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Photographer Tips: 5 Tips To Photograph A New City

February 8, 2017.happynfull.0 Likes.5 Comments

Photographer Tips: 5 Tips to Photograph a New City

Written by Christian Lim

Photographer Tips - 5 Tips to Photograph a New City

In 2014, Emily and I traveled together to Europe. Emily had been to Europe before, but for me this was a first. We spent three weeks traveling through Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Keep in mind, this was before I had any notions to become a photographer.  By default, the only camera I took with me was my iPhone 5s. I can distinctly remember looking back at my photos, especially the ones from Berlin, and thinking to myself, “Geez, I don’t have any good photos at all!”

Photographer Tips: 5 Tips To Photograph A New City - Portugal Sunset

Fast-forward two years, I dove into the world of photography and really started to hone and polish my skills. I had a strong desire to become a better picture taker, and this was never more the truth than when Emily and I set out for our six month-long trip that took us to six foreign countries. I knew that this would be a great opportunity for me not only to have a cool collection of photographs, but a chance to further develop my skill set when it comes to travel photography.

Here are five tips that can help you photograph a new city during your travels:

1. Do Your Research

One of my favorite quotes comes from John Wooden, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” You could be getting ready to visit Barcelona or eating your way through Portland for the first time. Whatever the case may be, it’s imperative to know what you’re getting yourself into from a photography perspective. Where are the best restaurants and museums in London? How strenuous is the hike to Machu Picchu? Is it going to be hot or cold when I go? What are the neighborhoods and landmarks to shoot? If you want to take good photos of your travel destination, do some research before making the trip. Otherwise, it will feel like you have one arm tied behind your back.

2. Know Your Equipment

You should know what your camera is capable of and how it works. Know it very well. If you’re planning to use your iPhone, keep in mind that its small focal length will make the far-away objects in your frame look much smaller than if you were using a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens. If you want to take night photos, then be sure to take a tripod with you because you will be disappointed with the grainy GoPro photos from the selfie stick.

RELATED: Travel Photographer Tips and Advice – Interview with Limpers

3. Pick The Right Time Of Day

Natural lighting plays a crucial role in photos that two exact images can turn out completely different depending on what time of day they were taken. Do you want to take an early morning photo of the Manhattan skyline or a night shot of the skyline lit up? Do you want the sky to have a pink and orange color to it, or do you want that dark blue color of late dusk? Whatever image you have in mind, check the clock and the forecast.

Photographer Tips: 5 Tips To Photograph A New City - Manhattan Skyline

4. Go High And Low

The cool thing about photography is that you can show different angles of objects to the viewer that they may normally not see. For instance, the 1,000 foot tall Eiffel Tower can be seen from many different angles. You can shoot it from along the bank of the Seine River, from the Champ de Mars, from the opposite side at the Palais de Chaillot, or even from high atop the Montparnasse Tower. Each spot will give you a different perspective and image of the same object, so don’t be afraid to walk around and shoot from different angles.

Travel Photography Tips - Interview with @Limpers

5. Feel The Vibe

This may be the most critical aspect of travel photography. What is this destination saying to me? How am I feeling as I’m here in this place? More than anything, photos are telling stories, oftentimes personal stories. I can remember going to Amsterdam and seeing thousands of bicycles and scooters everywhere. The overwhelming amount of transit on two wheels was so compelling that I started shooting bicycles and scooters, something I had no idea would be my subject going in. Certain distinct aspects of a place, like street performers in London, pinxtos in San Sebastian, or pastel-colored buildings in Lisbon may compel you to want to photograph them. Listen to what you are feeling and don’t hesitate to express it through your photos.

Photographer Tips: 5 Tips To Photograph A New City

Photographer Tips Wrapped Up

At the end of the day, each person’s motivations for taking travel photos are going to be unique, whether it’s to have something to post on your Facebook and Instagram feed or to build a professional portfolio. Whatever the case, these tidbits should help in producing the best images for you.

For more photo inspiration, check out @limpers Instagram feed or portfolio.

Categories: Travel Essentials

Comments (5)

  • Mark . February 8, 2017 . Reply

    Great tips, just what I needed 😎

    • (Author) happynfull . February 8, 2017 . Reply

      Hehe glad you found them helpful, Mark! 👊🏻

  • stephanie . February 9, 2017 . Reply

    Tip no 4 sounds great! I am gonna try to find some ‘unusual angles’ of sights next time I travel 🙂
    Thanks for the idea.

    • (Author) happynfull . February 14, 2017 . Reply

      I can’t wait to see your photos, Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Marija . February 27, 2017 . Reply

    I loved this article! Great tips!🙌❤️

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