photographing a city-matt-murray

At all times be looking out for attention-grabbing scenes in cities. I noticed this view in Taipei from a metro prepare and went again at nightfall.

You have got two days and two nights to {photograph} a metropolis you’ve by no means been to earlier than. How will you take advantage of this chance and are available away with wonderful photographs?

You could possibly simply flip up with out a lot advance thought and ship a surprising set of photographs that matches the temporary completely. Leaving issues to likelihood shouldn’t be all the time one of the best plan, although. You’ll be higher ready and extra assured should you analysis and plan your journey upfront.

Whether or not you’re working for a consumer, an editor, or taking photographs on your personal portfolio, the following pointers will show you how to take advantage of your journey. Here’s a information to photographing a metropolis and one of the best it has to supply in 48 hours.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Discover what is exclusive about your vacation spot and seize it.

What’s distinctive concerning the metropolis?

The primary query you should ask is what makes town distinctive? Does it have gorgeous structure? An unimaginable meals scene? Distinctive modes of transport? Vibrant markets? Be sure you maintain this in thoughts as you intend your journey.

What varieties and kinds of photographs are you being requested to ship?

What sort of photographs are you, your consumer, or your editor anticipating? Discover out what their expectations are in as a lot element as potential. Is there a selected fashion or theme you should shoot for? Will your photographs be used to accompany a narrative on a selected topic, for promoting, or as a standalone picture essay?

Consider the ultimate use of your photographs. Will you should seize panorama or portrait orientation photographs? Do you should shoot photographs with destructive house to permit for textual content to be overlaid?

Picture fashion is a vital consideration. Is your consumer on the lookout for shiny, colourful photographs? Pictures displaying well-known landmarks? Hidden gems? Pictures with a shallow depth of area? Moody black and white photographs? Pictures of individuals experiencing town? It’s essential to get settlement on this too.

Create a temper board

Visualizing your photographs earlier than you go may help the planning course of. A technique you possibly can obtain that is by making a temper board for the journey, displaying the kinds and the fashion of photographs you’ll purpose to provide. The excellent news is, it’s simple to do with a device resembling Pinterest.

A temper board can be helpful should you don’t have a proper temporary. Should you create one for your self or your consumer displaying the sort and magnificence of photographs you plan to take, this could stimulate additional dialogue. It is likely to be precisely what they’re after, or it might immediate them to become involved within the course of and counsel adjustments.

photographing a city-matt-murray

On my checklist of photographs for Taronga Zoo was an iconic view of the Sydney with animals – fortunately, this giraffe helped me out!

Climate and local weather

The following factor to analysis is the anticipated climate and local weather at your vacation spot. Keep in mind, some locations, resembling London and Melbourne, are infamous for variable situations all 12 months spherical. Getting a way of what to anticipate will assist along with your day by day planning and might information your selections for clothes and tools.

For instance, should you’re heading to Asia through the moist season, you’ll want to consider taking clothes and digicam gear that’s waterproof, whereas should you’re on a visit to someplace scorching and dry, resembling Dubai or Dying Valley, chances are you’ll want to contemplate a hat and sunscreen.

Subsequent, take a look at the dawn and sundown occasions for town when you may be there and plan your day accordingly. Make a remark of them and consider crucial photographs you should seize at these occasions. These occasions can even point out the variety of sunlight hours you may have on location.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Autumn in Sydney was a great alternative to seize golden leaves.

On-line planning sources

Two sources that may assist you’re the Photographers Ephemeris and PhotoPills. These helpful guides for photographers additionally offer you data like how lengthy the blue hour and golden hour final for, the route of the solar at dawn and sundown, and rather more. This may be very useful, although, keep in mind, in built-up environments, you’ll by no means actually understand how the sunshine falls in your scene till you’re there.

Background metropolis analysis

Researching your vacation spot is among the most essential issues to do earlier than you allow. Be taught as a lot as you possibly can. Potential sources of data embrace journey magazines, journey blogs, official tourism web sites, and YouTube movies. It’s additionally worthwhile downloading guidebooks from firms resembling Lonely Planet, or should you’re on a decent funds, you could possibly borrow them from a pal or your native library.

As you’re doing this analysis, make a remark of earlier protection the vacation spot has had in revealed articles or picture essays. Should you plan to make use of the identical or comparable angle, purpose to seize the vacation spot in a novel or higher means.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Picture analysis

Pay shut consideration to the sorts of photographs used for instance and promote this metropolis. What fashion are they? Do they fall into a selected style? What sort of lenses do you assume the photographer used? That is all helpful data.

Then flip to extra visible references. What sort of photographs present up on your vacation spot utilizing a Google picture search? Is there a well-known view of town you’d wish to seize? Subsequent, search on Instagram. Take a look at photographs utilized by the official metropolis or nation accounts, standard hashtags on your vacation spot and even geolocation picture searches.

Check out latest Instagram posts, fastidiously studying the outline. Was the picture taken in the previous few days? If it was, this may show you how to perceive the climate or lighting situations at your vacation spot. If there isn’t any context to when the picture was taken, it might’ve been from final month or final 12 months.

One other key place for researching your vacation spot is inventory images websites. What photographs are one of the best sellers for town? Preserve these in thoughts once you’re capturing. In addition to your essential consumer, consider different markets the place you could possibly promote your photographs resembling inventory libraries.

photographing a city-matt-murray

At all times search for element photographs at your vacation spot that present the lifestyle.

Create your shot checklist

I like journey images because it consists of so many different genres. On a single project, you possibly can embrace landscapes, cityscapes, avenue scenes, portraits, meals photographs, element photographs, structure, and documentary-style photographs. Keep in mind this as you create your shot checklist.

First, lock within the areas you should be for dawn and sundown and have a tough plan for the remainder of the day. Plot these areas on a map and be sure you’re leaving your self sufficient time to go searching and {photograph} surprising sights. Typically one of the best photographs at a vacation spot usually are not the stuff you anticipate to see, however stuff you didn’t anticipate to see.

Then checklist the following most essential photographs for you or your consumer. Make these a precedence.

Attempt to seize well-known landmarks in a brand new or attention-grabbing means. This could possibly be via the body of a doorway or window, a mirrored image, or a totally totally different angle or viewpoint not used earlier than.

Jot down a reminder to get a great number of photographs at every location you go to – panorama orientation, portrait orientation, photographs with destructive house, and pictures that crop effectively for Instagram. Additionally, assume again to why this metropolis is exclusive or unique and make a remark to get photographs of the meals, individuals, clothes – something that’s totally different.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Reserving your lodge

Now you’ve created your shot checklist, take a look at the important thing areas in your map, and guide a lodge close by. It may be tempting to save cash by staying at a lodge additional away, however being near your proposed images areas is a large benefit. Not solely will it lower down on journey time, however additionally, you will have the benefit of popping again to your room everytime you like all through the day.

Very often once I’m photographing a metropolis, I head again to my lodge for a break. You may have a fast relaxation, seize a scorching or chilly drink, again up your photographs, and evaluate the progress you’ve made prepared for the following spherical of photographs. Chances are you’ll even want time to heat up or quiet down relying on the climate.

Together with your lodge search, all the time be looking out for historic or stunning inns that might present extra photographic alternatives for you. Additionally, keep in mind to decide on a lodge the place you’re feeling like your gear will likely be secure once you’re not there.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Carry a journey tripod so you possibly can seize scenes with a gradual shutter pace.

Packing your package

Versatility is the important thing when packing your package. Quick zoom lenses are typically the journey photographer’s greatest pal. Additionally, take a look at the notes you made throughout your analysis. What sort of lenses do you assume the photographers used? Does your consumer anticipate any photographs with a really shallow depth of area? Do they need photographs taken with lengthy telephoto lenses or ultra-wide angle lenses?

Plan your package, considering these concerns together with the anticipated climate situations. For a two-day journey, I might usually take the next:

  • Two digicam our bodies that use the identical batteries and lenses, at the very least one among which is climate resistant.
  • Two zooms overlaying a large focal vary, at the very least one among which is climate resistant.
  • One or two small quick prime lenses – these are very helpful for low mild situations and shallow depth of area photographs.
  • As many dependable high-quality SD playing cards as you may have. Be sure you format them earlier than your journey.
  • As many batteries as you may have on your digicam system.
  • A small journey tripod and a few impartial density filters.

You may see extra concerning the journey package I soak up my article, The Greatest Fujifilm X-Sequence Kits for Journey Pictures

photographing a city-matt-murray

Sydney Opera Home sails with the Sydney Harbour Bridge within the background.

Touring to your vacation spot

As your journey approaches, keep watch over the climate and present occasions for town you’re heading to. Will this current any points or challenges? Is there different gear chances are you’ll must carry? As I write this, I’m getting ready for a number of days in Hong Kong, the place there are at present protests happening. I don’t assume these protests will have an effect on my journey or what I plan to {photograph}, but it surely’s good to all the time good to remain up-to-date with what’s occurring.

Earlier than I arrive at my vacation spot, I all the time type out a way to make use of my iPhone once I get there. This could imply both having a SIM card for the nation I’m visiting or establishing worldwide roaming earlier than I am going.

On the best way from the airport or prepare station to my lodge, I search for attention-grabbing issues to {photograph}. I’ve my cellphone on the prepared with maps loaded up monitoring the journey I’m taking. If I see one thing attention-grabbing, I screenshot the map, so I’ve the precise location on my cellphone for future reference.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Kids enjoying within the Faroe Islands photographed on a telephoto lens.

When you’ve arrived

You’ve arrived at your lodge, dumped your bag and are actually able to hit the streets and tick off that shot checklist. Earlier than you go, be sure you have all the pieces you want and go away something you gained’t want on the lodge. Keep in mind to go simple on the air-con or heating – excessive temperature adjustments can fog up your digicam lenses.

Take a couple of minutes to double-check your digicam (particularly your ISO and picture high quality settings), be sure you have fully-charged batteries and formatted reminiscence playing cards. Then synchronize the clocks in your cameras at native time.

Whatever the time I arrive, I all the time attempt to hit the streets as quickly as I can to get a really feel for the place. In tropical areas, capturing situations usually are not all the time perfect through the center of the day when it’s very shiny with the solar overhead. It’s nonetheless potential, nonetheless, to search for alternatives to maintain capturing. On a latest journey to Indonesia, I discovered essentially the most stunning mild in a semi-covered market place in Borobudur. I took a few of my favourite photographs of the journey at that market.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Borobudur Market.

After the solar is effectively and actually under the horizon, chances are you’ll assume it’s time to go again to the lodge, however all the time see if there are alternatives to {photograph} meals distributors or night time markets. You’ll want both a quick prime or zoom lens at the side of utilizing a better ISO to seize handheld photographs or a tripod for longer exposures.


While you’re completed capturing for the day, it’s time to go again to your lodge and backup your photographs.

For every journey, I create a brand new Lightroom catalog on my laptop computer. I then import the photographs into Lightroom, specifying that the photographs must be copied from my SD playing cards to an SSD laborious drive plugged into my MacBook.

After the import, I copy these folders and the Lightroom catalog to a second SSD drive. I all the time maintain these SSD laborious drives in separate areas – one with me in my digicam bag, and one in my baggage. As I evaluate my photographs in Lightroom, if there are any that I feel are excellent for my wants or my consumer, I make one other backup of these choose photographs to DropBox. After I get dwelling, I switch the folders and Lightroom catalog from my laptop computer straight to my desktop laptop.

photographing a city-matt-murray

Last ideas

I hope the following pointers will assist you concentrate on what you should plan and analysis once you’re in a metropolis for the primary time on project.

At all times keep in mind, although, regardless of the quantity of analysis and planning you do, issues are sometimes out of your palms. Should you can’t get that iconic shot as a consequence of climate situations, avenue closures, scaffolding or who is aware of what else, don’t beat your self up an excessive amount of about it. As an alternative, think about different alternatives you can seize when you’re there to take advantage of your time.

Do you may have every other ideas you’d wish to share on photographing a metropolis in 48 hours? Share with us within the feedback!


photographing a city in 48 hours

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