Consider your composition
Creating a dynamic composition is a fun challenge when shooting in cities, because there are lots of elements to work with to tie into your shot. If you want a skyline image of a city – one that will be instantly recognisable to the viewer – you’ll need a clear viewpoint on your scene. One way to do this is to get above the city, by seeking out tourist observation decks, multi-storey carparks or higher ground if the terrain allows. Riverfronts also offer brilliant opportunities for unobstructed views of city skylines, and you can also bring in reflections or use a long shutter speed to artistically blur the water.
Alternatively, try framing up from a low angle so the city looms high in your image. Find an element of foreground interest, like cobbles, pavement art or even painted parking restrictions, to lead the viewer into your image. When shooting from a low angle it helps to use your camera’s Live View to see your composition. For an aesthetically pleasing frame, a good starting point is to use the rule-of-thirds. This divides the frame both horizontally and vertically into three equal slices, and key components of the composition should be placed along these lines. For example, you might place the key point of interest on a vertical ‘thirds’ line, and the skyline on the upper horizontal ‘thirds’ line. This helps to create an off-centre composition that is more pleasing to the eye, producing both balance and complexity without making the image look too busy. Also look out for lead-in lines to use in your city shots. These are any linear elements that begin by the edge of your frame and lead towards the main point of interest, helping to guide the viewer’s eye. You can use roads, railings or any other architectural structure that serves this purpose to build a better shot.
Find lead-in lines to guide the viewer’s eye into the image.