By Anna Gay on | No Comments
For those of you who are unfamiliar with me or my photography, I live in what would be considered a rural (read: extremely rural!) part of Middle Georgia, USA. When I am not in the studio, my photography consists primarily of rural landscapes and small towns.
I recently spent several days in New York, so photographing in the city was definitely outside my comfort zone but a fantastic experience. So, I thought I would impart a few simple tips for anyone planning a photography trip to a large or simply unfamiliar city any time soon.
If this is your first time in the city, especially a very large city, browse images online to find out what parts of the city interest you as a photographer.
I have been to New York many times, but this was my first photography-related trip, so I decided beforehand which areas I was interested in photographing. This saved me a lot of hassle once I arrived in New York and prevented me from wasting time looking for places to shoot because I knew exactly where I wanted to go.
While having a game plan helped me maximize my time, going with the flow and exploring new areas near the places I was photographing turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of the trip.
If possible, carve out some time to wander around with your camera because you never know when you will find exciting opportunities in unexpected places.
Now, the type of cameras and lenses you bring depends entirely on the kind of photos you want to take – portraits, architectural, street photography, etc.
Also, keep in mind the weight of your gear. If you are going to be walking a lot or riding crowded subways or buses, you may be unhappy carrying around fifty pounds of gear all day.
If possible, bring a prime lens and a zoom lens, as this will give you the option for portraits and detail shots (prime lens), as well as wide-angle architectural shots, and candid photos of people (both of these can be done with a zoom lens).
I am a film girl at heart, so I took a 35mm SLR with a 50mm lens for photographing people and my Holga to photograph architecture and street scenes.
Being in a new place with new scenery is the perfect chance to experiment with your photography. For me, I found myself photographing people more than I usually would back home.
I am relatively shy and have difficulty photographing strangers in the area where I live, mainly because I am shooting in small towns, so I feel conspicuous with my camera. Being in a large city helped me blend in, giving me more confidence to photograph strangers than I usually would.
If, for whatever reason, you are having a difficult time creating interesting photos, try shooting at a different time of day. A location that appears uninteresting at noon can take on a completely different feeling and be an amazing location to photograph at night.
On the other hand, shooting at midday can be perfect for architectural and black & white photography, as the high sun creates interesting shadows and lines. And, when in doubt, there is always the tried-and-true golden hour (the hour just before the sun sets).
This should go without saying, but I should say it anyway because I know that when we get in the shooting groove, we can become unaware of our surroundings because we are just so focused!
If you are in a city that you are unfamiliar with, please be careful and aware of your surroundings, especially if you are alone or photographing at night. While one street may be safe if you wander just a block or two in another direction, you could easily find yourself in a not-so-safe situation, so just be mindful of where you are!