City Skyline Photography Tips

Skylines are fingerprints of the city, each different and unique in their own special way. Set against the backdrop of the sky, the skyscrapers and other tall structures are a sight to behold. Some like New York City, with the magnificent and stately Empire State Building, are instantly recognizable. With a few tips, capturing the magnificence of urban skylines can be done by all photographers, both amateur and professional alike.

Finding a good vantage point to photograph the skyline in its entirety can make the picture more appealing. This can either be at the base of the skyline, looking up at the structures, from across a body of water, or even from the rooftop of a nearby building. However, don’t limit yourself to what’s predictable. Experimenting from and with different angles will give you interesting perspectives that may surprise you.

Having the right gear is important, but even if you don’t have an expensive DSLR camera with a wide lens, you can still try to capture a city skyline with a digital point and shoot. Be familiar with the different settings on your camera so that you’ll be able to adjust accordingly. Some might even have preset scenes that can do all the work for you.

Most photographers suggest shooting without the flash on, especially given the way light plays off the structures. You may also want to think about photographing at dusk or twilight because the vanishing sunlight can provide a spectacular and dramatic effect to your city skyline photograph. Similarly, don’t be afraid to photograph in seemingly less than ideal weather conditions. While photos with clear blue skies and sunshine can be nice, they can also be predictable. Dark storm clouds can add another layer of interest to your skyline photo so take advantage of unforeseen weather conditions.

You may also want to use a tripod so you can take time lapse and long exposure photographs, and prevent your shots from being blurry. Likewise, if your camera has remote capabilities, use it to eliminate even more blurriness from your photos, especially for night shots.

Compose the photograph so that the eye is drawn to the most prominent landmark in the skyline. Or if you really want to think outside the box, focus on something that’s not as well-known, but perhaps is equally as striking. Skyline photos also work well according to the rule of thirds. By using the natural lines of the buildings positioned along the top third of the photo and framing the buildings to align within the vertical guidelines, you can create more tension and visual interest in the shot.

However and wherever you decide to take your pictures, whether it’s at night or as the sun begins to rise, have fun with it. There are no wrong ways to take a photograph as long as you’re happy with the shots that you’ve captured.