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Improving Skyline Photography

July 20, 2015 3:19 pm

A city skyline is one of the most basic, trademark images when shooting cityscapes. There’s just something about a horizon made of steel and stone buildings reaching with stunning architectural prowess up into the sky that captivates all levels of photographers. City skylines display the nature and character of the urban jungle and with a few tips, you can take your skyline photography from lobby to top floor level.

Escape the city

You need to leave the city in order to find a good distant vantage point. To find an ideal vantage point, you may need to hike up into surrounding hills, hop a river or take a boat to a nearby island. Although capturing the whole skyline can involve some travel, it’s worth it when you find a wide enough angle for the perfect shot.

Find the right focus

When the city is miles away, it’s challenging to find a focal point, so try zooming in on a corner of the building in the Live View option on your camera. Use manual focus until that corner is crisp and that improves the chances of the rest of your skyline being in focus.

Use a wide angle

Using a wide angle for skylines and cityscapes isn’t always necessary, but you may find it more useful than expected. With a wide angle, you capture the skyline without having to venture excessively far outside the city.

Try a panorama

When venturing miles outside the city doesn’t appeal and even a wide-angle lens isn’t enough, try capturing the skyline in a panorama. A panorama involves taking multiple, sequential shots with overlapping edges and then put them all together in processing to create a single image. Panoramas are wider than traditional shots and you can make them narrow enough to avoid too much sky or ground in the final image.

Narrow your aperture

Use a narrower aperture to obtain a deeper depth of field in your images. Try f/11-f16 for a consistently detailed image.

For night shots use exposure bracketing

To capture the light and palette of color in the city just after sundown, take a series of shots with exposure bracketing. In exposure bracketing, you take at least one shot at an exposure value higher than the one your camera picked and at least one shot at an exposure level lower than the camera automatically picked. With bracketed shot sequences, you capture various exposure levels and ensure that you’re getting all the light. During processing, you can choose the best or combine several shots into a new, stunning image.

As with any type of photography, skyline photography takes practice and trial and error before you find what works best for your unique style. Display your efforts in a high-quality, professional manner with Baboo Digital’s variety of digital printing services.

Featured image by Michael Tapp