Noupe Editorial Team December 4th, 2020

Top 10 Urban Exploration Photography Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Do you find abandoned locations and buildings fascinating? Then urban exploration photography is for you! Exploring ruins and snapping their pictures is truly an adventure. 

But what’s so exciting about it? Let’s find out more on urban exploration and photography!

A Look Into Urban Exploration And Urbex Photography

Urban exploration is where you explore abandoned structures and ruins. Most of these places are far-away from the city. Sometimes it also requires one to do trespassing of private properties. 

There are various terms for it. Some of these terms are urbex, roof and tunnel hacking, urban caving, mousing, and building hacking. 

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

Urbex photography is where you document your adventure by taking photos when exploring.  

However, there are certain risks associated with this exploration. Abandoned places can pose physical dangers. Plus, there are also legal issues surrounding it. Trespassing is also a serious issue. And it is becoming increasingly common with urbex photography.

Before exploring, one needs to take the permission of the property owner or the authority. If anyone explores illegally, there’s a risk of a possible arrest. 

However, some urban exploration activities violate local laws. One should make sure that it’s safe and legal to explore any specific location beforehand. 

What Are Some Sites That One Can Explore?

There are various sites that one can explore for urban exploration photography. Most of these places tend to be far away from the city. Some of these places are as follows:

  1. Abandoned amusement parks
  2. Factories
  3. Fall-out shelters
  4. Asylums
  5. Power plants
  6. Catacombs
  7. Sewer drains, etc. 
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

Top Ten Tips For Urban Exploration Photography

Before you begin your trip, you need to plan it carefully to be safe. There are many risks associated with urban exploration photography. However, these following tips will help you to stay safe during your adventure. 

1. Always Research The Location Properly

 It’s easy to check out any location, thanks to the internet. But, you need to have an address for that! It can be tricky when obtaining the address and accessing the place. One of the best ways is to look into any urban exploration forum. And some of these forums are dedicated to urbex photography. These forums can help you find potential locations, helpful tips and advice. Or, you can also do a quick Google search. Search terms such as ‘Urban exploration [enter any location]’ or ‘Urbex locations’ or ‘Urbex near me’ are helpful to find suitable places. 

2. Safety Should Be Your Main Priority

 Yes, it’s fun, but there are safety concerns! Abandoned locations are not safe as they are left unattended. Always ask for a friend or two to join you on your trip. Also, make sure your family and friends know where you are heading out. In case any serious emergency occurs, people can help you out or know where to find you. Don’t forget to carry essential items such as a torch, masks, hard hats, rope, and a penknife. It’s best to pack a first-aid kit as well. Plus, don’t forget to wear some solid boots! 

3. Check The Local Laws And Follow The Rules

Urban exploration photography can involve trespassing. Before selecting the location, make sure that you aren’t breaking any rules. You can spend some time online searching for local laws. Also, make sure that these are updated. Many abandoned places have got security guards outside. Therefore, never sneak into these places. Always ask for their consent before entering the building. Sometimes it’s not easy to gain permission. But, if you do, follow any of their instructions, word by word. 

4. Keep Your Bag Light

 Many people carry unnecessary things for urban exploration photography. Heavy bags make it tough to explore. Always pack light and only essentials, even if you are traveling to another city. 

5. Pack Only Essential Photography Equipment

 For clicking pictures inside buildings, a wide-angle lens is the best! The fewer lenses you carry, the lighter the bag will be. You can pack an extra lens as well if you accidentally break the main one. Also, don’t forget to carry a portable flash, a tripod, extra batteries, and lens wipes. A portable-flash will help you when you shoot in low-light areas. 

6. Don’t Break or Shift Anything Inside The Building 

Once you are inside the premise, don’t cause any damage! Make sure not to break down any windows or doors, or force your way inside the building. Don’t shift any items, such as machinery or furniture. Also, don’t take anything as a souvenir from the location. The idea is to leave no trace inside the premise. Keep things as they are!

7. Be Cautious And Carry Safety Equipment

Make sure to proceed cautiously, as old buildings are dangerous and can collapse. Also, check out the building for intact roofing before entering it. Many old buildings can expose you to asbestos, moulds, and dust. And this can harm your respiratory system. And, which is why always make sure to pack a gas mask. 

8. Talk And Get Information From An Experienced Urbex Photographer

If you have never done urban exploration photography, do talk to an expert! Plus an expert will give you proper guidance and give you some insight. Urbex photography is dangerous to a certain extent. Do carry out a lot of research to prepare. Don’t forget to read the experiences of other urbex photographers. It will help you to know what to expect. 

9. Avoid Strangers When Exploring

 You never know who you’ll run into when doing urban exploration photography. If you do come across intruders, don’t strike up a conversation! It’s best to avoid these strangers and do your work. You never know why they are there and their true intentions. However, for safety, it’s best to leave the premise immediately in such cases. 

10. Don’t Disclose The Location Information To Everyone

 Not everyone is interested in photography. Many people look for these places to vandalize. You never know one’s true intentions. It’s best to share the location information with other urban exploration photographers only. 

To Wrap Up

Urban exploration photography is a great adventure. Yes, there are risks associated with it! However, if you follow the safety rules, all’s well! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on the safe side. If you are looking for excitement, do give urbex a try. Who knows, you might end up falling in love with it! 

Sources:

  1. https://www.lightstalking.com/urbex/
  2. https://expertphotography.com/urban-exploration-photography-tips/
  3. https://expertphotography.com/the-complete-guide-to-urban-exploration-photography-67-tips/
  4. https://iceland-photo-tours.com/articles/landscape-and-nature-photography/ultimate-guide-to-urban-exploration-photography
  5. Featured Photo by Collin Armstrong on Unsplash

Noupe Editorial Team

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