Chances are, if you live in a city and love to take photos, you’ve already tried your hand at urban photography. Taking urban photos will help you hone your skills as a photographer while capturing the essence of an urban environment. If improving your city photography is one of your goals, follow these tips for your next urban photoshoot.
What counts as city photography?
Urban photography is a wide genre of photography with only a few parameters. In essence, city photography needs to take place in an urban environment with emphasis on the elements of a city. A macro shot of an insect or a flower can be taken in a city, but it’s not urban photography unless the city itself is embraced within the image. The same can be said of portraits, nature photos, and selfies. In short, to create compelling urban photography, the elements of the city must play a strong role in your photo.
Urban vs. street photography: What’s the difference?
Street photography is defined as candid shots of people interacting with their environment in a way that tells a story or makes an artistic statement. While many street photos are considered urban photos, street photography can be shot in rural environments as well. By contrast, urban photography utilizes city spaces, and the images don’t always need to include people.
How to take more interesting urban photos
Ready to take more compelling urban photos that highlight where you live or destinations you visit? Here are some creative tips for urban photography.
1. Capture movement in your urban photos
One of the most important elements that distinguishes urban areas from rural areas is the sense of fast-paced movement and action that cities embrace. Traffic and crowds are common in cities, and you rarely find a quiet locale without some sort of movement. Photographing an urban landscape in its entirety will require capturing that sense of constant movement.
2. Consider abstract compositions
Another important element of an urban landscape is the way shapes, textures, patterns, and lines interact with each other to form interesting compositions that you won’t find anywhere else. While using a wide-angle lens might give you a big-picture view of your city, zooming in a bit allows your lens to capture abstract, intimate images. Consider the way buildings interact with each other or the way that electric lines create shapes over the roadways. Urban settings are, by their very nature, abstract. But it’s up to you to find the composition that will tell the story of that abstraction.
3. Look for scenes that give context to the city’s essence
When you look deep into a city, you begin to understand the essence of its neighborhoods, people, and landscapes. You can use your photography skills to paint a picture that captures the heart of your city — the factors that make it different from all the other urban areas on earth. Iconic scenes may be a good starting point, but the more you explore a city, the more you will discover scenes that can’t be found anywhere else.