- What Is Urban Landscape Photography?
- Urban Landscape Photography Techniques
- Cautions for Urban Landscape Photography
- Displaying Urban Landscape Photography
- Selling Urban Landscape Photography
- Recommended Photography Gear
- How To Have More Fun with Your Photos
- Advanced Photography Tips for More Professional-Looking Photos
- Why You Should Print Your Images on Metal
- 4 Surefire Photography Marketing Tips
- How To Grow Your Photography Business
- Beginner Tips for Selling Your Photos
Photo by fotoVoyager via iStock
Urban landscapes are a fascinating form of photography to capture and view. With urban landscape photography, we can combine architectural photography with urban photography ideas and create pics ranging from fine art to journalism.
What is involved in making urban landscape photography images? Is it similar to natural landscape and wildlife photography? What techniques fit best with urban landscape photography? Are there any cautions for making urban landscapes?
I’ll touch on each subject with tips and ideas and show you a great method of displaying your urban landscape photography as wall art. Finally, I’ll show some ideas for making money from your urban photography.
Table of Contents:
What Is Urban Landscape Photography?
Photo by Christopher Wilks via iStock
So, what exactly is urban landscape photography? Its landscape photography primarily focused on man-made objects - large or small cities and towns and the things in them that have visual interest.
When searching for landscape photography ideas, you will often find sites with expansive vistas of mountains, forests, the oceanside, streams, rolling fields of wildflowers, and so on. But you can also include close-up views of natural things.
Similarly, with urban landscape photography, a panoramic view of a downtown scene with skyscrapers, as in the opening image of London, is definitely urban landscape photography, but so is a neighborhood of houses, a shopping mall (inside or out), a strip center of storefronts like the Venice Beach pic above, or a lone mailbox or fire hydrant.
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
Whether purposefully designed and commissioned or created as graffiti, a wall mural can be captured and then seen as a form of fine art, street photography, or gritty photojournalism. Subtle changes in composition or exposure can significantly affect how the final image is perceived.
Architectural photography subjects fall under the urban landscape photography umbrella, even if the image is abstract or a small slice of a larger structure. The row of broken doors in front of graffiti in Norman, Oklahoma, above could be street photography, architectural, or almost abstract.
Check out this YouTube video from Hugh Brownstone on the B&H Photo Video channel:
Though he’s in the heart of the greatest city in the world, New York, New York, the tools, techniques, and creative ideas, he describes work just as well in Phoenix, Houston, Tokyo, London, or Kansas City, or in any smaller place, such as Fort Collins, Colorado, Bakersfield, California, Millsboro, Delaware, or Sioux City, Iowa.
If it’s man-made, it fits. With such a broad definition of urban landscapes, I can see a lot of different creative ideas fitting into your viewfinder.
Urban Landscape Photography Techniques
Photo by ilbusca via iStock
Urban landscape photography techniques and methods are every bit as numerous as the techniques we use for natural landscapes, product photography, or portraits.
A wonderful technique that sometimes gets overlooked by beginners is shooting in Black and White, aka B&W. In the escalator image above, being shot or finished in B&W really makes the image an attention grabber. Most digital cameras have a B&W mode, or you can use a simple post-processing program like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to adjust afterwards.
Controlling the depth of field is a major technique for urban landscape photography. Deep depth of focus or a limited selective focus technique can be used to your advantage. These focus techniques are adjusted by your camera and lens controls, the lens aperture, focal length, and focusing distance.
Photo by coldsnowstorm via iStock
Apparent perspective is also a very useful set of techniques for urban landscape photography. In the photo of suburban homes above, the foreshortening effect of a long telephoto lens is combined with the deep depth of field of a small lens aperture, allowing the stacked-up feel of the housing row along with seeing the downtown city center in the background.
Photo by CHUNYIP WONG via iStock
When used creatively, the point of view (POV) and other composition techniques will also vary the final image. In the urban skyscraper forest seen above, POV is used as a creative technique, and so are depth of field, color contrast, and exposure contrast.
Adding the human element is also a valid tool. The subject elements are man-made, after all. Sometimes, a scene is put into perspective by having a person show the scale of the other elements. Other times, you may want to delete people from a scene by shooting several frames and using a bracket and merge program, choosing to “ghost” the people out of the image.
Cautions for Urban Landscape Photography
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
How many creative techniques can you see in the above image of the Brooklyn Bridge? I see Leading Lines, Asymmetry, POV, Contrast, Shadows, and Deep Depth of Field.
It's also in Portrait (vertical) orientation instead of Landscape (horizontal) view. Just because it's an urban landscape image doesn’t mean you’re limited to only using the horizontal or landscape image orientation. Many excellent compositions could be improved by changing from one orientation to the other.
You also see a person or two in the image, as we do in several examples I’ve used. The human element can add to the interest of an urban landscape photography image. That human element can also be a cause of some issues.
Just as when hiking in the backcountry, looking for a great view, we need to be aware of hazards such as wild animals. In the same line of thought, anyone shooting urban landscapes needs to be aware of safety and unwanted attention. If you feel unsafe, leave. There is always another day or another place.
Photo by xavierarnau via iStock
Even without running into anyone with nefarious intent, simply being on a bustling city street, like in the Times Square image above, has possible hazards for you as a photographer and for others around you. Bumping into someone and dripping your camera, someone tripping over your tripod’s legs, or something else unexpected should be watched for and avoided.
Also, be on the lookout for tripping hazards while you walk, uneven sidewalks, piles of trash, loose animals, construction hazards, private property, no trespassing signs, and so on. While in most places, public access is public access, some local municipalities, property owners, or social norms of the area may limit what can and can not be shot as urban landscape photography.
Displaying Urban Landscape Photography
Now that you’ve captured and finished your urban landscape photography images, you’ll want to display them. I love using large metal prints enlargements for urban landscapes and architectural photography.
Artbeat Studios makes outstanding quality HD Metal prints like the one seen above and is a great company for other printing styles, such as Canvas Prints, HD Acrylics, and Fine Art Paper. They use ChromaLuxe® brand aluminum sheets for the highest quality and can print in regular and custom sizes up to 40x60”.
Mounting and displaying a metal print is part of what makes metal so special for urban landscape photography. Imagine a print as big as the one above and mounted virtually flush to a wall with just a minor offset from the wall surface created by the inset or use a low profile flush mount. The impact of the large, flat display is amazing to see in person.
Selling Urban Landscape Photography
How does a photographer make money from urban landscape photography? Artbeat Studios can help there, too. Here’s how to do it: Make your own metal prints and display them in your office or studio.
When your clients see one, they’ll ask for one for their own wall. A gallery display of physical prints or one on your computer can be used to show different urban photography images you have available for resale.
You can also create an online gallery and use the Artbeat Studios eCommerce Integration tools. Then, with white label drop shipping, your customer gets a print in the size and other options they choose without you touching anything. You set your prices, and Artbeat Studios sends you the profit.
Photo by mihaillomilovanovic via iStock
Another great method for making money from your urban landscape photography is by using a stock agency. Stock agencies sell image rights for use in publishing and other venues and then pay you a royalty. The stock agency many photographers like using is iStock, but there are several good ones. Check out some of my previous articles about passive selling.
That’s why the urban landscape photographer seen above is smiling. He’s making money off of something he enjoys! I use several stock agencies myself. I sell image rights for my own photos, and I buy usage rights for articles such as this one.
Urban landscape photography is fun, fascinating, and can actually create income for you. What’s not to love about that?