Thanks to rapid technological advancement, we no longer need a top-notch camera and other photography-related equipment to be qualified as photographers, we are all one ourselves with the existence of our smartphones and free photo-sharing platforms (Instagram, VSCO, Pinterest, etc.) where we can show off our works and take inspiration from. As a matter of fact, never underestimate the quality and clarity cameras on our smartphones are capable of bringing, because they can be as outstanding as a camera that could easily cost you an arm and a leg, not to mention other relevant accessories like a camera bag, tripod, lenses, extra battery and many others of which you definitely don’t wish to be ripped off over. Invest in a high-functioning smartphone that you can multitask on and you’re good to go. As a result, we all have our favourite unique spots to take photos at which not everybody finds resonance; abandoned construction sites though perceived as spooky to some, back alleys which may appear filthy to some, and as risky as it sounds, mountain peaks and rooftops. Yes, you heard it, rooftop photography, people actually do that. You could attempt provided you’re fine with heights and your roofs are as sturdy as metal roofers.

“Rooftopping” Trendsetter – Tom Ryaboi 

Tom Ryaboi's roof photography

The saying that goes “curiosity kills the cat” poses slight invalidity as Ryaboi proved it wrong. After checking whether the coast is clear, he decided to climb to the very top of a construction site in Toronto to take a snapshot of the skyline. He experienced an instant rush of adrenaline as he opened the doors to what he claimed as the “secret world of wonder”. Though a citizen of Toronto himself, he had never witnessed a view as astonishing as that from the rooftop. It felt as if everything from the street was muted and people and cars were moving in seemingly slow motion, it felt different and “magical”. His work immediately went viral, making roof topping phenomena many photographers take inspiration from. He has since been given the moniker “Roof Topper” for being the trendsetter. 

“Even In My Sleep I Was Dreaming Of Roofs”

While it may sound as an extraordinary yet optional measure to enhance photography skills, it is something that has been largely incorporated into Ryaboi’s daily endeavors’; as extreme as it may seem, he perceives every building he passed by as his potential target. Imagine having the desire to climb atop the roofs of every building you encounter, that’s precisely what his life is like on a regular basis, he simply can’t stop. A few aspects he takes into serious consideration prior to his attempt are the elevators, fire escapes, security, and entrances, followed by the exits. 

Before Your Climb

While a sunny day may seem like perfect weather to those residing in colder climates for rooftopping, enjoying the sun at the very summit while you capture the beautiful view (sounds premium to me), those staying in tropical climates may need to take extra precautions. Should you find rooftop photography engrossing but you’re from a country where the sun is hot all year round, you may consider a metal roof installation that will prevent your feet from burning amidst the process. Contact metal roofing Malaysia for more professional advice. 

Tips & Tricks For Eye-Catching Rooftop Photography

Be Legal 

This is deemed the toughest part to overcome if you were to take rooftopping as an entire commitment. Not everyone is fond of getting random strangers trespassing on their property, let alone photographing atop their roofs. Prior to this very first step, make sure you have an influential social media presence because if you do, you can offer to promote their property in return as a benefit. This can be done by approaching relevant departments (marketing conscious management teams)of the building you intend to gain access to and not the security guards if you do not wish to be executed out of the building. Remember to demonstrate a few of your masterpieces to get the panels convinced. 

Take Advantage Of Various Angles 

Take Advantage Of Various Angles

Move around! When we switch spots and poses just to get the best out of our selfies, rooftop photography works the same as well. Play around with distinct angles and tilting the device of your choice can bring dramatic differences to your photos. 

Be Creative With Lightings 

Different lightings vibrate different meanings, so you’re recommended to make full use of it. Photography experts are fond of what they refer to as the Blue Hour that emerges prior to sunrise and post-sunset when everything is beautifully enveloped in varying tones of blue. Should you’re more prone toward fiery gradients of sunset and the soft glow of sunrise, you may also pay attention to the Golden Hour, depending on what kind of meanings you are seeking incorporate into your photography. 

Be Safe

City Landscape

The second thing you do not wish to be struck other than being caught trespassing (provided you didn’t get the permission of any sort) is being injured. Climbing on top of the roofs is not the safest activity to be carried out thus the essentiality of preventive measures. To avoid slippering, wear shoes with better grips and keep an eye out for each movement you make. If heights trigger your paranoia, try not to look down when possible. Lastly, I wish you the best of luck! 

If you are fond of photography, you might want to give this a read.