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7 practical tips for photographing the city

By Kav Dadfar
Cities are excellent places for any photographer. Whether you like to shoot street scenes, landscapes, portraits or architecture - the urban environment offers a wealth of opportunities
By following some simple steps when planning your shoots and when you're out in the field, you'll be able to get the most out of any city that you're photographing.
New York City

Plan a shot list


The key to any successful photoshoot is research and planning. This is even more important when photographing a city.

There are many photo opportunities to be found – and to ensure that you maximise your time, you need to have a shoot plan, or otherwise known as a shot list.

A shot list is simply a list of what you want to try to cover on any given shoot. This might be a simple bullet point list places. or something more detailed like the exact location and time of the day you want to be there.

I print out maps and mark potential spots. I also include the time it will take me to get to places.

The basis of a good shot list is research and planning. I can honestly say that I spend more time researching and planning a city shoot than actually taking images.

Here’s how I go about researching my city shoots:

Define the purpose of the shoot – cities are big places and trying to photograph everything might be impractical. So, try to define precisely what you want to achieve.

Begin your research – once you have an idea of what you are going to be shooting, take time to research it. Begin by searching on the internet and make a note of any exciting locations. Look through social media for example photos of the places you are hoping to shoot. Browse Google Maps for points of interest.

Write a shot list – once you’ve gathered information, you can start to plan your shoot. The level of detail you want to go into will come down to you. I try to plan shoots on a spreadsheet almost to the hour – so that I know where I need to be. I factor in travel times between locations and even make contingency plans in case of bad weather. All of this helps me maximise my time and efficiency when on location.

I use a simple spreadsheet like this to plan out my city shoots.

2 Take your time

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when planning their shoots is trying to cram in too much… Trying to photograph everything will probably mean not photographing anything well.

Try to give yourself more time than you think you will need. Not only will this allow you to find unique angles and views, but it will also mean you can go back if the conditions aren’t right first time round.

Motion blur from traffic passing through the arches of Tower Bridge, over the River Thames, London. Image by Tom Wilkinson.

3 Always be ready

The great thing about photographing cities is that for all your planning, there will also always be spontaneous photo opportunities – so you need to be ready for them.

When on location, make sure your camera is out of your bag, it’s turned on with the lens cap off. The last thing you want when a great photo opportunity is in front of you, is to be scrambling around trying to find your camera.

Man crossing the street during the rain. Toronto, ON, Canada. Image by Sven Hartmann.

A good habit to get into is to continuously change your exposure settings every time you move to a different location.

For example, suppose you’re walking in a narrow, dark alleyway. In that case, you will likely need to raise your ISO so that your’e allowing more light to reach the camera. But when you’re in a main street and in bright sunshine, change your settings again by reducing your ISO.

This constant tweaking will ensure that your settings are approximate to what you want them to be when you need to take a photo.

Walking through subway with an umbrella. Image by Mark Harrop.

Get up early

If you want to shoot without the crowds, get up early in the morning.

Not only can you take advantage of the early morning golden hour light, but you’ll often find you have the place to yourself.

Crowds at Alhambra viewpoint, Granada in the afternoon.
The same spot just after sunrise. Images by Kav Dadfar.

Safety:

If you’re venturing out when there’s going to be less people around, be aware of your surroundings. If you’re not familiar with the area you’re photographing, try to go with someone else, or even ask a taxi to wait for you while you take photos.

Dawn at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Image by Kav Dadfar

5 Look for rivers and bridges


One of the most striking photos of any city is often its skyline.

The best places for cityscapes are often riversides or bridges as you’ll get a natural clearance to see the city.

It also means that you’ll have a spot where you can easily photograph the skyline at sunrise and sunset (using a tripod) to get those dramatic skies and soft light.

Picture taken at sunrise from the Millennium Bridge, London looking towards The Shard, with Tower Bridge is in the distance. Image from Colin Lines.

Google Street View is a great tool for finding good locations for these cityscape shots. For most of the famous cities around the world, you can pretty much find the exact spot that you need to be at using Street View.

But another good place to capture cityscapes is often from rooftop bars. Every city will have some restaurants, bars or even viewing platforms that offer great views.

The downside of these is that often they are not open at the ideal times for photography or there are entrance fees. Some also won’t allow tripods which makes it difficult to capture photos in low light conditions.

Tip:Look for hotel rooms that have a good view of the city. You can even ask when booking a room or checking-in if they can give you a city view room. I have lost count of the number of times that I have managed to take amazing cityscape shots from my hotel room.

Photographing the Bangkok skyline from a hotel balcony. Image by Kav Dadfar.

6 Head to markets

Markets are one of the best places to photograph in cities. They are a hub of activity, and if it’s a city you’re visiting – you will often be able to get a glimpse of everyday life.

From portraits of the market vendors to the moments of interaction, or the colourful variety of food and products on sale, they offer a range of opportunities for interesting and engaging shots. I always ensure I add markets to my shot list in any city.

The Rialto market in Venice. Image by Kav Dadfar.

7 Look for the details

Think of any city in the world and the first image that comes to mind is often the landmarks, but some of the most interesting shots can be found in overlooked details.

It could be architectural patterns, graffiti or even an interesting doorway. These details will help give your portfolio variety and also offer a different view of a well-photographed place.

Image by Kav Dadfar
Doorways in Pisa, Italy. Image by Francesco Del Santo.
Rooftops of Kavala, Greece. Image from Anna Sowinska.

Whether it’s a city you’re visiting, or the city that you live in – with these tips, some careful planning and some imagination – you’ll be getting those incredible cityscape shots in no time!


Kav Dadfar

Kav is a full-time photographer and author of 400+ articles. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Magazine Photography of the Year competition and leads small group photo tours around the world.

12 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Release Your Shutter

In my personal quest to improve my digital photography skills, I am constantly seeking guidance.

Recently I ran across what I consider to be a very important guide.

Twelve very important questions I think all photographers should ask themselves before each shot.  Considering these questions can and will improve your photography skills.

Utilizing these questions has greatly improved my efforts to produce impressive imagery.  You should consider:

  1. The Purpose 
  2. The Story You Wish To Tell
  3. The Position You Should Take
  4. Orientation
  5. Background
  6. Is the composition Straight? 
  7. Framing
  8. Light
  9. Focal Point
  10. Eye Flow
  11. Movement Within The Frame
  12. Color/Contrast

Commit To Memory

Excited about the expected outcome from my next photo adventure, I immediately committed them to memory in the order given.  

Eager to see the outcome from my newly acquired knowledge, I began using them, in the exact order given.

After trying this for a while, I realized that I was struggling to get through the process.  At first, I could not understand why the process was so difficult for me.  Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck and I realized that the order in which the questions were given did not fit my slowly developing style.  Causing, my shooting process to become slow and difficult.

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Make Adjustments

Even though each question needs to be addressed, the order just didn’t match my style.  So I decided to experiment with the sequence.  

My new sequence looks like this:

  1. Purpose
  2. Story
  3. Light
  4. Position
  5. Orientation (Landscape or Portrait)
  6. Framing
  7. Focal Point 
  8. Eye Flow
  9. Background
  10. Color/Contrast
  11. Streight
  12. Movement

This is my personal sequence, and so far it has served me well.  I can see a dramatic improvement in my photography.

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For a final note, I must interject two thoughts.  First, I sometimes let light lead me to my story, after all, photography is all about light.  And finally, I have learned to always shoot both orientations.  You will be surprised at what you may come up with.

Nature Moment

So play around and find your sequence and see if it improves your skills. 

Now Is The Time To Do What You Do!

It is truly a blessing and a wonderful feeling to wake up each day doing the things you truly love to do.  It is also amazing that those things create for you the lifestyle of your choosing.  For me it is travel photography.

Early in life I discovered my love for art.  Sketching in pencil, pen, ink, and charcoal.  Later in life I was introduced to analog photograph.  I became obsessed.  But, because of the cost of film and printing, I had to abandon this love.

Now that I am retired I have returned to my passion.  I am fascinated by this new era of digital imagery. Thus, the creation of Digital Age Professionals.

We first, had to consider who our potential customers were going to be.  Secondly, we had to identify the problems DAP could solve for these customers.  After, this we had to establish a location for our potential customers to visit.  

Web Site

Working from the digital format, our first step involved building our web site. Our website is our digital home (real estate).  We have made our home as delightful as possible.

As with any home we expect guest.  Guest come in two distinct forms, invited, and uninvited.  I don’t know about you but certain close friends are allowed to drop by anytime.  Of course, the option of admittance is entirely at my discretion  🙂

Then there are those uninvited guest.  That you really have to consider if they are worthy for admittance. However, with our business home we want everybody interested in our product or services to stop by at any and all times!

Marketing

Marketing, is where my problems began! I quickly realized that even though I had a web site, no one was stopping by.  I became very lonely. In this instance lonely equates too low income.  I had to quickly learn to market my product to those who are interested in my problem solving capabilities.

Thanks to Six Figure Mentors and AWeber I have now developed superior marketing skills and capabilities.  Not only for me, but to other business owners who have marketing problems.

Marketing is the most important part of our business development.  Without customers there is no business.

Choosing A Niche

Even though my problems began with marketing, choosing my niche quickly became my largest problem.  I am writing this post for all new marketeers who are wrestling with this very same problem.

Affiliate marketing got me started, then I soon realized that I had to develop marketing plans that were concentrated on a particular speciality according to my personal desire.  This is where the rubber meets the road.

I spent months trying to get this right.  I now understand that many marketeers struggle with this problem. Thankfully my love for photography led me to my perfect niche. 

By the way, what I have learned from all of this, is that finding the proper niche is an evolutionary process. Don’t get hung up, let your heart lead you to the lifestyle you desire.

Check out this blog:

https://digitalageprofessionals.com/2019/12/23/tip-of-the-week-creative-ideas-to-help-you-target-a-specific-niche-in-photography/

Health Wealth & Love……… “Namaste”

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Create Your Lifestyle!

Tip of the week: Creative ideas to help you target a specific niche in photography

Written by Nelson Ikheafe November 25, 2019
User archive

When starting out in the photography business, it’s tempting to be a jack of all trades, shooting everything that looks interesting. While this approach may get you hundreds of unique photos, it will not set you apart from the competition.

Competition is a good thing, professional photographers who have embraced the power of intense competition in stock photography have discovered the power of branding for a specific niche. A niche will help you learn and zero in on what works and what doesn’t.

What type of photography sparks your creative juices? Your passion should be an indicator of your photographic niche.

Embrace Competition

Succeeding in the crowded field of stock photography requires tenacity, a willingness to get out of your comfort zone and work. Those that have succeeded in stock photography, have discovered the power of being focused on a specific niche.

Research on different niches to find out about the competition, gather as much information as you possibly can to discover what works in the niche and what doesn’t. Gather relevant statistics about sales and market demand. This should help you come up with strategies for joining the niche.

Embracing competition also means seeking out new areas that are underserved. Look for what customers are constantly asking for, what seems to be in short supply, join photography forums listen to the hub talk. Discover where there is demand.

Creative photography

Photography is all about painting with light, Creative photography is an art that transcends all spheres, essentially this means that you can shoot any kind of image, your creativity is what will direct your photography business.

You cannot be an expert in landscape photography, portraits, astrophotography, weddings, food, street photography. Approaching photography creatively requires that you zero in on a specific niche, buy the right gear and practice to shoot amazing photos in this niche.

Creative photographers, don’t really have to be professional, they can be hobbyists with an eye to see what works and what doesn’t. If you are a hobbyist with a keen photographic eye, expand your knowledge level through training, courses, and practical applications, as you concentrate on your chosen niche.

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What is a niche?

The business dictionary defines a market niche as

“a small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer, Market niches do not exist by themselves but are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them.”

Photography has different specific niches, to discover which ones are profitable, and which ones aren’t you have to research. Study each niche in detail, and list only those niches that are of interest to you. Do you have the right gear and equipment for this niche?

Here is a list of a few niches that you can research on:

Real Estate Photography, Wedding Photography, newborns, Business, landscape Photography, Black and White Photography, Fashion Photography, Studio Photography, Street Photography Pet Photography, Photo-Journalism, Celebrity Photography, underwater Photography, Product Photography, Portrait Photography, amongst many others.

If you are a beginner starting out in photography, you will have limited knowledge about the equipment needed for specific niches. Start by learning about various types of photographic gear that will help shoot high-quality photos.

How do you identify a niche?

Your interest should lead you., Your interest, however, may not be good enough as an indicator of how profitable is. Researching about every area of your expertise to understand the market dynamics will help you settle on a profitable niche.

As we said earlier Photography is an art of painting with light, you may be good in one area and not the other, as an artist, identify areas you are good at. Proceed to do complete market research, this should direct your focus in the area that will eventually become your bread and butter.

When starting on your photographic journey, try out everything, see what works and what doesn’t, zero in on what is working. Study what prospective customers are asking for but seems to be in short supply. Are you in a position to work on meeting this demand? Do you have the required knowledge, expertise, and equipment to shoot images for this specific niche?

Before settling in one niche try out several niches to find out where your unique skills meet a demand in the market.

Challenges of niche Photography

Niche photography is a highly specialized approach to photography, it segments the industry into specific photography markets. Each market requires a specialized approach, in addition to special skills, some segments like astrophotography or insect photography require specialized equipment.

This means that no matter how passionate you are to shoot photos in a certain market, you might be limited by the availability of the right gear. Work in a niche that you have the right equipment and skills to produce high-quality images.

Your location will also determine the type of niche you can join, for example, if you live in the rural areas, you cannot shoot street photos, this, therefore, cannot be your specialty, unless you relocate to a city.

The location will also determine the type of images you can shoot, for example, you cannot shoot underwater images unless you live near a body of water. And have the right gear and scuba diving equipment.

Connect your brand to your niche

Once you have settled on a niche, prepare to ride the storms. As you go through the learning curves, you may find some months will be rough, you may be tempted to quit. Niche photography is a highly specialized photography genre that approaches a select group of buyers who may at first hesitate before committing to buying from you.

When you approach your niche with the end in mind you will stick in there for the long haul. Niche photography is a marathon and not a sprint. The easiest way to attract buyers fast is to have a wide selection of images in your niche.

Brand your images with a style template, as an individual your portfolio may not grow fast enough to stand out in the market. If you have the means you can hire other specialized photographers to shoot images that you can then post-process using your style template to retain uniformity.

If you do not have the means, build your business one brick at a time, work on your brand awareness, build your presence and don’t be in a hurry, the right buyers will eventually discover your unique talents.

Summary

Targeting a market niche is hard work, and is not for the faint-hearted, it is, however, the most rewarding and long-lasting successful way of joining this highly competitive business.

Do you want to make a stable career out of your photographic skills? Let stiff competition not derail your ambitions. Choose a niche, study the niche, roll up your sleeves and get to work, you will definitely succeed.

Photo credits: AlphaspiritFamveldmanIg0rzhIndra Eka PutraSrecko DjarmatiPhysykScyther5Sean PavoneWisconsinart.

Change Your Lifestyle! Prostitution is Illegal!

If you work a regular 9 to 5 job, you are a prostitute and your boss is a pimp. You provide the service for pennies, and he makes the big bucks. It is time for a change. It is time for a lifestyle change.

This economy is wholly based on consumerism. We trade our time for money so we can buy stuff. We always want more stuff so we invest more time to get more stuff. Then we have no time for the important things in life, our family.

Think about your job and your situation.

  • Does it really provide the lifestyle you want?
  • Are you compensated adequately for doing the job you do?
  • Are you sacrificing family time?
  • Do you have job security?
  • Are you tired of doing your job, and everybody else job?

If you continue to do the same thing, you get the same results. So you must make changes to create a better outcome. So how do you change your situation?

We were born to create. Consider your gifts and talents. Now, consider your passion. These should lead you to your purpose. Your purpose should be your gift to the universe.

 

Your Dream

Now consider starting your own business. Consider a business that can be built around your purpose that will enable you to shed your chains, and still provide the lifestyle you were born to live.

Technology has changed the whole landscape of Entrepreneurship. We now live in a “digital age”. This age of transformation allows us the opportunity to remove your shackles, and step into the lifestyle of the “Rich and Famous”.

This digital age opens the door to a virtually unlimited income, by extending your market area to encompass the whole world.

Step forward and begin your journey. Your “laptop lifestyle”, awaits.

BEGIN HERE!

 

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