Three simple steps to capture the city
A deep depth of field is the foundation of any engaging city shot. Follow these steps to start shooting like a pro
Capturing a vibrant city shot is a wonderful memento of a visit somewhere, as well as an opportunity to show off your shooting skills! With the right approach, it’s easy to create engaging and exciting images of any urban space, whether it’s Manchester or Manhattan: size doesn’t matter, it’s how you shoot that counts.
Before you start setting up your camera, it’s worth spending some time to find the perfect viewpoint. This can be difficult at street level, so look to get up higher, or shoot across the open space created by a river. Also consider what time of day would be best for your shot. One of the most aesthetic hours for cityscapes is dusk when the electric lights begin to shine.
1 Set up your camera
Switch your camera to Aperture priority (A or Av on the mode dial) and select the highest f/number possible – usally f/22 on most lenses – to create a large depth of field for sharp detail throughout the frame. Set your ISO to its lowest setting, on most cameras this is ISO 100 and will produce the best image quality free from grain. For the most control when you edit your shots, including rescuing detail and White Balance (WB) control, it’s best to set your camera’s Image Quality to RAW rather than JPEG within the shooting menu.
2 Frame up on a tripod
To keep a subject pin-sharp use a tripod to keep your camera steady during the exposure. When using a tripod, it’s always best to use the thickest legs first, and only the thinner legs if you need the height. You’ll also remain more stable if you refrain from extending the centre column. Hanging your kitbag from the hook below the centre column will also weigh the tripod down for added stability. To avoid any shake in your shots, you should set a 2sec self-timer or use a shutter release cable when it comes to taking the shot.
3 Focus and shoot!
To set the focus with fine precision it’s best to do it manually. Select Manual Focus by setting the AF/M switch on your camera or lens to the M position. Activate Live View and use the magnify controls to zoom into the image, and navigate with the D-pad to the area you want to set as the focal point. Twist the rotating focus ring on the front of your lens to set the focus. Exit Live View to save your battery, and you’re now all set up to shoot – so capture the scene and admire the results!
An aperture setting of f/22 has produced a big depth of field for front to back sharpness.