Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Photographer's tip: Three steps to shooting great urban scenes

A man is reflected in a window as he walks in downtown Toronto.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

The fact that we are so familiar with the places we live makes it harder to find inspiring subjects to photograph. Our cities are part of our own visual memory, but finding exciting and interesting new ways to shoot them is not an easy task.

A good starting point is to think about light – how it reflects off the world around us and how it interacts with the objects you want to photograph. Selecting the best time to shoot your pictures should be your first thought.

For this assignment, I went out early in the morning to shoot around downtown Toronto. The early morning light is softer. Low-angle light bounces off glass buildings and delivers lots of detail in highlights and deep blacks in the shadows.

Story continues below advertisement

After finding your light and an interesting scene, it's time to work on the composition. Look at the lines in the scene and take note of how your eye follows them though the image. Find a balance where your image won't be too busy, but will catch the curiosity of the viewer.

Finally when you have the exposure and composition set, just wait for the right moment – when someone walks through the frame or a bird takes flight – and it will all come together.

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at