Cityscape photography is different than street photography. Cityscapes focus on the city structures, patterns, perspectives, colors and such, while street photography is all about capturing candid photos of people as they go through their everyday life in public places.
I love photos from up high, and taken near sunset to capture that magical golden hour light. But really watch out for glare if you are shooting through a window in a tower. Get right up against the window if you can.
Nighttime is magic time for cityscapes. It often makes an otherwise dull scene pretty dramatic.
Cities are everywhere, and you may need to travel to get to some of the most exciting cities to photograph. Keep and eye out for views along the way. If you fly you can often get some views of a city that you can’t get anywhere else. And even though photos taken through an airplane widow are usually not the best, often you can enhance them in post processing to make them completely acceptable. You may not win an award for it, but it will provide a great memory. So keep the camera handy. Here is a view from somewhere over greater Los Angeles.
Big cities can be time consuming to get around, so it will likely require a bit of walking to find the best spots for photography. And walking provides great opportunities for doing some street photography along the way. Again, keep your camera handy. You never know what you will run into.
Cityscapes often require a variety of lenses, but since much of it involves wide views, having a good wide angle lens is best. For a full frame 35mm equivalent, this means at least a 20-24mm lens, but I use my 15-30mm quite a bit for really wide views. It also happens to be one of my brighter lenses at f2.8, so is better for dusk or nighttime photos. At the same time, traveling in between photo spots, I want to have a slightly longer lens on, which I find better for capturing any street scenes I may run into. So I will generally have my 24-70mm on while moving, and then switch to my 15-30mm. But use whatever you are fortunate to have and experiment a lot, even if it’s just with your phone camera.
Having a good small backpack for your gear and snacks is great to have. It needs to be small enough to lug around but big enough to fit all your gear in case you run into rain. I found my Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AW about perfect for me.
It’s also handy to have a small tripod to use in low light situations. I use a JOBY GorillaPod. It’s small, straps on the pack, and has flexible legs which can easily be wrapped around a railing or post to give you a good stable holder for your camera. But be careful of some of the cheap knockoffs. They are cheap for a reason, and you would hate to see your expensive camera and cheap tripod go tumbling down to the ground because it wasn’t strong enough to hold on tight.
You gotta eat! But don’t forget to keep your camera out. There is almost always a photo opportunity around every corner.
Here are some other photographers that I follow.