Bite Size Tips: How To Shoot Cityscapes That Make People Go Wow

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While the vast majority of us live in or near a major city, as photographers it can be easy to overlook the great opportunities that help us to get some amazing photographs. Hopefully this amazing shot and tips inspire you to revisit your local scenes for some great cityscapes. Check this one out:

Image from Pexels by Zukiman Mohamad

Now here are a few tips you might want to consider if you'd like to start getting cityscape shots you can be proud of.

Choose Your Time – The blue hour is best usually for cityscape shots that really pop (the hour after sunset and before sunrise). If not, then golden hour (the hour before sunset and after sunrise). 

Sharpness Wins – Usually you want to make your image sharp and in focus. That means using a tripod and remote shutter release to minimise camera shake (especially as the light gets lower in the sky or at night). Put your camera on a stabilised position and use the timed shutter release.

You will also want to shoot with low ISO (around 100), a sharp aperture (usually around f/11 depending on your lens – Google the sweet spot for your lens), and a slower shutter speed to compensate for the ISO and aperture settings. 

Shoot Wide – For shots like this, you're going to want to go quite wide in your focal length. On a cropped sensor camera, that means somewhere between 10mm and 20mm roughly.

Bracket Exposures – If you're struggling with contrast in the scene and losing the highlights or shadows, then bracket your images (shoot several images of the same scene – one exposing for the shadows, another exposing for the highlights and another normal exposure). Then merge them in Photoshop or Lightroom to create a single image with the best exposure.

If you want to get good training on creating amazing images like the one above you should check out Art of Cityscapes.

What We Recommend for Landscape Photography

Want to really hone down your landscape photography skills? Then these are the premium resources that will take you there if you put in the work to follow them.

  1. landscape photography icon  Landscape Photography Guide – This is a detailed guide by Kent Dufault that will give you all of the basics of shooting landscapes. It covers setup, basic composition, lighting and gear. This is a great all-rounder guide.
  2. photography icon  The Landscape Magic Lightroom Toolkit – When you are ready to start post-production on your landscape photos, then this toolkit gives your specially developed Lightroom presets, brushes and filters that will make them pop. It also comes with a shooting guide and several landscape photo “recipes” so you can follow along.
  3. abstract photography icon  Advanced Composition – The fact is that a great landscape requires great composition. If you want to take your landscape shots well beyond the rule of thirds, then this is the guide you will want to take very seriously.

About Author

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Dahlia is a stock photographer and full time educator at Light Stalking. You can find her on Gurushots and see some of her more popular articles at The American Society of Media Photographers. Get to know her better here.

There’s one thing that you didn’t mention: Find a great vantage point.

So many of the cityscapes that accompany articles like this one appear to be taken from high up, from the upper storeys of a tall building. Many of Jason Rowe’s pics fit this description. I’m not saying that you can’t take a good cityscape from ground level, (far from it) but this point does need to be acknowledged. Part of the impact of many of your featured shots come simple from the birds eye view (combined with technical perfection, sharpness, etc, blah blah)

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