Busy streets, skyscrapers, subway stations, streetcars… There’s no shortage of things to photograph in the city, but it’s hard to capture that perfect urban shot.

At 500px, we’re excited to be hosting an exclusive workshop experience for Toronto photographers on December 3. Anthony Sotomayor and Mitul Shah, two talented city photographers, will share their techniques for architectural and street photography. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice new skills on a photo walk and learn from a post-processing tutorial afterward.

Read on to find out more about Sotomayor and Shah, how they got into city photography, and what they love about taking photos in urban settings.


How did you get started in photography? Tell us a little about yourself.

I started photography back in 2012, but I didn’t take it seriously then. I was taking photos as part of my university courses in urban planning. My interest in photography was sparked while travelling to Buffalo, and I started collaborating with an agency called The Come Up Show, who would grant me media access to rap and hip hop concerts in return for some photographs. I quickly realized that concert photography is extremely difficult and stopped. Around 2014, I began seeing many Toronto photographers on Instagram presenting Toronto in a new light, and I thought to myself, I could do that as well. I picked up my Canon T2i and began showcasing my vision of Toronto during my commute to school or during breaks in between class. I explored different neighborhoods of Toronto during the day and night. This constant eagerness to explore as much as I can continues to fuel my passion for photography.

What do you enjoy about street and architectural photography?

I have a deep appreciation for architecture and street photography. Whenever I’m in a different city, I always try to incorporate the city’s architecture into my photographs. It is the defining characteristic of a city, along with the people that make the city great. One thing that I truly enjoy about architecture photography is being able to take a photo and freeze that exact moment forever. Just like technology, cities are constantly changing; buildings are being torn down and new ones are being built. Having the ability to showcase my photos of architecture and the city life of a specific time to future generations is one thing that I truly value and enjoy most about architecture and street photography.

Sotomayor gave us insight into two of his urban shots:

Scale by Anthony Sotomayor on 500px.com

Sotomayor: In photography composition, symmetry can effectively be used to achieve a sense of balance and proportion. To have an effective symmetrical shot, it must have two essential elements: a strong balanced composition and an eye-catching subject. In the example above, the eye-catching subject happens to be the person walking with the umbrella. The tower in the middle (Old City Hall) can also make for an interesting subject, but it would be bland without the person. The person passing by adds a story element to the photograph, and the architecture helps accentuate that story.

Solitude by Anthony Sotomayor on 500px.com

Sotomayor: I stumbled across this metro station in Montreal by accident. Luckily, I had my Canon 16-35mm wide-angle lens and was able to capture this shot. There is a strong balanced composition in this photo from the tiles to the lights. The leading lines also pull the viewer into the photo. There is nothing really going on in this picture, but the simplicity is what makes this photo great.

Follow Sotomayor on 500px


How did you get started in photography? Tell us a little about yourself.

If I recall correctly, I started photography the summer after graduation. I was impressed by the quality of photos I could take with my phone. I was discovering the city of Toronto that summer, and I felt the need to capture every moment as it was all new to me. Moving forward, I decided to pick up the Canon 60D in my house and took things to the next level when I noticed people were enjoying my work. Luckily, I attend a university that is in the heart of the city, so I always have time to shoot what I love most—cityscapes and architecture. I have discovered various parts of the city and learned more about the art of photography.

What do you enjoy about street and architectural photography?

As I’ve mentioned in my ISO Feature, being able to capture a photo that makes the city look larger than it actually is, is most definitively what I enjoy most. Additionally, I enjoy capturing a perspective that may not be seen by anyone else— whether it’s from the top of a 80-floor skyscraper or in an undiscovered part of Toronto.

Shah shared the stories behind two of his photos:

Star by Mitul Shah on 500px.com

Shah: Fog is one of my favourite things to shoot in the city, and it is rarely ever as low as you see in this photo. I came to school the day I took this photo without my camera, but I knew there was no way I could miss out on the opportunity to shoot a “look-up” with this fog. After class, I borrowed a camera (Canon T5i) from my school and ran to the Financial District. I asked a fellow photographer in the area if I could borrow his wide-angle lens to capture this shot, and thankfully he was kind enough to let me do so. This photo has been one of my most successful, as it’s been sold and featured multiple times. The fact that I took the photo with none of my own equipment always makes me laugh.

Beck by Mitul Shah on 500px.com

Shah: One thing I enjoy doing is capturing motion blur photos with the use of my phone, essentially to test its capabilities. I received a new phone which had full manual control, so I decided to lower the shutter speed and see how good the photos come out (despite the phone being handheld). This photo was the result. I waited on an intersection corner for taxis to pass through the steam from the vents. I was curious how it would all look together in a motion blur photo, and I was surprised and impressed with the outcome.

Follow Shah on 500px

Join our hands-on workshop and photo walk with these two photographers in Toronto on December 3! Check out the details of the event and buy your ticket here. Space is limited, so register soon!