Short courses


Urban Graphics 5: Introducing Urban Film and Photography

  • 10 to 20 hours
  • No start date. Work at your own pace.


This short online course will help you understand how to use photography in the planning and design process for recording, measuring and representing buildings and places.

You'll learn:

  • about the particular stages of vision, appraisal and analysis, and design
  • how to capture urban design information on photograph and film

As part of the course you'll do an exercise that involves taking a series of photographs appraising a street of your choice.

The course has been developed by planning experts and provides step-by-step instructions.

Course content

Urban photography

During the course you'll get advice on:

  • photographing in public places, private land and stations
  • photographing people in general and children

You'll learn about the danger of inadvertently photographing people who might be breaking the law.
You'll also get advice on:

  • the composition of photographs of urban scenes
  • using photographs in drawing sketches
  • accurate visual representation and viewpoints plans

Technical explanations will cover lenses, converging verticals, depth of focus, daylight and the use of flash.

You'll be asked to take a series of photographs appraising a street of your choice.

Using film and video

You'll also be introduced to using film and video in the planning and design process for:

  • keeping a record
  • consultation
  • changing minds
  • promotion
  • editing

You'll learn how film and video have been used in creating archive material, in bringing history to life, and in documentaries.

You'll be given advice on how to structure a piece of film or video.

We'll look at films that have been inspired by towns and cities, showing the full range of inspiration.

This part of the course involves two exercises:

  1. You'll make a five-minute film or video about a place that you know.
  2. You'll write a short proposal for a film that is set in a particular town or city, in one of a choice of genres, and you'll draw a storyboard for one of the film's most important episodes.

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for:

  • students seeking a career in the built environment
  • professionals working in the built environment who aren't familiar with urban graphics but would like to expand their skillset

It covers some of the essential skills you'll need before you start a course that involves design and planning.


You don't need any design, graphics or urban analytical experience, thought it will be beneficial to have completed:

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you'll be able to:

  • produce a series of street photographs that can be used to analysis a place
  • produce a short film and storyboard for an urban movie

You'll have developed basic competences in using film and photograph to analysis and illustrate places.

Course team

Professor Matthew Carmona

Professor Matthew Carmona

Matthew is Professor of Planning & Urban Design at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning. His research has focused on processes of design governance and on the design and management of public space. Matthew was educated at the University of Nottingham and is a chartered architect and planner. He has published widely in the areas of urban design, design policy and governance, housing design and development, measuring quality and performance in planning, the management of public space, and on design and planning processes in London.

David Chapman

David Chapman

David Chapman is a director of the planning and urban design consultancy UDS. He is an urban design trainer and masterplanner, with specialisms in public realm and street design guidance, and negotiating planning and development projects. He is a teaching fellow at UCL and has been an external examiner at the University of Greenwich. His publications include (as co-author) From Design Policy to Design Quality.

Course information last modified: 1 Nov 2021, 15:34