Urban Photography: Everything you need to know

urban photography everything you need to know 61b0f45a4866d

If you are passionate about walking the streets of your city with great ideas to photograph , urban photography could be for you, so in this article you will find everything you need to know to get started in this photographic classification. Nowadays it is very popular because most people nowadays like to have photo shoots in various public places, but what are really urban photographs?

You should know what is needed for your photography to be classified as urban photography, and what they are not since there are very similar photographic styles such as street photography. That in this article you will find what you need about this type of photography so that you can prepare and have all the necessary knowledge to go out and take your urban photographs.

What is urban photography?

Urban photography is the art of using the urban environment as your scenery, this type of photography seeks an aesthetic and creative purpose. For urban photography the limit is your creativity to achieve the idea you have in mind since for this type of photography you can plan your shot, choose your model, look for the environment of the city where you want to take your photography, and take the elements or accessories that you require.

You can take street photography in any part of the urban environment , in places such as: buildings, streets, alleys, transportation, works, parks, bridges , avenues, etc.

If you don’t know your city, you have to go out and explore it and look for the most interesting places to take your pictures. This photographic is about playing and knowing how to use everything that is in the urban environment, from a park bench, a sign, monuments, buildings, phone booths, transportation, you can use all that as your great scenery the only limit is your imagination.

Urban photography: Parameters

Camera and Lens

Now that you know that for urban photography the most important thing is to get the image you have in mind, that is why we need a camera that has manual mode to be able to have control in all the parameters of your photographic taking.

According to the lens, the ideal is that it is a lens that allows you to get into the photo, it could be the case of a wide angle or a normal lens, preferably one that has several distances focal lengths if you need to cover more space in your frame.


For urban photography during the day your main source of light It will be natural light, you could use the dawn light which will give you a type of warm light, or the so-called golden hour where the rays of light do not shine directly but are softened and blurred filling your shot in one shot. range of yellows, oranges and reds. If you plan to carry out your session when the light is direct, it may be a bit difficult to control the flashes, you can help yourself from the shadows of buildings, houses, or some element of the urban environment so as not to have excess light.

You should know how to use the light in your favor for the photo, you can take some shots against the light, it is also advisable to photograph in the same place at different times and see which one you It works more but remember that it is based on the photography you have in mind. And to take urban photography at night you will have to use all the external lights to your advantage.


You need a bit of observation to know how to use the elements found in the urban environment and to be able to use them to your advantage in the composition, you could use some graffiti that is in the streets and use their colors and texture to help compose your photo. In the streets there are too many elements with which they can help you use the compositional technique of natural frame, in the streets you can find thousands of possibilities to use this technique and frame your urban photos, if you want to know a little more about composition read the article from photographic composition .

Another element for your composition is to help you with horizontal lines or diagonal lines, these can also provide a sensation of movement or guide your gaze to your point of interest. In the middle urban you can find many patterns which you can capture, in the streets you can find patterns of objects such as lighting lamps, chairs, bars, etc. You can also explore the area of ​​reflections such as puddles of water or the windows of buildings, all these elements can help the composition of your photography.

Fotografía Urbana- composición


You can use all the movement that takes place in the urban environment to your advantage to give an extra touch to your photography, for example the movement of the bus, metro, transport or the movement of people in the street, you can help with the sweeping technique. You can also use your shutter speed to perform jumps, throw objects, or some other element that moves too fast and you want to freeze its movement.

In urban photography at night you can use the sweep with the lights as it is also a good way to represent the movement, in this case the lights of the cars will help you. Another technique that you can use is the zoom, this is done with the lens of your camera, this technique gives a feeling of closeness.

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Photographing from a good angle will help your photography to make it competitively more interesting, when you go out to take your urban photographs you can experiment with the angle of your frame. From a slightly elevated place or large buildings can help you to compose with a good perspective with the contra angle and if there is the possibility an overhead shot will make your photograph exceptional.

You can use the normal angle on flat terrain, such as on the street, however remember to see from all perspectives as it will make your photography more interesting.

Edition and Color

For urban photography it is nice to give it a digital retouch that improves the aesthetics of your photos you can use some software such as adobe photoshop and adobe lightroom , in which you can add lights, shadows, retouch the skin, and above all you can give a touch to the colors by choosing the correct tones that best suit your photo.

In urban photography, they are mostly processed in color because in urban areas we can find too many striking colors that make an interesting photograph. There are those who experiment with taking photographs in black and white and only highlight some aspects in color, such as the lights.

Remember that this photographic style allows you to prepare for the shot, so you can help a bit of makeup techniques such as Contouring which is one of the best makeup techniques to highlight the face and get incredible photos and thus it does not take so long to photo retouching.

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Urban photography and Street photography

You have probably heard about street photography and urban photography and you came to think that they are the same since both take place in the urban environment , however there are details that make the difference one from another from the other:

Urban photography seeks aesthetics and technique, in street photography the message.

An urban photograph can be prepared and intervened, in street photography it is spontaneous and natural.

In urban photography it demands more quality in the image and in street photography the story matters more.

Urban photography requires a model, in street photography they are totally unknown people you photograph.

Now that you know one of the differences of these two great styles, and you want to learn from the street photo, with the sig. article you can delve a little more into the street photography or street photography .

Nighttime urban photography

Urban photography at night is very fascinating, and it is usually very striking because of all the external lights that are captured and you can use to illuminate your scene such as the lights of a car, the neon lights of business signs, buildings, illuminated advertisements, even public lighting.

You should consider that due to the lack of natural light you will have to carry a tripod with you since it will be your main accessory so that you do not resort to using too much ISO and your photography becomes grainy and have a stable intake. There may be little light from public lighting in certain places, but it is an incredible place to photograph so you may consider bringing portable lamps to illuminate your shots.

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Fotografia Urbana para Inspire you

Time to photograph

Now that you know what urban photography entails, you can go out and carry out the ideas you have in mind and use the streets as the best scenery for your photos. Remember each element, and each parameter so that your photography is considered urban.

If you think urban photography is not your thing and you prefer to know more types of photographs , or you want to start developing a style, this is for you the blog of What is the photographic style and how to develop it?

Urban Photography: Everything you need to know
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