Cityscapes are something that nearly anybody can appreciate because they ideally capture the landscape of a city in its best light and from its best angle. A great cityscape is more than just a bunch of buildings. To take a great cityscape, try to follow these 4 easy pointers:
1: Find the best angle & perspective
Set your photo apart from others by making sure that it’s different from others. The tricky thing about a cityscape is that you didn’t all the sudden see something that nobody else has seen. If it’s a big city, then a good portion of the public is already familiar with what the city looks like. They don’t likely need you to capture what they see everyday. Therefore, put forth the extra effort to survey various locations and times of day to capture the best shot.
2: Choose the best lighting
Some cities look best in broad daylight while others are best known by their nights. Dallas is one of those cities that has key features like Reunion Tower and the building lit up with green lines. Vancouver, however, looks best during the day time. If you are lucky enough to have the time to wait for the perfect sky and the perfect location of the sun, then it will be worth it. For much of my cityscapes, I don’t generally have that luxury.
You’d think this is an easy one. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of people out there content with blurry photos. The daylight shots are generally easier because the lighting is better. Make sure you know your camera and how to manipulate the settings to accomplish the best quality image. Generally speaking, a low f-stop/smaller aperture is ideal. Basically, go with the biggest number you can comfortably get. This was taken with an f/16 aperture because the boat was moving. I didn’t feel comfortable with a shutter speed slower than 1/200th. For the evening shots, USE A TRIPOD and make sure to take your time. I try to go with a real slow shutter speed for night shots in order to maintain a small aperture (higher number after the “f”). And just to be clear, sharpening the photo in Lightroom or Photoshop IS NOT SUFFICIENT. Start with quality before you edit anything. If it was junk to begin with, likelihood is, it’s still junk afterwards – even though you may be proud of it.
4: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Every time that I go out and do a cityscape shoot, I find that I have learned something new about the art. There have been several times that I end up not even using any of the shots from a particular shoot. That’s part of getting better. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Once you know, there’s always something else to know. If you go on a trip, try to take some time and go snap some shots of the city you’re in.
If you are interested in cityscape photography, and happen to also have a LinkedIn account, go search for the “Cityscape Photography” group and join. It’s a brand new group and would love your participation in is.