For many of us, when we decide to get out an about with our cameras we automatically turn to the countryside. But with the majority of the population living within easy reach of a major Town or City, is that really the right decision? It’s great fun just walking around a city taking shots of literally everything but if you want to capture great images you need to go with a plan and a bag of kit including a couple of lenses and a tripod.
1. Think About Your Equipment
Don’t take lots of equipment just in case you might miss a shot, rather modify your subject matter and shooting style to suite the kit you have with you. This minimalist approach to shooting can help improve your success ratio.
2. Don't Get Overwhelmed
Cities have so much variety to offer the photographer that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choice. My favoured approach is to pick one or possibly two themes and then explore an area looking to fulfil this self-imposed brief.
Where possible I like to shoot with a second person, especially if going out of the main shopping areas. Camera equipment is expensive and pulling out a new DSLR with a huge lens makes you stand out. Whilst I often like to carry my gear in a backpack I will also use a shoulder bag which I always ensure has my head through the strap as well as my shoulder. This makes it easily accessible and less of a target for potential thieves.
4. Theme Choices
Dereliction is a popular choice and you don’t always need to leave the main area. The above shot also demonstrates how buildings reflect the way we live with the covering of posters, which is another possible theme.
There are many old and new iconic buildings and these can produce some great images especially if the light is right. Watch out also for the past icons that have become worn and faded. This image of the Futurist sign was shot in Liverpool. It’s well worth shooting images like this to record the passage of time as on my last visit to Liverpool the sign had been replaced by a new white board with “Futurist” written on it in red lettering. It doesn’t have the same appeal.
Patterns are another great subject. Cities are literally awash with patterns everywhere you look. Here a simple set of steps and handrails caught my attention and whilst it probably won’t win any prizes I really like the image; and that’s what photography is about.
Follow your common sense and you will have a great day and capture some wonderful images.
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Article and images by Robin Whalley - thelightweightphotographer.com