Choosing the right venue to shoot your subject is essential in all types of photography. For cityscape photographers, the right location can be everything to make the best photos. Because location is so important for cityscape photography, here are a few tips to help you pick your perfect spot. Cityscape photography deals with photographing city life in general, so these tips will help you to take photos in your city, as well as skyline photos. It is important that you research what areas of your city meet these requirements and check them out before you shoot.
OUTSIDE OF THE CITY
Is there a hilltop or an elevated area outside of your city where you can get virtually all of your city in a single shot? Head to that location if you are looking to take a skyline shot. Because you aren’t using another building or area in your city to take the photo, you can be sure that this option will include your entire city. Also, finding a place outside of the city is a great option for photographers who don’t have a wide angle lens. With a wide angle lens, you wouldn’t have to leave your city.
INTERESTING AND UNIQUE LOCATIONS IN YOUR CITY
If you’re looking to capture the essence of your city in a photo, search out famous or unique areas. For example, if you are photographing New York City, you could check out Central Park or the One World Trade Center. In places like Rio de Janeiro, you could frame your shot around the 98-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado. Just research your city’s most famous or unique landmarks or statues to feature in your cityscape photos. Once you are there walk around and try to avoid the most crowded places. Those places all photos are taken. Go to a more quite area around an try to make a great photo from there.
A BUILDING ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF YOUR CITY/SUBECT
After you decide how you want to frame your shot, be sure to find a building on the outskirts of your city or subject. For example, if your focal point is a singular building you want in the middle of your shot, search out a building that is a good but away from your subject. Thanks to wide lenses, you don’t have to go outside of the city in this case. This is a good way to cut out unwanted subjects from your photos.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
If you’re looking to get the liveliness of your town on camera, seek out special events and festivals in your city. For some places, like Mexico, this could include festivals that are more unique to the area, like Dia de los Muertos. In other cities, it could be a festival or event pertinant to the locals. Whatever it is, you can be sure that utilizing festivals and events will capture the culture associated with your city. Consult your city’s local events on social media sites or by using apps which pinpoint important or special events going on in the city.
ON A BOAT
This may sound silly, but some of the best cityscape photos have been taken on the back of a ferry leading to Liberty Island in New York. If you or a friend have a boat, or you are willing to rent one, you can take your cityscape photo from the water. This is a great option for pretty much any camera lens owner as you can go as far out or as close up as you need to capture your subject.
ACROSS THE WATER
This may seem similar to the “on a boat” option, but you can take these photos without using a boat. You can visit an island, or stand on one side of a bridge to get your desired cityscape photo. This is also a good location because you can play with reflections on the water, which is great in any lighting, but perfect during the Golden and Blue Hours when the reflections from city lights can be seen on the water.
ON AN OPEN ROOFTOP
Open rooftops are prime locations for the perfect cityscape shots. Not only will you be able to get a clearer image, you also won’t have to worry about picking up your reflection in a buildings’ glass windows, or having to clean or a search for a window without smudges. Just be sure that you are legally allowed to be on the roof and that you are safe and standing a safe distance from the edge. Also check in advance if you can use a tripod on the rooftop or not. It is often not allowed in the public open rooftops. A mini tripod can be a solution in this case.