Modern and stylish, the EOS M6 is a mirrorless camera that is well-adapted to cityscapes. Not only is its design superior, the image quality and performance are also flawless. In this article I will introduce my recommended shooting techniques for street photography, focusing on shooting cityscapes with the EOS M6. (Reported by: Teppei Kohno)
EOS M6/ EF-M18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 18mm (29mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/160sec, EV-1/3)/ ISO 160/ WB: Tungsten light/ Picture Style: Fine Detail
I paid attention to the texture of the building, and set Picture Style to "Fine Detail" and WB to "Tungsten light" to give the otherwise lifeless building a dramatic finish.
1. Use Creative Filters to add stylish colour tones to your photos
Take advantage of the clear forms of many street photography subjects
You should definitely try using Creative Filters when shooting cityscapes with the EOS M6. Among them are as much as five different HDR effects, as well as seven other different filters you can choose to apply to your images. (HDR stands for ‘High Dynamic Range’, and the HDR filters on the camera automatically merge three shots of the same scene taken at different exposures into one image.)
Street and city scenes make great Creative Filter subjects. Unlike natural landscapes, buildings, signboards, and roads have clear forms, which makes the effects appear more obvious on them. Typical examples of Creative Filters you can use for city scenes are ‘Miniature effect’, which makes the image look like a miniature model, and the ‘Fish-eye effect’, which captures the image with a barrel-shaped distortion.
In the example below, I used ‘Miniature effect’ to shoot a street scene, boldly blurring out the background to dramatic effect. This is an example of how Creative Filters can add impact even to a shot of an ordinary scene.
EOS M6/ EF-M11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 16mm (26mm equivalent)/ f/5.6/ 1/60sec/ Creative filters: Miniature effect/ ISO 160/ WB: Auto/ Picture Style: Standard
‘Miniature effect’ was applied to capture the person as a silhouette for a more unique finish. It helps that on the EOS M6, you can check the effect on the LCD monitor as you shoot.
Using the ‘Miniature effect’ Creative Filter
1. Set the Mode Dial to [Creative Filters](A), and then press [Quick Set menu](B).
2. Since menu items are displayed at the bottom of the screen, select [Miniature effect](C).
3. To change the position of the frame, move the controller wheel up or down, or turn the wheel.
4. Move the controller wheel to the left or right to change to the vertical position, and press [INFO.] to change the frame size.
2. Configure custom shooting modes for quick access to your favourite settings
Makes capturing unexpected shutter opportunities so much easier
In street photography, you will probably come across many shutter opportunities that you would intuitively want to capture. The tempo of your shoot is also important, and it is a hassle to have to change settings even when necessary.
For such situations, the custom shooting mode is an invaluable feature. The benefit of this feature is that it enables you to register in advance the shooting modes that you use frequently and the features that you have set for your preferences. That way, you can readily access these custom settings as the scene requires.
For this shoot, the custom shooting modes that I registered incorporated the Program AE mode and the ‘Landscape’ and ‘Monochrome’ Picture Styles with detailed settings customised to suit my preferences. I would use these for scenes that suited vivid depictions, and when I wanted to finish my photos in a monochrome tone. They allowed me to shoot quickly and easily.
EOS M6/ EF-M11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 17mm (27mm equivalent)/ Program AE (f/10, 1/200sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight (A1, G2)/ Picture Style: Landscape
I applied the custom shooting mode that I had registered in advance to achieve a vivid finish centred on the greenery. This allowed me to focus on the fun of composition without being constrained by the camera setup.
Configuring custom shooting modes
1. Set the various features that you want to register as a custom shooting mode.
2. Press [MENU], and in the settings menu tab , select [Custom shooting mode (C1, C2)].
3. Select [Register settings], and then select and set the custom shooting mode (C1 or C2) to be registered.
4. For example, if you have set C2, you can shoot using the registered settings when you select C2 using the Mode Dial.
3. Ensure perfect horizontality in your shots of buildings and structures
Display the grid lines and level
When you use the city as your subject, you should be aware any horizontal line in the frame. Ensuring the horizontality of these lines would make buildings appear more stable. Even the slightest distortion could disrupt the balance of the image as a whole. This is particularly important if your main subject is a building or other structure with distinct lines. In this case, the slightest tilt could ruin the entire shot.
To ensure that a shot is perfectly horizontal, display the grid lines and level on the monitor. The grid lines are especially effective in scenes where the lines of buildings are distinct. They can be displayed in 9 sections (3 x 3), 24 sections (6 x 4), or 9 sections (3 x 3) with diagonals, which you can select according to the scene. Meanwhile, the level is useful for scenes where the lines are not distinct. Of course, you can also use the grid lines in combination with the level if you wish.
EOS M6/ EF-M11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 16mm (26mm equivalent)/ Creative filters: Miniature effect/ ISO 160/ WB: Auto/ Picture Style: Standard
I captured as silhouettes the window frames and people on an observation deck, using the grid display as a composition aid. This exactly the kind of scene where the grid display is most useful.
Using the grid lines and level
1. Press [INFO.] to display the grid lines and level.
2. Move the camera to adjust the position until the red line of the level turns green.
3. To change the type of grid, access Shooting menu tab  > [Shooting information display] > [Grid display].
4. You can also change the display to grid only or level only by accessing [Shooting information display] > [Screen info/toggle settings].
Read the following articles for more information on the EOS M6:
3 Highlights of the EOS M6
EOS M6: A Highly Functional Mirrorless Camera with a Classic Design
For more tips about photographing buildings, check out our series on architectural photography, starting from:
Architectural Photography #1: 3 Basic Concepts
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Born in Tokyo in 1976, Kohno graduated with a Social Work degree from the Department of Sociology of Meiji Gakuin University, and apprenticed with photographer Masato Terauchi. He contributed to the first issue of photography magazine PHaT PHOTO and became an independent photographer after that, in 2003. The author of many books, Kohno not only shoots all sorts of commercial photographs, but also writes prolifically for camera and other magazines.