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            Showing posts with label street photography 101. Show all posts
            Showing posts with label street photography 101. Show all posts

            Friday, June 30, 2017

            Street Photography 101: Composition vs Chasing People

            Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2 R WR. Classic Chrome film profile
            If someone asked what the #1 tip I can give for creating a great street photo, I would say focus on composition. It's even more important than finding interesting people. Really? Many prioritize the search for interesting people and then composition comes after, but my approach is the reverse. Most of us understand what the term 'composition' means, but do we know how to prioritize it in our photography, especially when it comes to street photography? I've conducted enough workshops to know that many of us need a little help, but once we get it, we get it. Developing a systematic approach to our composition will take time, but it's time well spent. Once we acquire an eye for it, our street photography will improve dramatically. So let's stop chasing people and focus on composition. But how? Let's begin now.

            Tuesday, April 12, 2016

            Reinventing the Street Portrait with Kale Friesen in Chinatown Vancouver

            Fujifilm X70 with EF-X20 flash. 1/4000th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 800 with fill flash
            The most common question I get about street photography is how to get a good street portrait. First of all, what is a street portrait? For some, it's approaching a complete stranger and asking them to pose for a picture on the spot. For others, it's taking a portrait-like candid image of a stranger without permission. Still for others, a street portrait is a simply a portrait taken of someone outside on the street. I'm not dogmatic and can appreciate each approach, but sometimes I get bored. I get bored of taking portraits of strangers. I get bored of taking portraits of friends. Is there a way to merge the two? Can I take a street portrait that's both predictable and random? With the help of local fashion photographer Kale Friesen, I decided to give it a try.

            Monday, July 7, 2014

            Street Photography, iPhones and Instagram

            All images taken with iPhone 5S and edited with Instagram, VSCOCam, PS Express, and/or Camera +

            I love reviewing cameras and I enjoy street photography. I only review cameras that interest me and want to use while shooting on the street. I care less about absolute image quality, but focus on what camera is best for shooting quickly and discretely, important qualities while taking street images. Funny thing, I've been spending much of my time shooting with my iPhone and using Instagram as the primary platform for my street photography work. When I upgraded my iPhone 4 with the latest iPhone 5S back in December, I saw a leap in image quality and felt it was powerful enough for me to shoot with it as a serious imaging tool. What makes smartphone cameras ideal for street photography? Here's a few things I've learned while using my iPhone and sharing my images via Instragram during my street photography project...

            Wednesday, July 2, 2014

            Street Photography 101: Zone Focusing

            Tokyo-X-Vario project: Leica X-Vario @ 18mm, 1/1000th sec f/7.1 @ ISO 1600. Zone focused to 3.5 M

            There's been much talk about scale or zone focusing and I've had a lot of people asking me what the difference is between the two and the advantages of shooting this way. I've mentioned it many times in my camera review articles, so I thought I would post a quick video to explain the basics. Scale focus just means that you focus by using a scale, instead of using a focusing aid, such as rangefinder focus or split image focusing. Many older cameras used scale focusing as the only focus aid, and with a depth of field scale, most could estimate the distance pretty good.

            Zone focus is more purposeful in that you choose a comfortable focus distance based on the focal length of your lens and the subject you're shooting, choose a suitable aperture that will give you enough depth of field within the 'zone' you are focusing on, and then leave your settings there. Once you get use to zone focusing, especially for street photography, it becomes a faster way to shoot versus relying on autofocus. Watch my YouTube video for more details. 

            Hopefully this video wasn't too complicated. If so, or if you still have questions, don't hesitate to comment below and I'll do my best to explain further. Zone focusing is good training for your eyes, to be able to estimate distances instead of relying on a focusing aid to tell you. I hope you enjoyed the video. Don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and please check out my Instagram account and my Twitter as well for updates and extra pictures.

            Happy shooting!



            Sunday, February 2, 2014

            Photo Tip 101: Take Another Look at Your Images before Deleting

            Fuji X-E2 with XF18-55mm lens. 1/2400th sec F/8.0 @ ISO 1600. Shot jpeg, edited in CS5 & Photoscape
            We've all done it before. We take a picture, we chimp the image, we're not happy with the image, and we hastily delete it. It's a waste of time, waste of frustration, and perhaps you could have deleted the best image you've ever taken. This is why many photographers recommend we avoid chimping (take a quick peak at the back screen right after we take the picture) while shooting with our digital cameras. It's a nasty habit. Deleting an image in the field is also a bad habit. Keep it and look at it again at home where we can learn from our mistakes...unless the mistake turns out to be a great shot!

            Sunday, December 29, 2013

            Street Photography 101: Having a Child-Like Curiosity when Shooting

            Ricoh GR-D IV @ 28mm zone focused. 1/217th sec F/2.8 @ ISO 80. Cropped square. I don't even know how this child knew I was taking pictures as I was shooting from the hip. But I know he knew because even as he passed me he turned and gave me a look... Harajuku, Tokyo.

            When I'm walking down the street and taking pictures, I know how to blend in well. I often will find a spot to shoot, hang around for a while and look busy for a few minutes, and then settle in and start taking pictures. Most people are so busy thinking about where they're going, or what they're going to do, that they won't notice me... except children. Children are easily 'distracted' by visual and auditory stimuli, and for some reason, they can sense a photographer or sense that a camera is pointed in their direction. It happens so often when I'm shooting that I realize it's no coincidence, and having this child-like curiosity is a positive quality that all street photographers should try to learn...

            Monday, November 18, 2013

            Tokyo-X-Vario: Shooting at Night in Ginza

            Leica X-Vario at 28mm equiv. 1/15th sec F/7.1 @ ISO 1600. Leaning camera against light pole.

            I thought I would continue testing the X-Vario at night to prove that it is possible to get great shots without having an F/1.4 lens or image stabilization (optical or sensor based). We use these types of specs as tools, but sometimes we need more than tools to get great images. In fact, sometimes limits help us to come up with unique solutions, and often we create images we would never have done with cameras with more tricks and specs. 

            I like the mood of artificial lights at night, and how the direction of light is also very different from natural daylight. However, to capture this type of lighting correctly, you have to shoot at the right shutter speed. I find that shooting at night at super-slow shutter speeds is great for creating a sense of  motion. 1/8 to 1/120th of a second is best for painting this motion , such as moving cars or people. How is this possible with the X-Vario?

            Monday, September 23, 2013

            Street Photography 101: How to Take Street Photos versus Stealing Photos

            Fuji X-100S. 1/1300th sec F/4 @ ISO 800. Walking man in a hat and poster girl in a hat both giving me a glare. Subject out of focus due to wrong aperture setting. 
            There are many ways street photographers can get great images. The romantic ideal is to walk around randomly and find the exact moment where subject and background come together serendipitously. This works about 10% of the time (or less), at least for me. Exact place, exact time, all by accident. Don't get me wrong, I still try and get these completely spontaneous shots all the time, and if I'm lucky, I'll get a couple after shooting all day. If I may suggest another way of getting a good shot, where one element is not by accident. I like to call the 'National Geographic' shot. NG photographers must get portraits of people within the context of their environment, as they merge the portrait with landscape or cityscape photography, very much like a street photographer. Once they arrive at their location, they immediately start scoping out great backdrops for their upcoming portraits. These types of images rarely happen by accident. What's the best way to get these types of images?

            Thursday, September 12, 2013

            Ricoh GR: Why Use Custom Setting Mode?

            Ricoh GR D IV: 1/270th sec F/1.9 @ ISO 80, Bleach Bypass. MY3 Setting custom profile.

            Do you own a Ricoh GR-D IV Digital camera? How about the new GR, or any of the older models? Have you taken advantage of the custom settings features? Did you know you can control more than just ISO, shooting mode and your image settings? How about your focus distance? How about customize your jpegs image setting? I was too lazy to go through all the features until recently; and I thought I would share with you how powerful this feature can be for those with specific shooting needs. 

            Wednesday, July 3, 2013

            Zone Focus Street Pics with Leica X Vario

            On a previous post I mentioned how much I enjoyed using the Leica X Vario for street photography, and I meant it. I was gathering images to use for my upcoming review, and I realized I had too many street shots to choose from. In the end, I decided to post the overflow here for your viewing. Here are just some of the overflow...I actually have more!

            All these images were taken using zone focusing, anywhere between 1.5 to 4 meter distance. Once you get use to eyeballing distance, it's pretty easy and fun. Just shoot high ISO (800-1600), stop down to F/5.6 to F/8 and make sure you're shutter speeds are 1/500th sec or faster. You'll be surprised how many good images you can get when you're not worried about focusing, or even shutter speeds and aperture.  

            Friday, June 28, 2013

            Leica X Vario Almost Perfect for the Street

            Shot with Leica X Vario @ ISO 1600 and 1/1600 sec F/3.5 at 28mm equiv

            I've posted more street shots here.
            My full review of the X Vario is here.

            Some people feel that shooting with a Leica is like driving a Rolls Royce: mostly show and very little performance. However, I've found that shooting with the Leica X Vario on the street has been a surprisingly enjoyable experience. Let me explain. It's not that I didn't expect to enjoy shooting with this "mini M", but I didn't think it would actually help me become a better street photographer. What makes the X Vario so good? True manual control. Manual dials, manual zoom, manual focus lens. Without looking at a screen, I can see my shutter speed, aperture, focal length, and most importantly my focus distance. This is the key: a true manual focus lens, not focus by wire. This one feature has helped me get more shots more often.