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Capture the Essence of Your City: 5 Film Photography Locations to Explore

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

View of St. Pauls Cathedral across Millenium Bridge
Photo credit: Anthony Delanoix/Unsplash

There’s something magical about the art of film photography that transcends digital photography. It’s the way the grainy textures and muted tones evoke a sense of nostalgia, taking us back to a bygone era. And what better way to capture the essence of your city than through the lens of a film camera? In this article, we’re going to take you on a journey through five film photography locations that showcase the unique character and charm of your city. From bustling city streets to serene parks and hidden alleyways, these locations offer endless opportunities to capture the raw beauty and soul of your city. So grab your camera, load up some film, and let’s explore the best spots to capture the essence of your city.

The allure of capturing your city on film

In today’s fast-paced digital world, film photography offers a refreshing change of pace. Shooting with film forces us to slow down and really think about our shots. We have a limited number of exposures, so each one counts. We have to be deliberate in our composition, lighting, and exposure. But the payoff is worth it. Film photography has a soulfulness and depth to it that digital photography can’t quite match. And when we capture our city on film, we’re preserving a piece of its history and character in a tangible way.

Location 1: The city skyline

A city skyline at dawn
Photo credit: Brad Knight/Unsplash

The city skyline is a classic film photography location. There’s something awe-inspiring about standing at the foot of a towering skyscraper and looking up through the viewfinder of your camera. The key to capturing a great skyline shot is to find an interesting vantage point. Look for a rooftop bar, a hilltop park, or a bridge that offers a unique perspective on the city. You’ll want to capture the details of the buildings, the colours of the sunset, and the patterns of the clouds. A wide-angle lens is ideal for skyline shots, as it allows you to capture more of the city in a single frame.

Location 2: Historic neighbourhoods

A monochromatic city neighbourhood
Photo credit: Anthony Indraus/Unsplash

Every city has its share of historic neighbourhoods with charming architecture, tree-lined streets, and unique character. These neighbourhoods are a treasure trove of film photography opportunities. Look for interesting doorways, colourful shutters, and wrought-iron balconies. Pay attention to the details, like the texture of the bricks, the shadows cast by the trees, and the patterns of the cobblestones. Use a medium-format camera to capture the rich detail and depth of historic neighbourhoods. And don’t be afraid to knock on doors and ask permission to photograph private property. Many homeowners are proud of their homes and happy to share them with others.

Location 3: Iconic landmarks

The Brandenburg Gate
Photo credit: hoch3media/Unsplash

Every city has its share of iconic landmarks that are instantly recognisable. These landmarks can make for great film photography subjects. Look for interesting angles and perspectives that show the landmark in a new light. For example, you might capture the Eiffel Tower from a low angle, with the grass in the foreground, or you might photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from a nearby hillside. The key is to find a fresh perspective that captures the essence of the landmark in a unique way.

Location 4: Urban nature spots

A signpost in Hyde Park
Photo credit: Bruno Martins/Unsplash

Even in the heart of the city, there are pockets of nature that offer a respite from the hustle and bustle. Look for parks, gardens, and green spaces that provide a contrast to the urban landscape. These spots can be great for capturing the interplay between nature and the city. Use a telephoto lens to isolate a single flower or tree against a backdrop of skyscrapers. Or use a wide-angle lens to capture the expanse of a park or garden. Pay attention to the light, as the shadows and highlights can create interesting patterns and textures.

Location 5: Street art and murals

A colourful wall mural
Photo credit: Volkan Olmez/Unsplash

Street art and murals are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the world. These colourful, vibrant works of art can make for great film photography subjects. Look for murals that tell a story or convey a message. Pay attention to the colours, patterns, and textures. Use a wide-angle lens to capture the entirety of a mural, or use a telephoto lens to isolate a specific detail. And don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with the art. You might find interesting angles and perspectives that you wouldn’t have seen from a distance.

Tips for shooting film photography in the city

Shooting film photography in the city can be challenging, but rewarding. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your film photography experience:

1. Use a tripod: Film cameras are often heavier and bulkier than digital cameras, which can make them more difficult to hold steady. Using a tripod will help you get sharper, more stable shots. 2. Pay attention to the light: Light is everything in photography, and this is especially true for film photography. Pay attention to the quality and direction of the light, and adjust your exposure accordingly. 3. Experiment with different film stocks: Different film stocks have different qualities, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try shooting with a black and white film stock for a classic, timeless look, or try a colour film stock for vibrant, saturated colours. 4. Take your time: Film photography is a slower process than digital photography, so take your time and enjoy the process. Don’t rush through your shots; really think about your composition, lighting, and exposure.

Developing your film and preserving your photos

Once you’ve captured your city on film, it’s time to develop your film and preserve your photos. There are a few options for developing your film: you can do it yourself at home, you can take it to a local lab, or you can send it to a professional lab. Each option has its pros and cons, so do your research and choose the one that’s right for you.

Once your film is developed, it’s important to preserve your photos. Store your negatives in a cool, dry place, and make digital copies of your favorite photos. You might also consider creating a photo album or scrapbook to showcase your photos.


Capturing the essence of your city on film is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By exploring these film photography locations, you’ll be able to capture the unique character and charm of your city in a timeless and tangible way. Whether you’re shooting the city skyline, historic neighbourhoods, iconic landmarks, urban nature spots, or street art and murals, remember to take your time, pay attention to the light, and experiment with different film stocks. And when your film is developed and your photos are preserved, you’ll have a collection of memories that will last a lifetime.


Why not stop by the shop and check out the latest in black and white fine art prints, or get in touch and see if I can produce something bespoke for your walls?


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Jun 28, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing this insightful article. It offers valuable tips on how to move beyond the clichés and capture the true essence of a city through photography. I especially appreciate the emphasis on seeking out local stories and embracing unique perspectives. By engaging with the community and exploring new vantage points, photographers can create more authentic and captivating images that go beyond the hackneyed. The suggestions to capture evocative moments and showcase diversity and contrast also resonate with me. Overall, this article provides an excellent guide for photographers looking to create meaningful and distinctive cityscapes.


Jun 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
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