Cities can be tough to shoot even for experienced photographers. In this gallery, get tips on how to capture the essence of urban spaces.
Here, a wide-angle lens offers a sprawling view of Florence from the top of the city's famous Duomo, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Photo Tip: Because the angle of view of the wide-angle lens is much greater than that of the telephoto or standard lens, it’s obviously the lens to use where there’s limited space or the subject is large.
A strainer full of noodles, fresh off an open fire, commands the total concentration of a cook in Bangkok's Chinatown. The skill of such street chefs, and the aroma of their creations, proves irresistible to many passersby.
Photo Tip: Dining is a big part of the travel experience. Cuisine and dining traditions are emblematic of local culture. They’re one of the most tangible ways that one destination is distinguishable from another.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Like the outline of a mountain peak, a tower of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible above the summer fog in San Francisco Bay. Following the rush for gold in the late 19th century, the bay’s harbor attracted sailing ships from around the globe, and a great American city was born.
Photo Tip: The sunny f/16 rule: If you are attempting to make a landscape photograph without a tripod, inverse the ISO in selecting your shutter speed. For instance, with a 200 ISO you would select 1/200 of a second at f/16.
Hong Kong Cityscape, China
A flash of red plies the nighttime waters of the South China Sea as shining skyscrapers mark the prosperity of Hong Kong. With seven million people living in its 426-square-mile (1,103-square-kilometer) region, the Asian megaport is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Photo Tip: Local architecture is an important part of any destination, but building shots tend to be dull. A dependable remedy is to compose with a compelling foreground element.
Ireland’s music has a storied history that runs the gamut from traditional Celtic sounds to U2’s anthemic rock. Here, Irish musicians play their fiddles at a tavern while enjoying a pint.
Photo Tip: Work your way into a situation. If you see something interesting, don’t be satisfied with just a wide shot. Don’t be shy—people are usually happy to show you what they do well.
Istiqlal Mosque, Indonesia
Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, one of the largest in the world, can hold more than 70,000 worshippers at a time. Arab traders brought Islam to the region a thousand years ago. Today Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.
Photo Tip: If you use a tripod and a very slow shutter speed to shoot a moving subject, you can get a dramatic contrast between sharp and blurred detail.
Miaokou Night Market, Taiwan
Chilung's Miaokou Night Market has an old temple at its center, but the main focus here is feasting. The market’s yellow lanterns illuminate a mouthwatering array of traditional Taiwanese snack foods, including savory noodle soups, oyster omelets, snails, sticky rice, and tripe. Taiwanese and tourists alike say no visit is complete without a fruity “bubble ice” dessert—black plum is a local favorite.
Photo Tip: Find leading lines and use them to lead the eye into your picture. Leading lines are most effective as diagonals.
Kremlin Gates, Moscow, Russia
The shot was taken in February at one of the Kremlin gates.
Photo Tip: Show subjects your pictures to raise enthusiasm. The digital display screen has largely replaced the Polaroid print for this purpose
Dingle Peninsula Pub, Ireland
The number of visitors to Dingle skyrocketed after the scenic harbor town served as the setting for the Academy Award-winning Ryan’s Daughter, a 1970 film starring Robert Mitchum. Today, the town officially goes by the Gaelic name of An Daingean (“the fortress”) and relies heavily on the annual summer influx of tourists.
Photo Tip: Your compositions should be strong and uncluttered but also strive to have a depth of content in a single image.
Taj Mahal, India
Reflecting the passions of Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal in Agra was built in the mid-1600s as a tomb for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Later he was buried beside her. Covering most of India—and known under Shah Jahan's grandfather Akbar for religious tolerance—the Mogul Empire collapsed in the early 1700s.
Photo Tip: Unusual perspectives and composition can make familiar subjects more fun.
Elevated Highway, China
Shanghai's ever growing network of highways rings the city and links more than 500 cities across 22 provincial areas.
Photo Tip: Be bold and fill the viewfinder with your subject.
Foggy Chicago Street
Chicago on a foggy morning
Photo Tip: Something to consider when taking your picture is your point of view. A picture can be more interesting when taken from an unusual angle.
Cable Car, San Francisco
Headed to Fisherman’s Wharf, a San Francisco cable car travels through Russian Hill, a residential area with cafés and shops.
Photo Tip: To stop a racing car, or someone riding a bicycle, start with 1/1000 of a second.
Bazaar Tents, Turkey
Bright white tents frame an aerial view of vendors and shoppers at a Turkey market.
Photo Tip: In 90 percent of cases, auto white balance, like autoexposure, produces great results.