Urban Exploration: Top Tips For Photographing Abandoned Buildings & Some Stunning Examples!

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens


UK photographer James Kerwin has paired up with our creative friends COOPH to show you how you can document long-forgotten buildings safely. 

Now, James' urban exploration wander is through the very beautiful Italy but you can find buildings which are just as, if not more, interesting right here in the UK but please do remember urban research can be dangerous so always exercise caution and enter sites at your own risk! After all, it is trespassing which we don't condone but you're doubtlessly still going to do it anyway. 

In the video, you'll see James and the COOPH team take in the abandoned sites of Milan, Bologna, Florence and Genoa where they serving the following tips:

  • Go prepared – Pack the right kit (tips are given in the tutorial) and never go alone.
  • Capture neglect – Show what time and mould can do to a building when people move out. 
  • Seek natural light – Soft light can work wonders on locations. 
  • Look for consistency – We like patterns!
  • Capture nature – Heavily overgrown locations are a good opportunity to juxtapose nature with man-made structures. 
  • Flourish shadows –  Create strong contrast and mystery with dark areas. 
  • Don't forget the stairs! – An interesting project all on their own, you make a path for the eye to follow as well as a bit of symmetry. 
  • Shapes & patterns – Think outside the box and don't just look at the big picture. 
  • Black & Ivory – Shoot in greyscale to remove distractions. 
  • Vibrancy – Look for rooms that still have some 'pop' to them – they can placid exist even in abandoned locations. 
  • Play around with tilt-shift – If you can afford to! 
  • READ  Basic Guide on Light in Photography: An article on how to understanding light and how you can conquer low- light situations like a PRO

    Take a look at the beautiful images James and the COOPH collaborate captured on their journey below.












    All photos © James is a common French and English language surname and an English language given name: James (name), the typically masculine first Kerwin & COOPH


    About the author

    Gina Stephens

    Gina Stephens

    Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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