The New York skyline has been captured on camera millions of times, but it never seems to lose its magnificence. It’s a spectacular sight and is just one of thousands of cities around the world that transforms beautifully onto photographs. Taking city shots can be a lot of fun both during the day and at night as the two scenes are literally like night and day, no pun intended.
When you’re trying to get some great city shots, you should still remember the rules of natural light. The tall buildings often cast dull and uninteresting shadows when the sun is high in the sky and you might get the most captivating images early in the morning and early in the evening. Of course, once the sun goes down you’ll also be able to get some fantastic shots.
If you take your photos early in the morning, the air will likely be clearer as the smog won’t have time to develop.
However, smog shouldn’t be much of a problem really if you’re taking shots of an uncongested city.
If you want to capture the cities without people, this is also a great time of the day.
You can often convey some of the world’s biggest cities as nothing more than ghost towns when there aren’t any people around.
When taking the photos at sunset, you should be able to capture the sun as it slowly slides down the sides of the city’s tallest buildings.
Buildings with lots of glass in them can be especially dramatic when this effect takes place. The taller buildings often create silhouettes for some of the shorter ones and this can also be quite compelling.
If you’re looking down on a cityscape from above and you want to capture as much of it as you possibly can in the image it’s a good idea to take the shots with a wide-angle lens. If you’d like to get a shot of a building without distorting the proportions you may want to try a tilt-shift lens.
If you use a fish-eye lens the structures may be distorted, but you should be able to get some very interesting angles. Using a zoom lens will enable you to get close-up shots of the building’s architectural details. Since each lens will give you a different perspective, you may want to take a few different lenses with you.
If you want to take some effective night shots, it’s recommended that you choose your specific locations during the daytime. This will allow you to become familiar with the city and its layout. It should give you a sense of how safe that specific area of the city is and how populated it gets.
Scouting ahead will let you know of there are any areas where you can set up a tripod or if there are any solid surfaces you can rest the camera on for long-exposure shots.
Checking out the location will also let you scout out any observation decks or bridges in the city that can be used for taking photos from. These locations generally provide some of the best views of the area. If the city lies in a valley, you can usually find a suitable lookout point which offers spectacular views. Taking walking tours and bus tours is another good way of scouting a city.
Some of the best city images are comparison shots. You can take a photo of a specific location during the day and then another one at night. Exploring your chosen city will let you get the feel of it and you can then incorporate this into your photography.