Last week I was reading an issue of Digital Photographer Magazine (issue 50) which had a good feature on Urban Landscapes.
In it they interviewed an urban landscape photographer (Mark Bury) and asked him for his top 5 tips on his craft. I thought I’d share them here.
The headings are his the descriptions are my paraphrases of his tips combined with some of my own thoughts.:
1. Early Bird Catches the Worm – First thing in the morning is one of Mark’s favorite times to shoot for a number of reasons including that the light is diffused and the ‘sky acts like a giant filter’. I’ve done a little urban photography too and also find that early morning shots can be great for a two other reasons too:
- Clean Streets – Most street cleaning happens over night and the early morning often finds urban scenes with less litter to clutter your shots.
- People Free Shots – Shots around dawn have less likelihood of being cluttered by people. It’s amazing who lonely a city can look if you’re able to get a people free shot.
- Different Activity – Of course you might want people in some of your shots – It’s amazing how an urban area can change depending upon who is around. While at 9 am you’ll get a peak hour feel to your shots and on the weekend at midday you might get a crowd of shoppers – in the wee hours of the morning there’s a whole different group of people wandering the streets can give your shots a whole new focal point.
2. Prospective Perspectives – Mark suggests that the shape of the buildings that you’re shooting should alter the way you frame your images. Buildings with domes should include background to help viewers appreciate it’s form and square buildings look best when shot at a 45-60 degree angle in Mark’s books.
3. Up and Coming – Don’t just photograph the finished product when it comes to buildings but also focus upon construction areas and what is being built and/or renovated.
4. Permission to Shoot – Some places don’t allow public photography and you might need to get a license and/or other form of permission to photograph them. Mark likens it to getting a model release when photographing people. Getting permission can mean the difference between owning copyright or not of the images you take in some instances. This will of course vary from place to place.
5. Angle Attack – Find new angles to photographing well known buildings. Find areas of them that are hidden from the average photographer and look for interesting patterns, shapes, textures, reflections and angles that highlight the details of the building that might have previously been missed by others.