How to make the best of a day in a new city

As I think I mentioned, I went on a cruise in September around the Baltic Sea. 11 cities in 15 days! Apart from a cruise being a really relaxing way to spend your time, how does it match against a travel stock photographer’s needs? How do I approach a day in a new city? I thought I would illustrate this with one day’s shoot in Copenhagen – I just finished keywording and uploading this particular set yesterday. As I had to keyword a total of 65 images, it brought home to me just how much work this business can generate! Time will tell if it generates some income to match that effort…

We arrived around sunrise in the port, which is reasonably close to the city center of Copenhagen. Although you are completely at the mercy of the weather on a one day trip, I still try to get the best shots I can. Luckily, Copenhagen was dry and somewhat sunny! My first start is to see what I can see from the boat itself:

In this case, the new power station in the harbor built with a ski slope and climbing wall inside. Looking around I also see the Genetically Modified Little Mermaid:

I know this is going to be Editorial and so I include a walking person to give it some scale and human interest. Although I did take some shots of the “real” Little Mermaid, these are so overdone that I didn’t even bother to upload them.

We had a “get to know the city” coach tour included, so off we went to the various tourist sights. Even though you might think this would result in pretty non-descript shots, there are always opportunities for a nice view of the city:

Then we were free to wander and after I noticed the thousands of bicycle riders in the city, I looked for opportunities to illustrate that:

Again, this was going to be editorial and so add some human interest to the story about problems with having too many bikes in a city. I’m always on the look out for interesting and perhaps humorous views:

Of course Shutterstock rejected this as requiring a property release even though it is probably 300 years old! I couldn’t find any about the specific statue so it was hard to come up with their stupid editorial caption so I’ll just ignore the rejection. I spent the day with just a wide angle zoom lens on the camera (although I had my backpack of equipment with me) as that gives me some interesting perspectives:

Funnily enough, Shutterstock accepted this one as commercial! Then we have the touristy things that people do – a canal tour boat (and don’t forget the vertical shots!):

More touristy things for me to do – a climb to the top of the external spiral staircase on the Church of our Saviour for some aerial views of the city:


And don’t forget the stitched panoramas when you get a view like this. The original image is 19000 pixels wide so lots of opportunity to crop into different views if I wanted to:

And another shot of that new architect designed power station. Even though this is new and almost certainly would require a property release if it was the main subject of an image, it is OK for commercial use in a general cityscape like this. Accepted by Shutterstock as Commercial:

Definitely feeling tiredness in the legs now! But there is no rest for the modern stock photographer and so more typical shots around the city. This was a stitched panorama as well (only 12000 x 7000 pixels although I would upload it around 8500 pixels I think) and I removed a few boat names (and a car that was alongside the orange building!) to enable it to be accepted as a commercial image.

It is important to describe these sort of shots with their actual location so that someone who wanted this specific canal would be able to find it. It might make a nice image for someone’s wall, so I ought to send it along to FineArtAmerica as well as Photo4Me for a more European audience. Notice that the weather isn’t quite as nice now and so I warmed it up and also cooled off the sky a bit to give a hint of blue.

Getting towards dusk now and back at the ship, but for some reason the Royal Yacht came out of the harbor and did a full rotation behind our ship, so lots of opportunities for some close up shots of the boat:

After a hearty meal, there is still a chance for more shots, so how about the bow of the cruise ship in the port:

No markings on this one, so it can be commercial. Finally, a snatched shot from an evening canal tour of the new $500M Opera House in Copenhagen. This one was taken at ISO 1600, but the noise can be reduced to make an acceptable image. I did try other shots as it went darker, but nothing really caught my imagination. Then back to the ship for a 9pm departure and off to the next city! I hope this helped with a bit of insight on how to approach a new city.


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4 Responses

  1. Nice pics on a relaxing day. I liked your tip that if you’re going to submit an editorial anyway wait until someone walks past for a more human element.

    One question, do you sometimes take pics of the local food at restaurants and upload them? I’ve had some success although the lighting and setup can be quite tricky.


    • admin says:

      Hi Alex
      I don’t normally take photos of food in restaurants – it is just too hard to get something that is professional looking rather than just a snapshot.

  2. Steve says:


    Thanks for your blog. I have found it a valuable resource as I venture into the microstock world. I do have a question, though, regarding your FAA site.

    Are your FAA images also part of your microstock portfolios or do you keep the fine art images exclusive to FAA?

    I am contemplating opening an FAA site and am debating the pros and cons of making images exclusive to FAA.

    Any thoughts or opinions that would help provide some guidance on this issue?

    Thanks again for your blog and for your time in considering my question.

    Best Regards,


    • admin says:

      Hi Steve

      I see them as two different things – it is possible that someone could see an image on FAA and then search on a stock site and buy it cheaper to print themselves, but very unlikely in my view. So I just put all images on stock sites and the ones that I think might make interesting wall prints on FAA in the hope that someone will see it and order a print. I don’t really see a need for exclusivity.


I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!