#GoDiscover: Pro photographer Emmanuel Cole shares his tips for urban exploration

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Emmanuel Cole’s photography has a distinctive urban flavour. So much so, in fact, that it’s struck a chord on Instagram, where he’s attracted over 139,000 followers as @ecolephoto.

Looking to inject your own shots with some extra energy? We caught up with Emmanuel to ask him for the secret to his rugged, gritty style. Here’s how he captures magic moments that are hiding in plain sight…

A unique perspective

Emmanuel describes his style as being: “predominantly street photography, with a big urban style influence.” But by shooting in unusual light, from different angles, and featuring models with an interesting look, he always presents a fresh perspective on otherwise familiar scenes.

“I’ve always been surrounded by the street and the grittier side of London, so I’ve got a unique perspective on the city,” he explains.

“I tend to shoot locations that have an edgier, rough around the edges vibe – usually areas outside of London’s Zone 2. Lewisham is one of my absolute favourites!”

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We certainly put Emmanuel to the test as part of our #GoDiscover challenge, and he says the Samsung Galaxy S8 he used there offers an excellent camera on the go:

“The Samsung Galaxy S8 was one of the best phones I’ve ever had the opportunity to get my hands on, mainly because the images are a lot sharper, with a huge amount of detail.”

Find out how to take even better smartphone photos yourself with this spotlight on exposure.

Broaching the subject of permission

Many of Emmanuel’s shots feature people. Some are friends, others are strangers – but they never stay strangers for long.

“I tend to ask most people I shoot for permission,” Emmanuel says. “I built up a lot of confidence working as a charity worker a few years ago, so I have no problem interacting with the public. If anything, I enjoy it. I particularly enjoy being able to portray people’s personalities through my images.”

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Despite this people-heavy focus, Emmanuel says his favourite photo taken with the Galaxy S8 is actually of an abandoned boat on the coast in Dungeness.

“I’ve seen photos of that boat for years, so to finally be able to see it in person and capture it in my own unique style was special.”

Mix research with exploration

Emmanuel’s advice for staying ahead of the game? Research locations online.

“Locations tend to change frequently in terms of access when it comes to urban exploration, so try to be one step ahead by researching and exploring,” he says.

“I normally find new locations through scouting online or just stumbling upon them while I’m out and about exploring. The key is not to be afraid to venture off the beaten path – you may just find a hidden gem.”

Get more great photography tips… Find out how photographer Ron Timehin consistently captures what others fail to see on our most reliable network ever.

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Source: Official Vodafone Blog