The term landscape photography evokes impressions of stunning nature-based vistas.
Waterfalls, mountains, harsh desert, and abundant forests… Landscape photographers spend their time documenting the beauty of the natural world.
Urban landscape photography aims to illustrate the essence of a scene. In this way, it is like traditional landscape photography.
But unlike landscape photographers, urban landscape photographers document human-made interventions, structures, and environments.
The oldest surviving camera image is also the earliest example of an urban landscape. That’s Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras. The picture shows the countryside of his estate in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes in France.
Today, urban landscape photographers capture the intriguing and dynamic environments of cities.
Explore the Urban Environment
No matter where you are, photography is all about exploration.
Macro photography requires photographers to explore minute worlds of fine detail.
Street photographers traverse the street, scouring for incidental moments of life.
In urban landscape photography, exploration is crucial.
Alleyways, busy streets, old buildings, shopfront, exploring reveals the heart of a sprawling urban landscape.
Every space, every manhole, every skyline is a visual record. It embodies and culture of an urban environment.
When you have the chance, grab your camera and lose yourself in urban exploration for a couple of hours.
You never know what you might discover!
Look for New Perspectives
Looking left and right isn’t reserved for crossing a busy street.
Sometimes as photographers we can get stuck photographing only what is ahead of us.
In an urban landscape, everything is happening everywhere at once.
This means that as an urban photographer, it is important to be aware of what is going on around you.
Look above you as well as at your feet and keep your camera moving with you.
Try a worm’s perspective by taking a photograph with your camera on the ground.
Find a lookout and take a bird’s eye view of the urban sprawl below.
You could even make use of a drone. Be sure to abide by any laws on drone usage in the area.
Adjust your perspective. This will create imagery that speaks to the immersive nature of urban life.
Embrace Repetition for Striking Shots
The urban landscape is brimming with pattern and repetition.
While living life on repeat can prove dull, repetition can create striking urban landscape photography.
Colour schemes, architectural features, overhead wires, people – look for repetition and patterns. This way, you can capture the construction of the urban landscape itself.
Of course, breaking repetition is another way to create eye-catching urban landscape photography.
Disrupting a pattern leads a viewer’s eye straight to a disruptive focal point.
Keep an eye out for repeating subjects, but don’t be afraid to add a little disruption for emphasis.
Guide the Eye With Leading Lines
Leading lines are a compositional technique used to guide a viewer’s eye around an image.
The human eye is naturally drawn to the order that lines suggest.
Bridges, roads, and architecture all cultivate strong leading lines.
Try photographing bold lines in an urban landscape. This way, you can funnel the viewer’s attention to key components of a photograph.