It’s not that difficult to take a great photo of Vancouver. This city has dramatic sunsets and sunrises, moody fog-filled days, majestic mountains, and stunning cityscapes… But, despite all the good stuff we have to work with, it can sometimes be hard to get the amazing view captured by your phone.
A very wise person once said that “the best camera is the one you’ve got with you”. Most days we’re not carrying around a fancy DSLR and have to rely on our iPhone or Android to capture a shot. We’ve gathered a few shots from the Inside Vancouver Flickr account for a quick breakdown of some tips for taking better photos of Vancouver with the camera you’ve got on you! So if you’re looking for more likes on social media, or just a few good shots for your next slideshow, check out these tips below!
(*Disclaimer: some of these photos were taken with fancy cameras, but they are beautiful examples for the tips we’ve listed!)
1. Keep it Simple
It’s a pretty good idea to always follow the K.I.S.S. rule in life (“keep it simple, stupid!”) and the same rings true for photos. A lot of shots have A LOT of things going on in them. Empty space can be your friend in photography.
Zoom in on one subject, add some more white space, and shrink that shot of a massive crowd down to just that one seagull eating a french fry. Majestic. Or, you can get an amazing picture of the local cranberry harvest like May Hung’s photo above!
2. Get down on your Knees
… and pray for a good shot! Just kidding. You won’t have to worry about getting a good shot when you change up the perspective on your photos. Instead of just standing there, pointing, and shooting, change it up! Either get down on your knees and shoot your subject from below, climb a bench and shoot from above, or (bonus points) lie on your stomach for an “easier” way to get more sky in the background, which removes distractions and makes your subject stand out. The image of the #rainblossomproject from Michael Ó Raifeartaigh above is nice demonstration of how to use a unique angle for great results (with the added bonus of a reflection detail!)
3. Remember the Rule of Thirds!
Probably the most popular photography tip, and for good reason! Instead of centring the subject of your photo in the middle of the frame, aim to place the focal point along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds. Essentially, move the subject to one side of the photo, so there is more space for detail/background. This often creates a nice sense of balance without making the image look too busy. Examples of rule of thirds photography can be found here. Asher Isbrucker used the rule in his excellent photo of a nice walk along the Stanley Park seawall in the photo above.
4. Shoot from the eye level of your subject
If you’re taking a picture of a child, a pet, a bear (up Grouse Mountain, hopefully), or even a raccoon, it can be fun to take a picture at the eye level of your subject. Don’t be afraid to get too close (unless it’s a bear!). Instead of having a photo looking down on the subject, he/she/it will fill up the frame for a great portrait! Anthony Maw has used this idea for his great photo of some Stanley Park Winter Swans seen above.
5. Lead the eye to the background
Photos of landscapes can be interesting by themselves. But, if you want to kick it up a knotch, GREAT photos of landscapes have something that draws the eye to the background of a photo. Whether it’s a pathway, a river, or a line of trees, this will make the photo seem like it’s made of multiple dimensions. Lisa Nixon has a great example above with her photo from Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.
6. Don’t forget about the foreground
When you’re taking photos of Vancouver that include landscapes, don’t focus solely on what’s in the background. An interesting subject in the foreground (front) of the photo can raise the bar of the photo to a professional level! It’s these small things that emphasize the scale of the background that really add an impressive edge to the photo. Spencer Finlay has used the statue of Harry Jerome in Stanley Park for a breathtaking photo of Downtown Vancouver in the shot above.
Do you have any other tips for taking good photos of Vancouver? Let us know in the comment section below!