean cropping and modifying the image and it might not 100% work out.
Thats why the matter of perfectly aligned lines should be kept in mind.
Spend a bit more time searching for the right view, make some test shots, analyze the composition and the combination of all major lines. Here you don't need to hurry up.

12. A Bit Of Zoom
Though it is not so spread, today zooming in becomes a trend even in cityscape shooting.
Use a special telephoto lens and try to zoom in to capture some more detailed view. This allow you to make certain object to stand out creating the double-plan composition.
Sometimes such technique helps to create a certain perspective out of a rather standard view of a cityscape and play with viewer's attention.
You may also try to use super zoom and capture distant object in a different way. This method is popular with creating so-called "abstractions".

13. The Power of Frame
Cityscape photos are not so easy to frame properly, that's why if you can find a natural frame, your image will definitely get more points.
By finding natural frame, it supposes that you already have a certain view of the landscape and you just need to find the right angle on the sides of your image.
It might be an iconic building, an old bridge, or some piece of nature like tree or even leaves. Frame creates extra layers in the picture though making it deeper and more realistic.

14. Work With the Foreground
Foreground always attracts attention so think carefully what objects to place here as well as what frame to use.
Vivid elements of the foreground can add more life and even movement to the story of your image.
While analysing the macro view of your shot, switch your view to microscopic attention to details and ask yourself: Can I capture something extraordinary? If there is someone who may be interesting?
Such micro focus will add interesting details and extra layers.

If a building becomes architecture, then it is art
15. Work With the Background
After analysing the front view, switch to the background. See if the background looks enough harmonised.
Remember one rule: the more perspective you give, showing the vide angle of background, the more depth of image you create.
In case of low light conditions, like blue hour, give yourself enough opportunity to experiment with the background.
Enjoy the Beauty of Cityscape Shooting
Cityscape shooting is mostly a priority for travellers and aesthetic photographers. Such photos demonstrate iconic architecture, unexpected views, stunning angles.
Cityscape shooting is a form of art which can tell us a beautiful story, created by the arms of a talented photographer, who has seen this story once in his mind and shared it with a wide public.

Photography and editorial — Sergey Makarov