HOW TO

Photograph Indoor Urban Landscapes

It’s all in the details. Tap to learn how to take a more artful pic.

Darkroom: Photo & Video Editor

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Almost every train station has fascinating architectural details; all that’s required to capture them is the right mindset—and taking the time to look.

Once you do, beauty abounds, even in the most everyday places. Suddenly you notice the charming archway of a building you walk by every day, or the way the shadow of the scaffolding falls across the sidewalk at noon.

To find everyday beauty to photograph, we headed to Montreal’s Metro stations with an iPhone X in hand, then edited our images using Darkroom, a powerful app that’s especially intuitive to use. Here are four photo styles to help you develop a more artistic eye.

Take shape

Bold but basic forms on the floors and stairways of Montreal’s Metro stations.

‣ Simple, striking geometric shapes are all around you. Why not let them fill your frame?

Look for basic shapes—triangles, rectangles, diamonds. To keep your shots bold and graphic, get in close to eliminate the superfluous. Give your digital zoom a rest and step nearer to your subject than feels comfortable.

Let this be a physical exercise as much as an artistic one. If you can, challenge yourself to crouch, stretch, and crane to find the shot.

The in-app tweak: Don’t worry if you weren’t able to frame your shot perfectly; you can always crop and rotate after the fact. Darkroom’s crop tool is especially precise, letting you rotate an image to a hundredth of a degree. Pinch out to zoom in on a particular section, then make micro (or major) adjustments as needed.

Emerge from the shadows

The structural elements of these Metro stations are less interesting than the shadows they cast. Boosting the saturation brings out the accents of color.

‣ Next assignment: Put shadow front and center, allowing the negative space to create drama.

This might require a reframing on your part. Rather than looking for beautiful objects to photograph, keep an eye out for the shadows they cast. Seek the immaterial rather than the material.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this, don’t overthink it. Just get out there and start looking.

The in-app tweak: You’ll want to boost the contrast of your shadow-focused photos, of course. But what really takes the above images to the next level is how we upped the saturation to make the few hits of color in them really pop. In Darkroom, the settings to experiment with are Saturation and Vibrance.

Look beyond the bend

We looked high and low to snap these shots, finding interesting curves in the floor tiles and the light cast from the ceiling.

‣ Now that you’ve explored the linear, it’s time to scout out some curves.

If photographing shape and shadow gave your photos a satisfying sense of groundedness, can you frame the curves you find to create a feeling of movement? And how can you get multiple contours to converge, as in the second photo above?

The in-app tweak: Look again to Darkroom’s crop tool, where you can tweak the horizontal and vertical perspective of a photo you’ve shot. While this is usually used to correct a distorted perspective, fiddle around and see how your image changes.

Play with color

Light filtered through tinted glass in the Montreal Metro.

‣ One last thing to try: Find a single hue in your environment, and allow it to lend a painterly quality to your photos.

Again, edit out the inessential by zooming (preferably with your feet). You’ll be surprised the effect zeroing in on a single color can have.

The in-app tweak: Experiment with three settings in Darkroom: Temperature (which pushes the image from cool blue to a warm orange), Tint, and Saturation. Although you want to avoid overdoing it with photo filters, a little goes a long way. We used Darkroom filter A110 set to 50 percent to nice effect (above).

    Darkroom: Photo & Video Editor

    Video, Portrait, & RAW Photos

    VIEW

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