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4 tips for photographing a skyline

How to draw the portrait of a city? Skyline photography is one of the finest arts in travel photography. Whether it's a panorama taken from the terrace of a building, a fleeting perspective taken from a bridge or an aerial view captured from a helicopter, each point of view can give rise to a visual signature that suits you. Here are four tips to help you capture a skyline you'll be proud of.

Pastel line by Mieke boynton

Dealing with perspectives

Often recognizable by the silhouette of certain monuments, the big cities all carry a collective imagination. Will we recognize a New York skyline without the Statue of Liberty, Sydney without its opera house or London without Big Ben? How to take a picture of Paris without the Sacré Coeur or the Eiffel Tower?

It will be necessary to be at the right height to photograph a skyline. Some advise to choose a viewpoint 500 meters high for a beautiful skyline and a promontory will certainly help to have an overview. In some big cities like New York, there are helicopter tours to photograph an aerial view of the skyline. No need to use great means, in London, you can take very beautiful skylines from a cabin of the London Eye, for example. A photo of Paris taken from one of its bridges can also have an effect. Exactly, it all depends on the style and objective of the photographer.

Once you have chosen your view, you are free to refine your framing according to the possibilities. Where is the horizon line in your photo? Try to carry it higher in the frame, or even lower if the sky is cloudy or colored by the setting sun.

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Choose the right time of day to photograph a skyline

Light dictates the life of a photographer! At dusk and dawn, these two moments always bring together photographers in search of light effects. For lovers of golden color, sunset is the best time for skyline exercise, the light effect and the colors of the horizon make for exceptional photos. Thanks to the contrast created by the grazing rays of the sun, the silhouette of the city will emerge more clearly.

Unexpectedly, a big blue sky doesn't necessarily make for the best cityscape photos. A quick search of the best skyline examples will show you that atmosphere matters. For example, a cloudy sky moments before a thunderstorm adds drama to the shot.

Xiandu Bridge by Daniel Kordan

Finally, you can also decide to photograph the landscape at night. With the right settings and a favorable point of view, it's up to you to play with lights and exercise in style! On the banks of a river, you can practice with the reflections on the body of water. Another interesting scenario, a busy road will show amazing contrast effects between the headlights of moving vehicles and the still architecture.

Photograph a skyline with the right resolution

Skyline images are photos of cityscapes made up of multiple buildings. It is therefore important to succeed in capture as much detail as possible. How to choose the right resolution to photograph a skyline?

The resolution of a photograph is a technical term that describes the number of pixels used to represent each centimeter in your image. Most current cameras use a resolution of 8 million pixels per image. However, it is important to know that there are different image sizes.

Xiapu Gates by Daniel Kordan

The resolution of an image is also studied within the framework of a Web application. The standard resolutions for displaying an image on a screen are:

  • 1 024 x 768 pixels
  • 1 280 x 800 pixels
  • 1 920 x 1 080 pixels

If you plan to print your skyline photoshere's a little tip:

  • Take the dimensions of your photo, for example 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Divide the numbers by 30 to find the dimensions of a good print resolution in centimeters = 1024/30 and 768/30 = 34.10 x 25.60 cm
  • To anticipate the dimensions of a high definition photo, you can repeat the same calculation, but dividing by 60.

Are you going to print the photo, display it in large format, keep it on your computer? The skyline is often used by real estate agents, businesses for advertisements or displayed on the wall. How you use your skyline photo will decide its resolution.

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Take a photo that carries a part of you

The best skylines are also the ones that give the city a soul. A successful skyline expresses something: nostalgia, excitement, romanticism or the feeling of being engulfed by buildings... If you discover a city during your vacation, you will certainly have a different opinion of it than if you live there. . To feel a city is to walk its streets, explore its parks, listen to the characteristic noises or even live unique moments by going to meet the locals.. Put a bit of yourself into it, what does this skyline represent for you? How does this city make you feel? You will see the difference!

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