Smart & Connected Life Travel Tech How to Shoot Great Photos in the City Showcase the place you live or visit with these city-specific tips By Kyle Schurman Freelance Contributor Kyle Schurman is a writer who specializes in digital cameras. His writing has appeared in Steve's Darkroom, Gadget Review, and others. our editorial process LinkedIn Kyle Schurman Updated August 26, 2019 Tips for Mobile Photography Tips for Mobile Photography Introduction Before You Snap The Shot Learn From These Pros Grab the Right Accessories Get Up Close and Personal With People Discover DSLR Cameras Understanding DSLR Manual Mode Taking Great Portrait Shots Creating Silhouettes Zeroing In On The Party Fun How to Shoot at Different Locations On the Beach At Theme Parks In the City In a Crowded Environment Find The Right Equipment Alexander Spatari / Getty Images Tweet Share Email Shooting photographs in a city provides some interesting challenges, including odd lighting conditions, crowds of people, strong light contrasts, and interesting angles. But, these same elements items can help you create some of your best photos. These city-specific photography tips can help you improve your results when photographing in urban areas. Find What Makes the City Special Look for elements unique to the city, such as Chicago's Cows on Parade art installations that feature artist-inspired fiberglass cows throughout the city. Photographing many instances of the same theme could make a fun album to share with friends. Geography Is Part of the City's Story Look for geographic elements unique to the city. For example, if a city, like Denver, is located near mountains, shoot images that include them. Or if the city, like San Diego, is near a beach, use it as a backdrop for your photographic story. Weather can also be part of a city's story. If you time your visit right, you might just get to photograph San Francisco under a blanket of fog. People Are Part of the City, Too Maremagnum / Getty Images Don’t forget to shoot candid images of the people who are part of the city. A shot of an iconic storefront or restaurant, for example, will tell an even better story if it features someone who lives in that neighborhood. Just be sure to receive proper permission from anyone that you’re using in a photo. Put Your Feet on the Street Finding interesting angles from which to photograph your chosen subjects is nearly impossible while craning your neck out the window of a taxi or tour bus. So, put on your walking shoes and examine target areas up close. Look for ways to highlight unique architectural details, juxtapositions (such as a city garden with skyscrapers in the background), or quirky streets or shops. Explore All Angles Cities uniquely offer the opportunity to get a bird's eye view. Go to a high level of a tall building, parking garage, or observation deck to photograph from a top-down angle. Similarly, you can shoot up at tall buildings and other large structures from the ground. While you're experimenting, try shooting both horizontal and vertical photos. Some cities have companies that offer helicopter tours that you may offer additional angles from which to photograph city views. If you’re looking to end up with as much of the city as possible in your overview photo, you may need to shoot with a wide-angle lens, rather than a telephoto lens. Be Prepared for Contrast Large buildings can create some tough conditions because of sharp contrasts between shadows and light. Look for glass buildings to create some interesting reflections. Try a few different settings with several photos to make sure your exposure is correct. Consider Night Photos Some cities look better, or possibly just very different at night from how they look during the day. For example, the National Mall in Washington D.C. is lit up at night, providing a very different visual experience than you get during the day. Consider shooting some night photos that show off the lights of the city, especially of buildings that feature unique lighting.