Photographing big cities is a great challenge. But knowing some tricks and secrets will make your life as a cityscape photographer much easier.
Shoot at the right time of day
Did you know that there are only 20 magic minutes a day when truly stunning shots are possible to take? If not - today is your lucky day!
There is a time right after the sunset when the city lights turn on but the sky is still bright. This moment is perfect because the contrast between the sky and the shining city is very low. It's important that you prepare yourself for shooting not to miss that magic light because it will only last for 20 minutes! After that time the sky will get too dark.
Have a look at this photo of The Louvre. It was taken 15 seconds after the lamps turned on. I came to the location an hour before, composed the shot, waited and didn't miss the moment!
Be on a tripod and use the right settings.
Setting your camera for such cityscapes might seem a real challenge but when you know some simple principles it is very easy to get perfect exposure every single time.
1.Start setting your camera with ISO (you should use Manual mode (M) and make sure that you shoot RAW in the menu of your camera). With ISO everything is super simple - it should be the lowest possible (ISO 50 or 100 or 200 - depending on your camera model).
2. If you don't have any objects of your composition close to your camera - then set your aperture to F7.1 - usually it is the sharpest aperture of any lens.
If you have something close to the lens then go to F 14 - it will be enough to get all the objects of the composition in focus. Try not to go above because you will then start to notice that your images become less sharp - this is because of the thing called diffraction. (But I don't like to use complicated words - it will just make you photos look a bit blurry).
3. Then just adjust the shutter speed until you get perfect exposure. And there is a really important secret to this also which not many people know. Try to underexpose your photos a little bit - this way you will be able to get all the details in the sky and also in the street lamps.
Find the subject that you are passionate about!
Passion is everything
First of all you should listen to yourself. Is there a city or a place that you feel inspired by? Don't set up any borders for yourself during that thinking process. You just have to find your inspiration - it doesn't matter if it's right on your doorstep or it's over the ocean. Just find your own voice and use these secrets along with YOUR vision. Represent your feelings about cities with a camera.
An Evening in Paris
This is the view from one of the best observation decks of Paris at Galeries Lafayette. Once again I waited for the city lights to turn on and only then squeezed the shutter.
The Carousel of The Louvre
I took this photo near the main building of The Louvre Museum. I remember it was a dark and moody day. And the wind was freezing cold. I came to the location early as usual - to catch the magic light. There was no place to hide from the wind and by the time the lights on the arch turned on I had burned around a hundred calories jumping around my camera to warm up.
This is one of my favourite photos of Paris. I had to wait for around 1.5 hours to catch the moment when the last rays of the sun touch the buildings and also the Eiffel Tower.
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