Take your best photos ever with our 9 urban photography tips

By Bonusprint on 5 May 2017

Take photos you can be proud of on your next city break (or even closer to home) with these 9 simple city photography tips.

The people, the architecture, the parks, the shops – with so many amazing things in one place, cities offer the perfect setting for taking lots of stunning photos. But with so much to photograph, finding the right shot (and the right way to take it) can be a bit overwhelming. So whether you’re taking a weekend trip to a new city or you just want to capture the city you live in, read our advice below and become a master of urban landscape photography and urban street photography.

1. Get there early

If there’s one thing cities have in common, it’s that they’re filled with people. Head out early (during the Golden Hour) to avoid the crowds. Or embrace the masses and incorporate people in your city pictures in a creative way.

city photo tips early

Shoot with a slow shutter speed to turn people into an artsy blur in your photos.

2. Take advantage of reflections in water

So many cities are built on the water – take advantage of this to create beautiful reflection photos. Depending on the water, you may need to shoot from a few locations until you get a reflection you like.

city photo tips reflections

Shoot from far away to capture the full reflection.

3. Find the symmetry in your surroundings

Life is full of symmetry and in cities – where there is so much architecture – it’s everywhere. Use the urban symmetry to highlight the subject of your photos and strengthen the composition.

city photo tips symmetry

Create balance and a stunning effect with symmetry.

4. Photograph ‘your’ city

What makes the city special for you? The streets, the food, your favourite shops? Take photographs of these things to capture your personal experience in the city.

city photo tips your city

To make everyday photos more interesting, shoot with different angles or use creative compositions.

5. Tackle tall buildings

Architecture photography can be tricky, so to easily photograph tall buildings in an interesting way, position yourself close to the base of the building and shoot straight up. If it’s sunny, wait until the sun is behind the building or shoot into the sun to create sun flares.

city photo tips tall buildings

Fill the frame of your photo with the building for a dramatic effect.

6. Make something normal, special

Even the most ordinary things can become artistic and unique in the right setting. Keep an eye out for patterns or interesting layouts to turn normal, everyday objects into creative photos.

city photo tips special

Look for complementary colours, repetition and similar shapes.

7. Capture the city lights

A city by night is magical. To get clear night-time photos that show off the lights, turn off your flash, adjust your shutter speed (on Canon cameras it’s the ‘AV’ button, on Nikon cameras it’s the ‘S’ button) and hold your camera very steady.

city photo tips city lights

Use a slow shutter speed (e.g. 1 sec) at night to capture city lights.

8. Go black and white for an extra urban look

Nothing says city quite like a black and white photo. To give your photos a high impact, urban feeling, turn them to black and white. You can also try out different filters on your smartphone to get artsy city pics.

city photo tips black and white

Easily make your photos black and white in our photo book creator tool.

9. Create abstract art

Cities offer the perfect setting to create your own abstract art. Look for reflections on windows, play with lines, the light and shadows, and use different levels and angles in your shots to create artistic photos.

city photo tips abstract

Use the light to capture interesting shadows in creative places.Want to learn more? Check out our other photography tips and tricks.