Tips to Stay Photographically Focused when Visiting a Large City

Have you ever found yourself in a large city  with the overwhelming feeling that you don’t know what to start shooting?  This is especially true if you only have two or three days to work with. It has happened to me, many times. You try to see and capture it all and you end up with mediocre shots of random things, most of them a bit cliché and without much interest. I believe there's a cure for that! Whether you shoot a specific genre or not, give yourself an assignment, a theme for the day. It doesn’t mean that you will ignore everything else around you but you will stay focused and end up with a lot more keepers and interesting images than if you tried to capture it all.


When doing street photography it helps to pick a theme or two for your photo walk. Such as people with umbrellas for example.You like street photography? Photograph people riding scooters in Paris or old buildings in Scotland! You won’t miss any other great action happening in the streets while you’re on your photo walk, but looking for something specific will sure make your day more fun and challenging!

Let’s say you like to shoot architecture. Pick an architectural detail, a repetitive pattern, look for reflections in buildings or contrasting architecture styles. It doesn’t mean that you can’t photograph the Eiffel Tower in its entirety when you are visiting Paris, but your photo album will be a lot more interesting if it includes close ups of the bolts or rivets that hold it together and the repetitive patterns of the steel beams.

Eiffel Tower

The list could go on and on depending on what your interests are. Pick a color, photograph dogs only, people with cool shoes or hats, etc. Think outside the box, try something you would not normally feel comfortable shooting for a day. Your skills will improve and your passion for your craft will get a boost.

Biker on the streets of Paris

To add to the challenge, you can also pick one lens and shoot all day with it. You will save your back and it will force you to look at your environment from a different perspective. My go-to lens is my 24-70 mm but there are days when I don’t want to carry anything heavier than my nifty 50 mil!