How to improve your cityscape photography – John Alexander Photography Online Courses

I’m a country bumpkin at heart but I love to photograph the wonderfully different architecture within towns and cities. Here are a few tips to help you improve on your cityscapes.

Using different types of light

When photographing ‘cityscapes’, the common mistake is to photograph them at night when the light has completely gone and the sky is completely black. I photograph my cityscapes in a ten minute window when there is still some ambient light in the sky and the city lights have just been turned on. When taking landscapes, a location has to be decided before the light is at its best, rocking up and hoping to find a composition before it gets completley dark is likely to end in frustration. Believe me, I have done it a million times.


However geeky, heavy, impractical, annoying tripods are, they are essential for night photography. Tripods are a must as we will be needing slow shutter-speeds and low ISOs. Turn up without a tripod and you will get blurry, grainy images that will look rubbish.


It is all to easy to try and fit everything in. Cities are cluttered places and full of unwanted items that you probably don’t want in your photograph (unsightly buildings, bins, signs etc). Re-position/re-compose/remove anything that doesn’t deserve to be in your photograph until you have sufficiently ‘anti-de-cluttererized’ your image.

Use Slow Shutter-speeds

Once the sun has set and the ‘blue hour’ of twilight begins, this is my favourite time to start photographing my scene. Utilise the low ambient light by using slow shutter-speeds to create movement within your image. Anything that is not perfectly still will now create added drama to your composition, clouds will move, water becomes glassy and traffic turns to light trails. Experiment with different shutter-speeds to create different moods.

If you want to learn more about photography, sign up to my John Alexander Photography Facebook Page to see recent photographs, thoughts and tutorials.

Also please see the dates of my next photography workshops if you are interested in how to make the most of out of your DSLR.


John Alexander
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