Travel Photography: Cityscapes

Part Two of this travel photography mini-series will focus on cityscapes: photos that capture the streets and day-to-day beat of a new city.


Amsterdam, Spring 2016

Tips for Photographing Cities

When many people think of cityscapes, they think of photographing skylines, traffic, rows of tall buildings. While those are classic ways to photograph cities, here are a few other things to think about that will help you vary your travel photography:

Your frame can be either portrait or landscape – portrait works great for capturing height and a particular focus; landscape is perfect for showcasing pattern (consistent architecture, rows of bicycles, etc.). In terms of compositionperspective is huge in cityscape photography, because it creates interest in an otherwise banal scene. Use leading lines (such as sidewalks, tram lines) and take flat shots sparingly.

The focus on city photography is often in architecture, design, movement, and sometimes color. Explore each of these dimensions, while keeping frame and composition in mind. Flat shots can even work if the photo captures enough of the preceding elements, like in this photo of Amsterdam.

This Amsterdam photo is unique because it has no perspective; the shot is a flat look at a row of buildings. The interest in this photo comes from its distinct architectural style of tall narrow buildings with long windows, which is highlighted with a vertical photo frame. The buildings on the street were painted, so during the editing process I focused on defining this photo’s remarkable color. What the composition lacks in perspective, it makes up for in thirds: the different red cars add a charming touch to the streetside, and the unlikely juxtaposition of building, cars, and boats (the boats lined up nicely in the spaces between the cars) creates a subtle series of three’s that is pleasing to the eye.

Take a look at these shots below for some ideas on fun city photography! Notice how perspective plays a key role in most of these photos.


Safe travels!



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