A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography

A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography

Urban exploration photography is also known as street photography (urbanex). It’s exhilarating, dangerous, legally questionable, and a lot of fun. As enjoyable as it is, it often necessitates trespassing. Some people may even break and enter in order to shoot their targets. A quick Google search for “Urban Exploration [your area]” should provide a number of results.

If you’re going to climb over or through anything, you’ll need a bag that won’t swing about and can hold all of your gear. The fundamentals are as follows: 

The art of identifying ancient and abandoned buildings and settings, exploring them, and photographing them is known as urban exploration photography (urbanex). It’s thrilling, hazardous, legally dubious, and a lot of fun. 

Not only do you get to photograph a very amazing area that very few people have photographed before, but you also get to photograph it with your pals. It is not necessary to be interested in photography to enjoy urban exploring. 

I just went on an urban exploration photography trip with a buddy who is not interested in photography. They had a terrific time touring an ancient boarding school, which would normally bore them on one of my routine photographic outings. This is some of the most enjoyable photography I’ve ever done. 


A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

The first issue I’d like to discuss is the legality of urban exploration photography. This is because, as entertaining as it is, it often requires trespassing. Whether or not anybody minds that you’re trespassing is another story, but it’s still trespassing.

Some individuals even go as far as breaking and entering. This is a line that I am unwilling to cross. I’m a photographer, not a vandal. There are several unoccupied buildings in the area; however, some will be monitored by security. This is to ensure that they do not wind up in the same situation as the buildings in my images.

Security personnel often use urban exploration photography. Some may agree to let you take shots as long as you keep inside a particular region. What you don’t ask for, you don’t receive.

Location Investigation

A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

Finding a place is easier than you would believe. The difficult part is acquiring the address and entering the building.

A forum is the best place to look. Many forum posters will not reveal the locations of the locations they’ve visited. This is because they do not want just anybody accessing them and to avoid a police notice. If you’re a forum member and write them a message, they’ll typically let you know. If that fails, a Google search may frequently be useful.

A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

The photographs in this article were shot roughly an hour’s drive from my home. I’m sure you can think of some abandoned buildings that you pass by every day (hello, recession) that you could access. There are also several forums devoted to this kind of photography.

A fast Google search for “Urban Exploration [your location]” should provide several results. This article has images of a historic all-girls boarding school and a lime works facility in the town of Cocking. Yes, indeed. Both of them were discovered through searching a forum.


A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

I can’t emphasise how deadly this can be. In the past, people have perished. These structures are shuttered for a good reason: they are unsafe.

  • Never travel alone. Always travel with at least one other person. Bring a companion since this may be a terrifying activity because you never know who or what you could discover. My pals and I even made a vow not to make each other leap.
  • Tell others where you’re going. That way, if you vanish through the floors, someone will know where to search for you. 
  • Bring your torches. Many sites will be without power, and they are often overgrown, making them extra gloomy.
  • Put on thick boots. The quantity of shattered glass you’ll come across is astounding. People breaking in, or adolescents utilising it as a drinking establishment.
  • Dress in layers. It’s preferable to snag your jacket or sweater on a rusty nail than than your exposed flesh.
  • Depending on the situation, a hard helmet is also a good idea.
  • If there is a lot of dust or hazardous chemicals, a face mask or respirator is a good idea. • A penknife is also useful in case you need to cut anything. This might range from your clothes to shrubs in your path.

If you can’t locate any buddies to accompany you, keep an eye on the forums to see if anybody else wants to join you. It’s a great way to meet individuals who share your interests.

Photography Tools

A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

Personally, I can’t pack lightly. I’m traveling to San Francisco next week, and I’ll probably carry twice as much clothing and camera equipment as I’ll need. I took a large suitcase, but I hardly changed my lens. The fundamentals are as follows:

  • A telephoto lens. You’re filming indoors a lot of the time, which necessitates a larger perspective.
  • Using a flash isn’t a terrible idea if you have the time to experiment with it and the ability to remove it off-camera.
  • A tripod is required. Because these settings are often dark, it is advantageous to be able to shoot a long exposure to account for this.
  • Lens wipes, since you may come into contact with a lot of dust or dampness.
  • Extra batteries for the camera, flash, and flashlights
  • A rucksack A shoulder bag is more convenient, but if you need to climb over or through anything, you need a bag that won’t swing about.

That’s all there is to it. All of this should be able to fit into a tiny backpack, making it much simpler to access.


A Beginner’s Guide To Urban Exploration Photography
image courtesy @expertphotography.com

Before attempting to enter the buildings, thoroughly research them. Find out what others have said and if there are security issues, squatters, or other issues. Take a trip around the building first to discover the most convenient and secure entrance. Also, inquire on the forums how other people got in.

You’ll most likely be shooting in poor light after you’ve gained entrance to the building. This implies a slow shutter speed, a large aperture, or a high ISO. It is determined on the equipment you have with you. If you have a tripod, try an aperture of approximately f/11 and an ISO of roughly 400, and check how long your camera advises you should set the shutter for. And keep in mind where you want to concentrate.

If you’re going to shoot handheld, you’ll need a wide aperture and a high ISO. This eliminates the appearance of camera shaking in your photograph. You could also use a flash for this, but only if you have a means to get your flash off-camera.

You should have no trouble taking some amazing shots as long as you stay cautious and mindful of your surroundings. It’s hardly the end of the world if you run into security. Simply go out and have fun.