How to Photograph Skylines

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A skyline often forms the basis of our image of a city – think, for example, of New York, Dubai or London and you’re sure to know what the city’s most iconic buildings are, based upon its skyline. No matter whether you’re planning to go on a city break or you’ll just be exploring your area, you’ll find great opportunities to take photos of a skyline wherever you are. Read on for our top tips for skyline photography!

Look for Skylines Wherever You Go

even the smallest of places can have a great skyline

First of all, it’s vital to remember that even the smallest of places can have a great skyline – it’s not always about those high-rise buildings and architectural masterpieces! Perhaps you live in a village that has an interesting style building or church tower that’s instantly recognisable to everyone who lives there? Even though they may not be famous worldwide, these buildings give a place its character, so should form a key part of its skyline. Think about photographing your subject and framing it to include other nearby features, such as a countryside landscape in the background.

Tip: Wherever you are, be sure to include a building that is typical of the place you’re in so that your audience has more chance of recognising it. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the church tower of a picturesque little village, pick something that represents the place well.

Find the Perfect Position

When you’re taking a skyline photo, one of the most important factors is finding just the right position. By increasing your distance from the buildings, the skyline as a whole can really come into its own. Still, be careful, as too much distance is not ideal either! Even if you’re far away, there can still often be buildings in the foreground that can detract from the main focus further back, so take care and look for exactly the right place. Sometimes it can also help to find a more elevated spot so that you are less bothered by smaller buildings in the foreground.

skyline photo

Choose Your Moment

As with so many styles of photography, the time of day can make a huge difference to the photo. Photograph during the golden hour and you can expect a beautiful glow to your skyline, which looks especially great on a clear day. You can also try photographing after sunset or just before sunrise – during the blue hour – to show your town or city waking up or winding down for the night. It is, however, worth remembering that you can encounter some challenges with the light during the blue hour, so you should set your shutter speed to around 5 seconds to ensure that your image will get just enough light without overexposing it. Adjust this alongside your white balance and ISO to get the perfect photo.

Tip: When photographing skyscapes in the dark, the ISO value is a really handy tool to get more light into your photos. Set the value higher and you will see more light, although note that a higher ISO value also causes more noise.

Keep Perspective and Composition in Mind

Although you may wish to avoid distracting objects in the foreground, they can often help to give your photo a better perspective. A lamppost or wall can be enough! Also, think about the proportions and composition of your photo – remember the rule of thirds.

Tip: Are you photographing a skyline with very tall buildings? Try taking a shot from the ground next to the building, showing your perspective as you look right up to the top.

Remember the rule of thirds

Skyline Wall Art

We think the best way to celebrate your new skyline photo is by creating your own panoramic Wall Art. Choose between editing your photo to create a striking black and white version, or just keep it as it is and celebrate it in all its glory. Display your new wall art with pride and enjoy telling your guests that you photographed the skyline yourself!

We’d love to see the results of your skyline photos! Share your masterpieces with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #CEWEphoto.


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