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Photographer Javan Ng !nds lots of inspiration in cities, as he !nds the dramatic collision of people and architecture gives each city a unique essence and existence. To him, there are photo opportunities anytime, anywhere, so he’s bringing you !ve tips for getting the most out of your Urban Photography.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REFLECTIONS
R elections are everywhere in modern cities. You and them on building glass facades, lakes, rivers and even water puddles on the streets. Javan loves using beautiful reflective qualities in his compositions to create wonderful effects, and recommends you try this technique to make shots that are distinctly your own.
This photo was taken at twilight at the Art-Science Museum in Singapore. Javan walked around the lily pond and got down to almost water level to and just the right composition with the perfect reflection. Placing his camera and lens as close to the edge of the pond as possible, he took a long exposure.
In Lightroom, he rrst pulled down the highlights and whites of the image to balance the overall tone. Next, he brought up the shadows in the photo to brighten the darker portions of the image. The reduction of highlights and the brightening of shadows left the image lacking in contrast, so Javan adjusted the tone curve accordingly with a simple S-Curve to bring back some of the punch.
SHOOT FROM LOW ANGLES TO GET A WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE
T his image was taken when Javan was exploring Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia. Walking toward Sydney Harbour Bridge, Javan spotted this small puddle of water next to the curb at the back of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, so he crouched down and used the live view mode to frame the shot, giving a worm’s eye view of the world, but not before someone walked into his frame. That added an interesting subject to his shot besides the Harbour Bridge.
While editing in Lightroom, Javan used healing brush mode in the spot removal tool to remove the steel beam that was sticking out in the top right corner of the frame. He also adjusted the white balance, contrast and exposure to bring out the mid-day warm tones. Then, he brought the highlights down and the shadows up to show the details of the bridge and the reflection, Finishing by adding a bit of clarity and vibrance to the image.
GO INDOORS AND GO BLACK AND WHITE FOR AN EXTRA URBAN LOOK
U rban photography is not just restricted to outdoors. You can capture some great indoor scenes too. Whether it’s an offce lobby, museum, shopping centre or even the local train station, there are often shots to be had. Javan took this subway photo when he was living in New York. To capture the bustling and fast pace of New York City subway commuters, he used a slower shutter speed of 1/25s to show a bit of the movement from the commuters coming out of the subway train.
And nothing says city quite like a black and white photo. To give his photo a high impact, urban feeling, Javan turned it black and white in Lightroom. He brought the highlights down and the shadows up. Next, he added contrast and clarity to the image. He also used the tone curves to further enhance the contrast of the image. To pull his viewers to the center of the image and to enhance the mood, he used the vignette tool to darken the edges of the image.
BAD WEATHER PRESENTS GREAT PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES
J avan loves capturing images during bad weather. Be it rain or snow, these weather conditions present great photo opportunities just waiting to be captured. Rainy days can add drama and a sense of moodiness to your images, transforming ordinary urbanscapes into mysterious and unique settings.
He took this photo on a wet day at Marina Bay in Singapore. To keep his gear dry, he found a sheltered spot at Marina Bay Sands overlooking Marina Bay’s skyscrapers. Javan also wanted to include a pop of color on a gloomy day, so he waited for someone with a bright colored umbrella to walk into his frame.
To bring out the details in the clouds, he brought the highlights down in Lightroom. He also added a bit of clarity and brightened the image by bringing the shadows up and adjusted the whites in Lightroom to achieve a soft and brighter foreground.
DISCOVER SYMMETRY IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
C ities are full of symmetry – where there is so much architecture – it’s everywhere. Use the urban symmetry in your city to highlight the subject of your photos and strengthen your composition.
This image was taken under the Esplanade Bridge in Singapore. Using the symmetry of the bridge, Javan waited for an interesting subject to come into his frame before he snapped the photo. He exposed by metering for the skyscraper and sky. This helps him keep details in the sky and yet still have some details in the dark areas under the bridge.
In Lightroom, Javen pulled the highlights down to bring out the details in the sky and recovered the details in dark areas by bringing the shadows and whites up. Using the radial lter, he brightened up his subject (the female cyclist) a bit. He also added a bit of clarity and adjusted the curves to further accentuate the whites and blacks for a more contrasting look.