7 practical tips for photographing the city

By Kav Dadfar
Cities are excellent places for any photographer. Whether you like to shoot street scenes, landscapes, portraits or architecture - the urban environment offers a wealth of opportunities
By following some simple steps when planning your shoots and when you're out in the field, you'll be able to get the most out of any city that you're photographing.
New York City

Plan a shot list


The key to any successful photoshoot is research and planning. This is even more important when photographing a city.

There are many photo opportunities to be found – and to ensure that you maximise your time, you need to have a shoot plan, or otherwise known as a shot list.

A shot list is simply a list of what you want to try to cover on any given shoot. This might be a simple bullet point list places. or something more detailed like the exact location and time of the day you want to be there.

I print out maps and mark potential spots. I also include the time it will take me to get to places.

The basis of a good shot list is research and planning. I can honestly say that I spend more time researching and planning a city shoot than actually taking images.

Here’s how I go about researching my city shoots:

Define the purpose of the shoot – cities are big places and trying to photograph everything might be impractical. So, try to define precisely what you want to achieve.

Begin your research – once you have an idea of what you are going to be shooting, take time to research it. Begin by searching on the internet and make a note of any exciting locations. Look through social media for example photos of the places you are hoping to shoot. Browse Google Maps for points of interest.

Write a shot list – once you’ve gathered information, you can start to plan your shoot. The level of detail you want to go into will come down to you. I try to plan shoots on a spreadsheet almost to the hour – so that I know where I need to be. I factor in travel times between locations and even make contingency plans in case of bad weather. All of this helps me maximise my time and efficiency when on location.

I use a simple spreadsheet like this to plan out my city shoots.

2 Take your time

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when planning their shoots is trying to cram in too much… Trying to photograph everything will probably mean not photographing anything well.

Try to give yourself more time than you think you will need. Not only will this allow you to find unique angles and views, but it will also mean you can go back if the conditions aren’t right first time round.

Motion blur from traffic passing through the arches of Tower Bridge, over the River Thames, London. Image by Tom Wilkinson.

3 Always be ready

The great thing about photographing cities is that for all your planning, there will also always be spontaneous photo opportunities – so you need to be ready for them.

When on location, make sure your camera is out of your bag, it’s turned on with the lens cap off. The last thing you want when a great photo opportunity is in front of you, is to be scrambling around trying to find your camera.

Man crossing the street during the rain. Toronto, ON, Canada. Image by Sven Hartmann.

A good habit to get into is to continuously change your exposure settings every time you move to a different location.

For example, suppose you’re walking in a narrow, dark alleyway. In that case, you will likely need to raise your ISO so that your’e allowing more light to reach the camera. But when you’re in a main street and in bright sunshine, change your settings again by reducing your ISO.

This constant tweaking will ensure that your settings are approximate to what you want them to be when you need to take a photo.

Walking through subway with an umbrella. Image by Mark Harrop.

Get up early

If you want to shoot without the crowds, get up early in the morning.

Not only can you take advantage of the early morning golden hour light, but you’ll often find you have the place to yourself.

Crowds at Alhambra viewpoint, Granada in the afternoon.
The same spot just after sunrise. Images by Kav Dadfar.

Safety:

If you’re venturing out when there’s going to be less people around, be aware of your surroundings. If you’re not familiar with the area you’re photographing, try to go with someone else, or even ask a taxi to wait for you while you take photos.

Dawn at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Image by Kav Dadfar

5 Look for rivers and bridges


One of the most striking photos of any city is often its skyline.

The best places for cityscapes are often riversides or bridges as you’ll get a natural clearance to see the city.

It also means that you’ll have a spot where you can easily photograph the skyline at sunrise and sunset (using a tripod) to get those dramatic skies and soft light.

Picture taken at sunrise from the Millennium Bridge, London looking towards The Shard, with Tower Bridge is in the distance. Image from Colin Lines.

Google Street View is a great tool for finding good locations for these cityscape shots. For most of the famous cities around the world, you can pretty much find the exact spot that you need to be at using Street View.

But another good place to capture cityscapes is often from rooftop bars. Every city will have some restaurants, bars or even viewing platforms that offer great views.

The downside of these is that often they are not open at the ideal times for photography or there are entrance fees. Some also won’t allow tripods which makes it difficult to capture photos in low light conditions.

Tip:Look for hotel rooms that have a good view of the city. You can even ask when booking a room or checking-in if they can give you a city view room. I have lost count of the number of times that I have managed to take amazing cityscape shots from my hotel room.

Photographing the Bangkok skyline from a hotel balcony. Image by Kav Dadfar.

6 Head to markets

Markets are one of the best places to photograph in cities. They are a hub of activity, and if it’s a city you’re visiting – you will often be able to get a glimpse of everyday life.

From portraits of the market vendors to the moments of interaction, or the colourful variety of food and products on sale, they offer a range of opportunities for interesting and engaging shots. I always ensure I add markets to my shot list in any city.

The Rialto market in Venice. Image by Kav Dadfar.

7 Look for the details

Think of any city in the world and the first image that comes to mind is often the landmarks, but some of the most interesting shots can be found in overlooked details.

It could be architectural patterns, graffiti or even an interesting doorway. These details will help give your portfolio variety and also offer a different view of a well-photographed place.

Image by Kav Dadfar
Doorways in Pisa, Italy. Image by Francesco Del Santo.
Rooftops of Kavala, Greece. Image from Anna Sowinska.

Whether it’s a city you’re visiting, or the city that you live in – with these tips, some careful planning and some imagination – you’ll be getting those incredible cityscape shots in no time!


Kav Dadfar

Kav is a full-time photographer and author of 400+ articles. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Magazine Photography of the Year competition and leads small group photo tours around the world.

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5 marketing ideas for your photography business

ByKav Dadfar

Like any other business, your photography business requires good marketing and a strategy to help increase its revenue. Here are five simple ideas you can try out…

One of the most important lessons I learned early in my photography career was that to be a commercially-successful photographer, you cannot just be a good photographer. You need to view your photography as a business.

That means being proactive in promoting your work and marketing yourself to potential clients, which is even more critical these days when there is so much competition out there. To help your business grow, you need to start thinking like both a photographer and a marketing manager. These five ideas will help you get into that frame of mind.

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1 Write a marketing plan

All photographers are guilty of the ‘scattergun’ marketing approach. This means the type of marketing strategy that involves the odd social media post, Google ad or a sporadic email to a client. Not many photographers take the time to think and plan their marketing strategy. But planning one presents a real opportunity.

Start by thinking about your photography business overall. Write down what you are hoping to achieve short term and long term. For example, ask yourself, are there any particular customers who you would like approach? Or do you want to start selling photography-related products like calendars and prints? Once you have an idea about your business goals, you can begin devising a marketing plan.

Create a marketing strategy for your photography business and set a range of goals on what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term.

Think of all the different marketing avenues that you can follow, such as social media, email and networking, and create a strategy for each one. It is not enough to think, “I’ll post a photo on Instagram”. You need to know why you are doing it and what you will be doing. For example, you might choose to use Instagram to showcase photos you want to sell as prints, whereas in an email to your client list, you might like to talk about a shoot you have recently finished.

The important thing is to treat each marketing channel separately and create a bespoke plan for each one that ties into your overall strategy.

My Instagram profile showcases a curated selection of my images and highlights some of the clients I work with.

Top tip:

For a deeper dive into channel-specific social media marketing, check out the dedicated guides found on your Picfair Dashboard here.


One of the best ways to market your business is to continually keep your contacts and clients informed with news and updates about you and your work. For example, when you finish a new shoot, you could create an album on Picfair with your best images and send an email to your contacts and customers to tell them about it. A proactive approach like this could mean you end up with more sales than you were expecting!

Emails don’t need to be regular. You should make sure everything you send out adds value to your photography business. Make a list of ideas, upcoming shoots, or anything else that is relevant. Then make a note in your diary and who you want to email so that you are ready when the time comes to get in touch.

Popular holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are also a great reason to get in touch with your customers and showcase your themed images.

Send your customers themed holiday emails that showcase your work. Image buyers regularly purchase holiday-themed images. And a friendly email is an ideal way to remind your customers about your photography.

You may also find that emails tailored to particular clients or potential customers will be more successful than blanket emails and better appreciated by the recipient. This is another reason why it is essential to make a proper plan of who you are emailing and why.

Create a calendar for your emails so you can plan well in advance and make sure what you’re going to send out adds value each time.

Create a calendar for your emails so you can plan well in advance and make sure what you’re going to send out adds value.

Don’t neglect print marketing


If you are old enough, you may remember how great it felt when you received a postcard from a relative from their vacation. In today’s digital world, we have somewhat lost the practice of sending out physical correspondence. But you should not underestimate the power of sending out something related to your photography business in print. It will stand out much more than an email and help the recipient keep you in mind every time they see it.

Start by getting some quality, professional-looking business cards printed. Business cards will always be handy to have on you to give people that you meet. And if you’re on a shoot where you could encounter potential customers, like at an event, you’ll have something you can give them.

I often send my best clients and customers something in print, like a set of postcards, desk calendars, or even a small print of one of my photos. I almost always receive an email back with a thank you for the item. Just make sure you enclose your business card with what you’re sending out too!

You can also go further and create something even more significant in print! Here’s a personal magazine of my photography that I’ve made to send to my clients and potential customers.

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Keep your contact information up to date


I often write travel articles for some of the UK’s biggest brands, and recently I was working on a project where I needed travel writers. It was astonishing how difficult it was to find contact information for some people, so I gave up. Those writers missed out on the project I was working on simply because I couldn’t find contact information for them.

Keeping your contact information up to date is one of the quickest and easiest marketing fixes you can make. The best way to do this is to set yourself a reminder once a month, along with a checklist of places to review your contact information.

Keep a list of the places you have your contact information, and keep this up to date. Some of the places where you may keep your contact information may include your Picfair Store, external blog or website, social media profiles, email signatures and any organisations or trade bodies where you are a member.


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As well as your necessary contact details, you may also want to update other relevant information related to your photography business. For example, you may have just won a photography competition, or learned a new type of skill (like aerial photography) or even moved location. Make sure your information tells people about it. Otherwise, you could potentially be missing out on work.

Man playing with drone on the open field

If you’ve recently up-skilled or added a new type of photography to your offering – make sure you add this to your contact information. Image by Gabriel Codarcea.

Engage with other photographers


One of the downsides of photography is that it can be a lonely profession or hobby, which was the case even before the pandemic. However, it’s essential to know that there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to connect with other photographers. Often in associations, camera clubs or even community groups based on the photography subjects you enjoy.

You may think, “How will that help my photography business?”. The answer is that you never know when someone might recommend you for work or know someone who requires your services. Expanding your photographer network will help you get your name out there and lead you to new customers.

At the very least, you should join some private groups on social media (like Facebook groups). These groups also allow you to interact and share ideas with likeminded individuals. Who might inspire you or give you some ideas on how you can improve your images.


Engaging with like-minded photographers will help you expand your network and could lead you to potential new opportunities. Image by Dan Martland.

Next steps


If you want to make your photography business more profitable, then a well-planned and executed marketing strategy is necessary.

Remember, marketing your photography business is no different from any other business. And the sooner you get to work on your strategy, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits.

Kav Dadfar

Kav is a full-time photographer and author of 400+ articles. He is also a judge on the Wanderlust Magazine Photography of the Year competition and leads small group photo tours around the world

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Health Wealth Love

HEALTH WEALTH & LOVE

I have come to realize that my purpose in life, in simple terms is; to promote Health Wealth and Love.  It is truly a blessing to be able to enjoy my daily life uplifting humanity by fulfilling my purpose.

When you think about it Health, Wealth, and Love combined are the foundation on which true happiness is built.  Man’s greatest aspiration should be for, him and his family to enjoy life in good health, filled with an abundance of wealth and love.

There is great debate as to which comes first or, which is more important.  I have come to the conclusion, that the order does not matter.  To be lacking in either results in unhappiness.

I think we all would agree that the driving force in the universe is “Love”.  I also think that all would agree that without good health, happiness is impossible. However, there arrises uncertainty about wealth.  The question arises; can you be truly happy while experiencing lack?

Motives of Man

In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill identified nine basic motives of man. 

  1. Self Preservation (Health & Wealth)
  2. Financial Gain (Wealth)
  3. Love
  4. Sexuality
  5. Desire for power and fame
  6. Fear
  7. Revenge
  8. Freedom of body and mind
  9. Desire to create

While Mr. Hill wrote in reference to selling techniques, these motives are inherent in all.

If you will note Health, Wealth, and Love are at the very top of the list.  Man was created by “Divine Providence” (God) to enjoy the abundance of the universe.  And, the abundance of these three attributes is uppermost. 

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Beliefs and Thoughts

Man is limited only by disempowering beliefs and erroneous thinking.  Strangely enough, most of our disempowering beliefs come from erroneous religious teachings.

Teachings derived from passages such as; “ the love of money is the root of all evil”.  Or, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into heaven”. 

Please, examine such text more thoroughly.  Passages are often misunderstood.  And sometimes, further study may reveal other passages that should be examined.

Take a look at this passage;

Ecclesiastes 10:19 …a feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

Now, what do you think?  Regardless of what you think, you probably can’t argue with the fact that financial condition directly affects all three of these very important areas.

We must have money.  Money is only a medium of exchange that is used as a tool to not only satisfy necessities but to also forge a lifestyle.  You get to choose your lifestyle.

It is “only” your thinking that determines your lifestyle.  With thoughts of Health Wealth and Love, you create circumstances that in turn manifest the desired environment.  Therefore, you get to enjoy your life.  On the other hand, thoughts rooted in fear, produce poverty, lack, and ill-health.

My thoughts of an abundant lifestyle led me to the creation of Digital Age Professionals. Built on the Six Figure Mentors, affiliate marketing platform I now lead a lifestyle of complete freedom.  I get the opportunity to promote Health Wealth and Love while I travel the world enjoying my two greatest passions; writing and photography.

I hope I have given you “Adequate Motive” to Create a business that satisfies the basic motives within your being. Join us, and turn your passion into the lifestyle of your desire.

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Creative Thought

The Power of Thought! Man’s Greatest Discovery

Look around you, every material object you see, started out as a thought in some man’s mind.  The car you drive, the bricks that form your home, the toaster you used for breakfast this morning, the plate you ate from, the cell phone that you can’t put down.  All things (material objects) have their origin in the mind of man, and the manifestation of these objects are the result of Thought.

The Mind

The mind of man is creative.  It must be understood that this creative power originates not in the mind of man but in the “Universal Mind”(God), the source of all power, wisdom, and intelligence.  This “Universal Mind” is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscience.

Being omnipresent, mind permeates all things and all space.  “The ALL(God) is in Everything, and Everything is in the ALL(God)” This means that the essence of God resides within you, and all individuals. (“ The Kingdom of God is Within”)  We are Individualized Spirit.  All your power comes from within.

This mind permeates every cell of your body in the form of negative energy.  We have come to understand that this energy comprises our “subconscious mind” it acts without our conscious knowledge. This subconscious mind is our true connection between God, the universe, and our conscious mind.

The Universal Mind and You

 “God made man in His own image” (Spiritual Image).  A through examination of the word man will bring you to its origin, which is the word mind. Now replace the word man with the word mind.  The scripture will then read “God made mind in His own image”.  Thus, the mind of man is a part of the Universal Mind.  It should be noted that a part of anything possesses the same substance and quality of that from which it comes.  The only difference is one of degree.

The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the Universal mind and the conscious mind of man. Our subconscious mind is responsive to the desires (will) of our conscious mind.

The conscious mind is the positive energy of thought. The only activity of mind is thinking.  Our conscious mind thinks, and impresses upon our negatively charged subconscious mind, which is the connecting link between you, and the Universal Mind(God).  This connection produces the power necessary to cause the manifestation of that particular thought.  Making your conscious mind the creator of things, environments, and circustances.

Thought, then is our only reality.  Conditions, and environments are but the outward manifestations of our thinking.  To create a better environment and or better circumstances you only need to change your thinking.   “As A Man Thinketh So Is He”, a must read by James Allen.

Thoughts and Beliefs

Be very careful, your creative conscious mind is susceptible to all forms of influence, gathered in by your senses, what you hear, see, smell, taste, and or feel.  Your thoughts are not only influenced by impressions from your senses, but they are also affected by your beliefs, most of which are received via heredity.   Your beliefs guide and direct your thoughts, therefore shape your reality. (circumstances, environments)   It must be noted that your deeply ingrained beliefs can be either empowering or disempowering. Examine all your beliefs.

I must take a moment to enlighten you to that most of us are oppressed, and subjugated.  We have an oppressor in some form or another, whether it be in the form of government or some elitist power.   This oppression is rooted in consumerism.  As a consumer you are the power that fuels our intricately “constructed society”.  And, your beliefs are shaped to keep us in that position.  You can only change your position by becoming a producer, thereby lessening the effects of consumerism.

Your subconscious receives all thoughts both good and bad it does not discriminate.  If your thoughts are of peace, love, wealth and happiness, your circumstance and environment will be good.  But, if your thoughts are based on fear, poverty, and lack, your thoughts will manifest circumstances accordingly.  You have been given the power to think on the level of “The Absolute’(God), now use that power.

You Are a Creator

Now that you understand that you are a creator, what are you going to create?  Are you going to continue to create bad circumstances by harboring thoughts of poverty and lack, based on fear? Or, are you going to think thoughts of joy, peace, and abundance?   Resulting in a life of true happiness filled with good health, wealth, and love.

The power of thought could be considered to be man’s greatest discovery.  I submit to you that the major difference between the super rich and the common man is this discovery and the use of it’s power.

There are those who made this discovery and have used this power to create large amount of wealth. Then, there are those who have made this discovery and have not acted on it.

Then there are those who are just now becoming aware.  Now that you are beginning to develop this understanding, what are you going to do with it?  What kind of lifestyle do you wish to manifest?

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Live Your Dream

Change Your Circumstances; Do Something Different!

You Can’t Change Your Circumstances By Doing the Same Things. In order to get a different outcome, you must change the way you are doing things. You can’t expect a better environment or circumstances when you continue to do the same things the same way. OK, I think you got the point.

Anyway, what I am trying to convey is a well known Universal Law, called Cause and Effect. The law simply states; For every effect, there is a cause. Therefore there is a cause for any and all of your circumstances, as well as the environment in which you live.

Now comes the hard part, and that is accepting that YOU are the cause! We all have a tendency to place blame everywhere but on ourselves. In the allegory of Adam and Eve, Adam placed blame on Eve for his disobedience. We all have a tendency to look for others to blame.

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You are the cause! Being created in the “image and likeness of God” makes you a part of Universal Spirit (God is omnipresent). A part of anything possesses the same substance and qualities of that from which it comes. Remember the “Kingdom of God is within”.

All power including the power to change things comes from within. Now ask yourself:

  • Are you happy with your circumstances/environment?

  • Are you happy with your job? 

  • Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck?

  • Are you tired of working 60 hours per week just to make ends meet?

  • Are you tired of just being the consumer?

  • Are you tired of spending your whole paycheck on bills?

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If you are dissatisfied with your answers to any of these questions, you need to change the way you are doing things. Change the way you think!

Explore your options, consider your purpose, and your God-given gifts and talents. Find your niche and create a better experience. You are an individualized Spirit, placed on earth with a purpose to create something. Look around you, everything you see that is not animal, vegetable or mineral was created by a man acting in harmony with Universal Spirit.

My new creation is an internet marketing business called “Digital Age Professionals”. I have found that the internet marketing platform provides me the opportunity to participate in a global economy, offering unlimited income potential, all while living a lifestyle of freedom.

Acting within my purpose which is to help people, I believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. I am offering you the opportunity to join me and help to make a change “one person at a time, from the inside out” Click the banner below to launch your new lifestyle at no cost! Let your journey begin!

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