There is absolutely no denying that cities are always vibrant hubs of life and energy. It’s precisely this raw and untouched beauty that makes them so appealing to all artists, especially visual creators. Well, if you have ever tried capturing this type of imagery before for your professional photography experience, we are very much sure that you know how hard it is to capture all these lovely and enchanting characteristics on camera. And that is why we have curated this special blog for all professional photographers who have a keen interest in urban photography.

Amongst all the photography styles, urban photography is one of the most exhilarating forms of photography. But, when it comes to photographing, the constant activity or urban environments at times can be overwhelming. With proper tips and enough practice, and with the help of this detailed blog, we are very much sure that by the time you will reach the end of the blog, you will be perfect in capturing the true essence of any city, and that too in the best possible way. From choosing the right gear and settings to determining the subjects and photography composition, and everything in between, this blog has covered each and every element that is important for urban photography.

  • Have A Vision For Your Urban Photography Session

In order to document the best-possible professional urban portraits, you always need to have a particular vision in your mind. You simply just can’t head out with your professional camera and start hammering that shutter button in order to have the best professional urban shots.

Well, in fact, begin with the end in mind. Before you head out for the photoshoot session, just think about all the types of shots that you want to take in your upcoming photoshoot session. You can even consider creating a mood board of urban photography portraits using a free tool such as Pinterest. For inspiration and ideas, you can save images from Pinterest of other photographers or even yours, for a better urban photography experience. Just keep these photos in your mind as you plan your next urban photography session, and then use them as a standard to aim for.

  • Location Scouting Is Very Much Important

So, before you head out for your professional urban photography session, make sure you are scouting the urban landscape that you have chosen or your client for their professional photography session. You can easily do this by taking a walk in the city or simply by driving around on Google Maps.

While you are scouting the location for your urban photography session, all you have to do is to ask yourself: what kind of professional photography opportunities do I see? How will the building and the streets scenes act as points of interest or as compelling and enchanting backdrops? All these questions will help you create settings that will offer a great frame for your urban photography sessions.

No matter in which city you are having your urban photography session, every city and town has its own unique charm, characteristics, and points of attraction. From vintage and classic heritage buildings to seaside piers to rustic abandoned shopping centers, every city has these kinds of spots that indeed adds a lot of charm and character to your urban photos. So, in short, all you have to do is to find what is interesting about your area and then use it creatively and professionally during your professional photography session to have the best shots.

  • Look For Little Things as It’s The Smallest Details That Adds Character 

Whenever professional photographers head to the streets for an urban photography session, they often seek out various colorful items like lovely and pretty flowers and bright red fruit, but while these can certainly make for wonderful photo opportunities, a professional photographer should not walk away from them. In fact, they should capture it to bring the true urban hip vibe to their professional shots. A photography pro tip here, when all these small details are carefully and thoughtfully captured, all the little nick-nacks, tiny patterns in the displays, and interactions between people can be highly interesting.

If by any chance you are experiencing a struggle to find more intimate subjects to document for your urban photography session, just try standing in one place for a few minutes in order to have the best shots that will elevate your urban photography portfolio. Just stay there and observe the scene around you. Focus only on capturing subjects that you can see from your vantage point. And in no time you will start to identify that while you are on the streets you are always surrounded by whimsical and photo-worthy subjects everywhere.

  • Don’t Forget to Include Vendors in Your Urban Photos

Every time you visit a street market, we are pretty much sure that you have encountered interesting people: artisans, artists, creatives, and bakers. All these folks are undoubtedly an essential part of the market, and so while their products might seem more eye-catching and photo-ready, it is always amazing to capture some great and stunning street portraits of the vendors whenever you get a chance. Don’t miss out on these details as they will bring a lot of character and charm to all your professional urban portraits. You can always shoot from a distance. You will find the majority of people smiling bright and wide. Once you have captured those shots, you can simply say thanks and move on.

  • Make Sure To Find the Right Subject

So, if you are just starting out with an urban portrait photography session and you need a model to make the main subject of your photos, we recommend asking your family and friends. That way, the pressure will be surely off, and trust us, you will have someone familiar with whom you can easily test out all your creative and unique photography trends and ideas. All you have to do is to ask someone who is not too camera shy or self-conscious when it comes to posing in front of the camera lens, as every urban photoshoot session will definitely involve posing for professional shots in a public location, so some camera confidence is very much needed.

Once you are all set to test your professional urban portrait skills with a model, all you need to do is to organize a TFP (time-for-print) shoot. These kinds of shoots have been around since the pre-digital times when professional photographers, models, and make-up artists would collaborate and give their time for free in exchange for lovely physical prints of photos taken during the photo shoot session. Well, these days, images from TFP shoots are generally digital files shared over the internet.

  • Make Sure You Are Arranging All The Key Details For The Shoot

Once you have chosen the model for your urban photography session, just organize the shoot. Agree on the day, time, and location that you have decided upon for your urban photography session. Stay flexible to negotiate the day, but stay insisted on a specific time. Make sure you are choosing that time of the day when it will work great for your professional shots. If by any chance you are not sure how to pick a perfect time for your photography session, we recommend you start about an hour before dusk (the golden hour); and it will offer you great opportunities for natural light and after-dark images. It will add a lot of drama and character to all your urban portraits.

Don’t forget to ask your model what they are planning to wear for the shoot. There might be chances that they will ask for your advice and also provide you with options for you to choose from. Just explain nicely and in detail that it would always be an ideal option to have two or three different looks when your model is coming in for an urban photography session. Well, there are models who would prefer to wear completely different outfits for the first and second half of the urban photo shoot session, while there are other models who prefer to bring along some fun props and accessories like sunglasses, hats, and jackets to match with the vibe and the setting. And lastly, if you are arranging a shoot a week or two in advance, just don’t forget to stay in touch with your model. Just confirm the date and time with them a day or two before the actual shoot.

  • Select Your Photography Gear

Well, for photographers it is always tempting to take as much kit as they can carry for an urban portrait photo shoot session, however, if you ask us, the more photography gear you will carry with you, the more uncomfortable you will feel. We always suggest carrying enough gear to give yourself flexibility, so, just don’t overdo it. For tips, you can consider taking two portrait camera bodies, each with a prime lens, and you can often add a third lens to your photography gear bag. For splendid environmental city portraits, consider going for a 24mm lens, 50mm for standard portraits, and an 85mm camera lens for tighter portraits and headshots. You can also have zoom lenses if you are going to capture family portraits during the urban photography session. A piece of professional advice here, just double-check all your camera settings and accessories when you pack your gear bag for your urban photo shoot session. Just keep the below-mentioned points carefully-

  • Whether you have selected the right-image quality setting or not
  • Whether you have selected the right ISO setting (we always prefer to go for an Auto ISO)
  • Whether or not you have kept spare SD cards and spare batteries in your gear bag
  • And lastly, whether you have kept the model-release forms and a pen handy
  • Shoot Deliberately and Aim For Variety

When you are going in for high-level urban portraiture, the goal is not quantity, it’s quality. At each photo shoot session, just aim to get a dozen images. We advise all professional photographers to shoot differently than they normally do in order to get the best shots while documenting urban portraits. Well, in other words, if you are used to shooting fast, just slow down a bit. Just take your time directing the model and getting the composition right before capturing each shot.

While documenting shots, just make sure there is a variety of them, such as close-ups, full-length compositions, the model looking towards the camera shot, and the model looking away from the shot. Just forget to get some different looks simply by asking your model to try various accessories, such as sunglasses, hats, and jackets.

  • Always Keep Your Eye on ISO and Shutter Speed

Talking about the right ISO and shutter speed when it comes to urban portraits then there is not the best ISO and shutter speed. The reason we are saying this is because when you are going for an urban portrait session the light often changes over the course of the session.

But as the day moves into night, and the light in the surroundings tends to change, just be sure to frequently check your ISO and shutter speed. It’s important to keep your shutter speed above 1/80s or so, and if this means that you need to increase your ISO, then you have to do it. It is always better to create a noisy image than a blurry one to have the best shots. You can also consider widening your aperture, but you will need to keep it pretty wide, to have surreal and stunning background bokeh.

  • Don’t Forget To Carry Your Own Lighting

For the first half of your urban photoshoot, you can rely on natural or ambient light. But as the sun sets to get grown in the sky, and the darkness envelopes, your own lighting options will come into action and will give you the best setting for your urban photography session. You can usually bring a Speedlight, which you can use on camera or via a remote trigger. The light from speed lights can be harsh at times. So, if you are planning to go down this route, consider bringing in a light modifier such as a mini softbox.

  • Edit Your Professional Shots Perfectly to Show The Urban Setting Flawlessly

It is always best to get your captured shots right in the camera. With that being said, a little bit of photo editing is pretty much always needed. The certain photo editing that you will be needed to perform are mentioned below-

  • Exposure Adjustment
  • Contrast Adjustments
  • White Balancing
  • Color Grading

You may want to clean up the image, too. Urban surroundings can get pretty dirty, and it’s often a good idea to remove distracting elements from around your subject.

In conclusion, all we want to say is, that now that you have finished this amazing Urban Photography tips blog, we are pretty much sure that you know how to create incredible photos of urban areas. So, just remember the tips we have shared in the above blog and plan your next urban photography session! Have a fun photography session.

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