Con­sider your com­po­si­tion

Digital Photo (UK) - - HOW TO SHOOT -

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.

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