Cities are wonderful places for travel photography. There is so much that goes on day to day in any city that you could spend a lifetime just photographing a few cities in the world. From the beautiful to the gritty, from old to modern and from tranquillity to sheer chaos, cities have it all. This makes them wonderful places to improve your travel photography. So here are 7 reasons why cities are the best place for travel photography.
Cities revolve around people and there is no greater concentration of people anywhere than cities. This provides endless opportunities for photographing people. It could be portraits, environmental portraits or people going about their daily lives. If you then factor in the plethora of colours and styles of clothes people wear in places like India, Vietnam or even western countries, you can see why cities are such great places for people photography. Capturing photographs of people is often the area that most newbie photographers struggle in. Whether it’s shyness or just not being sure of your settings, cities offer a great opportunity to practice and improve your people photography.
Every city will have a market or two. They are often central to the daily lives of people who live or work near them. Markets are a hub of activity and are often filled with food, souvenirs, clothes and even weird and wonderful things. They are also one of the best places for photography. That is because there is just so much to photograph and so many opportunities to capture unique photos. You can capture close-up photographs of food or the preparation of it. There is the opportunity to photograph the market vendors either as portraits or when they interacting with customers. You can even photograph the customers that they serve. For these reasons you should ensure that a market is on your shot list when visiting a city.
Who doesn’t like seeing a photograph of a skyline of a city captured in beautiful light? These are often the “wow” shots that really grab people’s attention. The great thing is that you will usually find there are no shortages of places that you can capture cityscape photos from. In fact, most cities will often have rooftop bars or viewing platforms that can give you stunning photos of the skyline of the city. The only negative being that often these places don’t allow tripods so you have to be inventive in the way you photograph the skyline. But even if you can’t capture the perfect photo from viewing platforms or rooftop bars, it’s not a problem. Cities will often have natural places that offer great views that you are able to use a tripod at. You will need to do some research to find them, but they will exist somewhere in the city.
Naturally, cities will generally have a landmark of some sort. Some of the bigger cities in the world will have many iconic landmarks. Others might only have one. For example, the Alhambra in Granada is the most iconic landmark in Spain. Whereas, New York has a whole host of famous landmarks that you can photograph. Photographing landmarks well is very difficult. The reason being that most landmarks in the world have been captured millions of times from every possible angle. So being able to capture something unique isn’t easy. But even if you can’t capture something different to what already exists, still make sure that you do photograph it in the best way that you can.
A city’s food scene is one of the key elements that you should aim to capture. From street food at a stall by the side of the road to exquisitely prepared meals in Micheline star restaurants, there is no limitation to what you can photograph. Often foods can vary vastly even from regions within a country. As such food shots are a great way to really tell the story of a destination. Beyond the dishes themselves, the preparation of food is also great to capture. Photographing food isn’t always straightforward so a city can provide ample opportunity to practice.
Cities are a melting pot of culture, history and architecture. There is a constant contrast in every scene. From an old building to a modern skyscraper. From expensive eateries to street stalls. Even people provide a contrast of culture, looks and dress sense. One of the biggest contrasts in cities is often between the noisy and busy streets and the tranquillity of parks. Think of Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London that provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city. These parks are also wonderful places to photograph as they are often beautifully kept. But they also provide an opportunity to photograph people going about their daily lives. There is truly nowhere in the world where contrasts are as evident as in cities.
The other great thing about cities is that they are ever-changing so there is always something new to photograph. Whether it’s a new building or just a unique situation that arises on a shoot, you are far more likely to be able to capture a unique shot in a city than out in the wilderness. This means you can visit the same city over and over again and still come away with unique photos. Even as a Londoner, I am always amazed by how often I discover new places in my home city. So for someone visiting, the photo opportunities are endless.
Cities are great places to visit for photography as a beginner. There is so much to photograph that you can easily practice any areas that you struggle with. They are also wonderful places to re-visit as you will often find yourself capturing better photos the more times you visit. Even if the city is close to your home town, don’t miss out visiting and photographing it. You will be amazed by how much your photography will improve.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission.