5 ways to shoot better urban landscapes

With 82% of the UK's population living in urban areas, our towns and cities are an epicentre of activity and the perfect place to capture dynamic landscapes with a creative twist.

1. Avoid eye contact
If you look directly at your subject, they’re more likely to notice the camera, which can stop your image looking natural. So a good technique is to stare off in some other direction as you shoot.

2. Use a shutter release cable
Placing your finger on the shutter button indicates to your subject that you’re about to take a photo, which again causes unnatural results. A good way around this is to use a shutter release cable or wireless remote. I like to hold my remote inside a jacket pocket so I can work unnoticed.

3. Work from an elevated position
Shooting from the same level as everyone else can make it difficult to get a decent shot, especially in a very crowded space. If you can, find an elevated spot and work from there. This might be shooting from a balcony or bridge, or it could be standing at the top of some steps.

4. Shoot in RAW
Working in an uncompressed file format will give you more control when it comes to processing your shot. In particular, you’ll be able to bring out detail in the shadows without excessive noise.

5. Use a spirit level
It can be difficult in cluttered urban environments to tell if your camera is perfectly level, so a simple hotshoe spirit level can come in very handy. Alternatively, you can activate your camera’s artificial horizon if it has this feature built in.

This article was first published in the May 2016 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.