South African professional photographer Shavan Rahim’surban landscape images have appeared in many a magazine – he shares his top tips on getting that perfect shot of a cityscape.
How to photograph Cityscapes
1 SHOOT IN THE GOLDEN HOUR
The best tip I can give you is something really simple… Shoot in good light. Good light can be found during sunset and sunrise, these are known as the golden hours. You may also extend these times to pre-sunrise and post-sunset.
2 GET LOST
I do a lot of walking on my trips to get to know the location. This may sound like an odd piece of advice and may be a little nerve-wracking, but try to get lost. You will inevitably come across interesting sights that are not very common.
3 AVOID THE CROWDS
Thronging crowds will spoil even the best camera angles. The only way to avoid this in a city is to get up earlier and stay out later. Sure, you may sacrifice an hour of sleep, but the results will be worth it.
4 GET THE RIGHT ANGLE
Take images from different angles. Don’t just shoot standing up with your camera or mobile phone in front of your face. Find a higher (but safe) spot such as a bench or low wall, or shoot down low from pavement level. You can always delete unwanted pics if you are using a digital camera.
5 GET THE FEELING
Try to portray what it feels like to be in that place. By doing this you will naturally pay more attention to the surroundings and focus on what you want in your image.
6 CAPTURE SOME CANDID MOMENTS
Capturing the city’s inhabitants doing what they usually do can also make for a great image – be it laughing and having fun, or simply enjoying a local market.
7 GET SOME EDITING APPS
Lastly, learn how to use a few editing apps, just to get that little bit extra from the shot. With my DSLR camera, I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as my key programs; there are many great mobile phone photo-editing apps too.
WORDS & IMAGES Shavan Rahim
Shavan has been working as a professional photographer for the past 13 years. He shoots everything from travel destinations to fashion, food and décor. Cape Town-based, he travels the world to shoot for clients that include Ackermans, Mercedes-Benz, VISI, Plascon and Pep Africa. He also travels to Dubai on photography assignments for an architectural firm and a few resorts.