Seattle skyline Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

Guide to Capture Seattle Skyline: 5 Top Locations | 8 Effective Tips

Due to its year-round greenery, Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, boasts a breathtaking skyline. You're guaranteed to appreciate every view of the city, whether you're looking at it from the top of the Space Needle or the shoreline of Lake Union.

You'll want to make sure you visit each of the places we're going to share with you today whether you're a local of Seattle or a visitor to the city for the first time. We'll provide a list of the top Seattle vantage locations in this article. We'll go on to suggest several photographers you can look up to and offer advice you may use to develop your skyline photography niche.

Top Locations for Capture the Allure of Seattle Skyline

1. Sky View Observatory (Columbia Center)

Located in the Columbia Center in Downtown Seattle, the Sky View Observatory is an iconic observation deck. In addition to the city, Elliot Bay, the Olympics Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and more are all visible from this location.

Sky View Observatory-Columbia Center

Photo by Felix Lipov on shutterstock

It is unquestionably a location you should see out when touring Seattle because, at 902 feet, it is the tallest public observation platform in the Pacific Northwest.

2. Kerry Park

Kerry Park is a modest parkland in Seattle's Queen Anne district. Kerry Park is the spot to go if you desire to witness an amazing view. Kerry Park, which is in a housing neighborhood in Downtown Seattle, offers views of the iconic Space Needle, the city's skyline, Elliot Bay, and Mount Rainier in the distance.

Kerry Park

Photo by ESB Professional on shutterstock 

It's the ideal location for a stroll or to unwind on a bench while the sun sets. The Space Needle and Mount Rainier, two of the most well-known sights in the area, may both be seen in one iconic photo location.

3. Creosote Park Bench

Stopping at Pritchard Park or Creosote Park Bench can be a good idea if you're touring Bainbridge Island or the surrounding areas. The park sits across Elliot Bay from Downtown Seattle, and getting there requires a 1.5-hour boat ride.

Creosote Park Bench

Photo by Stephen Bridger on shutterstock 

Although it is a good distance from the city center, the scenery is well worth the trip, especially for photographers. This vantage point provides a distant perspective of the entire skyline.

4. Hamilton Viewpoint Park (and Luna Park)

Hamilton Viewpoint Park offers a truly rare glimpse of Seattle's skyscrapers due to its location on a small peak. You may anticipate a beautiful and clear view of the city at all times because the viewpoint is nearer to Downtown than Pritchard Park despite Elliot Bay's separation from the city.

Hamilton Viewpoint Park

Photo by Tristan the Visionary on shutterstock 

Even the buildings' reflections in the bay may be visible at night. The park is located 30 minutes from Downtown, but the trip is totally worthwhile because there are so many fun attractions nearby, like Alki Beach.

5. Dr. Jose Rizal Park

On the west side of Beacon Hill, close to Downtown Seattle, is a public park called Dr. Jose Rizal Park. Since there is a highway directly in front of it, you may see Seattle from a unique perspective from this vantage point while still having a clear view of the city.

Dr. Jose Rizal Park

Photo by SvetlanaSF on shutterstock 

The park is a fantastic location for photographers as it affords them the chance to capture the skyline while seeing car headlights provide a really nice touch to the images.

6. Space Needle Observation Deck

Photo by Zack Frank on shutterstock

The 1962 World's Fair required the construction of the 605-foot-tall building. Since then, it has evolved into one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet. Due to its distance from Downtown, the Space Needle's 360-degree indoor and outdoor panorama views of the city allow photographers to capture a significant portion of Downtown in just one frame. Because of this, the famous structure is undoubtedly the city's best vantage point.

Seattle Cityscape Photographers to Inspire Your Works

1. Brad Lyman

Landscape photographer Brad Lyman is headquartered in the stunning Pacific Northwest. Despite the fact that he is most passionate about taking pictures of landscapes, his enthusiasm for photography extends beyond those subjects and includes anything that motivates him. Your breath might actually be actively taken away by the beauty of his street and cityscape photographs from Seattle.

2. JD Chen

Inspiring 8K RAW images of the Emerald City are captured by JD Chen. It's always challenging to realistically simulate the sky while shooting outside. Whether taking pictures during the day or at night, JD is adept at capturing the mood and the nuances of the city. His photographs are most inspiring because they give you the impression that you are walking the streets with him.

3. 9 Sigma Sreedharan

Like most of us, Sigma got his start in photography for leisure. But it didn't take long for it to develop further. The azure hour or sunset are her two favorite photographic subjects. Each one is like a window into her imagination, using bright, vivid colors that draw Seattle to life in new ways.

4. 10 Josh Spooner

The Space Needle rises into the low-lying clouds in Josh Spooner's first image, hinting at the possibility of rain. It highlights the cityscape behind it so that you can hear the commotion of the street traffic. For Seattle cityscape photographers, this is such a crucial yet amazing gift. Josh is a good place to get it. His Instagram page provides you a yearning view into the alleyways of the Emerald city, whether he's using his camera or a drone to take the photos.

5. Sam Emerson 

Seattle-based photographer Sam Emerson focuses on airborne and urban landscapes. As a result, the landscapes and cityscapes he photographs look like they belong in a motion picture. He seeks to preserve the city he adores with the use of a DJI Mavic 2 Pro and a Nikon D810 to produce his magnificent pictures. His use of subdued, slightly darker tones in both the drone and Nikon photos draws you into the adventure.

Bonus: Tips to Capture Splendid Skyline Photos

The most famous photographs of skylines take you outside the metropolitan setting as well. They instead use a variety of photographic techniques to create an atmosphere. They have distinctive features, including monuments and buildings, that easily identify each region.

Even though mastering these approaches may require some effort, we have some tried-and-true advice for capturing city skylines that will get you started. Therefore, by using these tips, you may enhance your cityscape photography.

1. Pick the Situation's Ideal Lens

It's not as challenging as it first appears to take pictures of the urban scene. If you employ the best camera configurations and the suitable photographic equipment, you'll already be moving in the correct path.

black and white skyline photo

Photo by Patricia Zavala on Unsplash 

If you're going to be zooming in on just one significant landmark inside the city skyline, use lenses with a mid-range depth of field of about 28mm to 100mm instead of going too wide. The skyline's size may be captured well with this focus range without rendering it excessively close or distant.

2. Use a Tripod

It's a smart option to use a tripod, especially if you want to take sharp pictures. Camera movement can be lessened by utilizing a tripod. Additionally, it will enable you to use slower shutter speeds, which are helpful when shooting at night, in low - light conditions, or if you wish to be a little more experimental with your lighting.

3. Focus Manually

Despite the advantages of autofocus, there are a few situations where manual focusing is preferable when photographing cities. In almost all cases, manual focus gives crisper photographs than autofocus, particularly in low-light situations.

When photographing buildings from a distance, where the autofocus could have trouble determining how far away the structures actually are, manually focusing can also be considerably more precise.

4. Set Aperture Priority as the Shooting Mode

lighting skyline with a tower

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

While it's ideal to utilize Manual mode whenever possible, shooting the city skyline is one scenario in which switching to Aperture Priority can be helpful. This is due to the fact that, with the exception of the shutter speed, the Aperture Priority mode gives you complete control over your camera's settings.

5. For Improved Field of View, Use a Narrow Aperture

You might be asking what the optimal aperture is for taking pictures of city skylines since we just emphasized the necessity of ensuring a proper depth of focus. The goal will usually be to catch all the details by having everything sharp and in focus, but it truly depends on what you're attempting to accomplish.

Use a small aperture of about f/11 to accomplish this; this will improve front-to-back sharpness. You might need to increase the aperture for nighttime cityscapes to about f/3.5 in order to get a brighter exposure.

6. Low ISO

When shooting the city, similarly to any other type of photography, it's advisable to use the lowest ISO appropriate to the lighting conditions. By doing this, you can lessen the possibility of getting blurry, noisy, or grainy photos.

natural park plants around by hills

Photo by Stephen Bridger on shutterstock

7. Shoot Horizontally and Straight.

An image can be made or broken by the horizon line, especially when shooting cityscapes. The end result can be a horribly distorted, aesthetically poor image. As a result, you should always verify that the horizon is level before activating the shutter button after choosing your composition.

8. Morning, Twilight, and Azure Hours Are the Good Times to Take Pictures

Utilizing the finest lighting when shooting is one of the secrets to creating great cityscapes. During the "golden hour" just after sunrise or just before sunset, when brilliant colors light up the sky, city skylines appear amazing.

When the backdrop is darker and the city lights turn on during the blue hour or twilight, cityscapes can also be breathtaking. The ambient lighting will be sufficient to illuminate the structures without creating an excessive amount of contrast, lending them an air of enchantment.


To wrap up, taking a picture of the Seattle skyline can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With the right planning and a few simple tips, you can easily capture the beauty of this city from the perfect angle. A variety of stunning locations are perfect for capturing the best view of Seattle. With a bit of thought into the planning process, you can easily create stunning landscape photos that showcase the city's beauty.

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