Toronto is easily one of the cultural capitals of North America. Filled to brim with diverse communities, thriving art scenes, and spectacular architecture, it’s no wonder photographers come from all over the globe to capture the city’s magic.
To somehow whittle down the giant metropolis into 10 amazing places to shoot, we consulted freelance photographer and Toronto native Alex Stelmacovich. He specializes mostly in urban street photography, though he’s been known to dabble in landscape and portraiture too. He was also kind enough to add some pro tips for shooting these locations.
Next time you’re in Toronto, don’t miss these 10 amazing photo spots:
CN Tower Financial
This is taken in a popular spot in Toronto’s financial district, with a telephoto lens to get a close-up perspective on the tower. This spot offers a great vantage point, as you have the tower visible from multiple angles and many ways to frame the shot, depending on what you want in your frame. Creatively including common and recognizable landmarks in your shots helps people to quickly identify the location; compelling the viewer to take a second look at something they see often.
Look-up shots offer a great perspective on any city and allow you to play with lines and shapes. This common spot in Toronto has been done many times, but it looks great from all angles and times of day. You can use a wide angle lens to capture lots of scenery, or experiment with different ways of utilizing the shapes to lead the eye up to the sky.
This wide angle shot of the streetcar highlights the classic red streetcars of Toronto. Taking pictures of transit in any city is a great way to highlight the life of a city, while showing the unique, yet universally understood, element of transportation. Whether it is rickshaws in India, yellow cabs in NYC, or the red streetcars of Toronto; there is always an interesting way tohighlight how the people of that city get around.
Nathan Phillips Square
This photo was taken at Nathan Phillips Square, which is another popular spot with the City Hall and Toronto sign in the background. This gives a sense of place through an immediately recognizable location, and it is particularly great in the winter when it’s easy to bring life to your shot by capturing the people skating in the square each day. Try to explore unique vantage points to frame the shot in your own way.
The financial district is my favorite place to take street pictures in Toronto, as it is always filled with life, mood, and there are lots of interesting streets to utilize in your shot. Here, on King Street on a rainy day, the wide lens captures some of the skyscrapers in the area, and the leading lines of the street bring you into the frame all the way down to the end of the image.
Brookfield Place is another iconic spot in Toronto, with the vast architecture and symmetry of the Main Hall. I used the Moment Superfish to include as much of the architecture as I could, and by including a person going down the stairs, I was able to capture the immense scale of the building. Try incorporating single people into your architecture shots to have the same effect.
Brookfield Place, by Front and Yonge
This spot is right across from Brookfield Place, and has many different spots to take more look-up photos. By using the glass windows to reflect the buildings from across the street, you can add interest and geometry to the shot. Next time you pass a building with glass windows, try using the reflections in a way that adds interest to the composition.
Church and Kind Intersection
This intersection is not far from the financial district, and by going up the parking garage at the end of the street, you can use your Moment Tele lens to capture the life in the streets. Try searching for unique spots in the city that let you capture more life, and use a telephoto lens to really fill the frame of the composition.
This flatiron building is another iconic spot in Toronto, right beside the previous shot’s intersection. This spot looks great all times of day, all weather conditions, and there’s so many ways to include the building in your shot. By using the recognizable spot as an anchor to the shot and introducing other elements to the frame, you can create a visually enticing image that is instantly impactful.
Old City Hall
Old City Hall is the last stop on the photo tour of Toronto, and is another one of those spots that can be done in a million ways. By shooting from further down the street with a telephoto lens, I was able to capture the life in the streets and the traffic, leading the eye down to the building itself, which stands out against the other buildings in the area. Try going to the classic spots in your city and finding your own unique perspective on them. It can be far more captivating than struggling to find new spots that are less visually impactful!