October 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
*** Sorry for the shakiness at the start***
Part of a series of small quick clips to give you ideas and to show how I go about the different aspects of Street photography. This clip shows how I work with people and the background. The video was shot on a very wide angled lens compared to my Photo camera lens, so there will be a difference in field of view.
March 25, 2012 § 6 Comments
Logically lay to rest your fear and become confident.
In Street Photography I often hear verbally, in emails and on-line comments, “How do you have the confidence to shoot so close to people on the street?” and “Have you not been punched in the face / Are you not scared of being punched?”
Having confidence comes with plenty of practice, as well as a state of mind. If you go with the mentality that, what you are doing is wrong or that harm will come to you. You will either not shoot Street Photography, or come across nervous and project negative vibes, that people will sense from you.
To break the mental barriers, think about this. You camera is nothing new, they have been around in the last three centuries. So having a camera at hand should feel natural, especially in this tech driven world, the camera is more prominent and used more than ever.
The next hang up… Taking photos on the street. Well Street Photography is nothing new. There are plenty of books of fine Street Photography over many decades. So what you are doing is not cutting edge or odd. It should feel natural.
What other hang ups are there? Taking photos of people without their permission… In most countries (do your research) you are within your rights, to take photos of the public in public places, within reason. You are not doing anything wrong, so relax and capture that photo.
Any hang ups left? “What if the person I am capturing acts negatively towards me?” Remember be natural, smile and say thank you, or compliment them, 90% of the time that will help you. Should they persist, then you can either delete the photo (if digital) if they ask/tell you. Alternatively you could stay strong and believe in yourself and your work and walk on. Remember it is your photo, not theirs.
People will rarely challenge you, although the chances of being challenge will increase if you get in their face or be insensitive in a situation. Use your common sense.
So if you are new to Street Photography, do not put up mental barriers with pre-conceived negative thoughts. Go out and have fun capturing photos like the many thousands of photographers have done.
December 27, 2011 § 2 Comments
Mastering photography takes years of practice and knowing your equipment.
The article that I have written is something I feel very strong about and want to share with you. I will try and keep it straight to the point. A lot of photographers from beginners to experienced, can fall into the downward spiral of spending too much money buying products they think they need to become a better photographer, when really they do not need it. Or the fact they should really master that particular piece of equipment before buying something else.
It is that time of year, when you are likely to be treated to a new camera, lens or other accessory; whether it is a Christmas/birthday present or an item in the January sale.
When you receive or purchase such an item (such as a Camera or Lens) it is very important to know your item inside out.
* Know how it functions.
* Know your item’s strength.
* Know your item’s weak points.
* Know what your item can do.
* Know what your item can not do.
Know how it functions:
You may be just too eager to get up and running and what to see the results right away. However it is very important to really know how to use your item properly. Read the manual, watch on-line tutorial videos and read blogs. Try not to rely on automatic settings but get to know the true soul of your camera, lens or both. If you let the camera or lens do the thinking and decision making you will never deeply connect with your equipment. You want to be fully in control, so get out of your comfort zone and switch your camera to manual settings. Study up and learn your ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture settings and how they relate and effect each other, and practice, practice, practice getting your exposures correct using the “M” manual setting. You want to get to be at a level where you know what you are doing without thinking, even turning dials and listening to the clicks without looking, just using your senses, knowing if you are under exposing or over exposing. Once this becomes a reflex then you are on your way of mastering that particular camera, lens etc.
Know your item’s strength:
*You should know exactly what your camera or lens was designed to do:
*Was your camera designed for high image quality studio work?
*Was your camera designed for fast action and sports?
*Is your camera highly capable in low light situations without a flash.
*If your camera is capable of RAW files, then capture all the information and provide post-production flexibility.
*Is your camera designed to be small, light, travel friendly for day to day use.
*If your camera and lens has weather sealing, you can shoot with piece of mind in the weather elements.
*If your lens is wide angled, it should be for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, street photography, documentary.
*If your lens has a fast aperture (F0.95 to F2.8), it will be fantastic in low light without a tripod or flash.
*If your lens is normal (45mm to 50mm) you will not have any destortion / compression in your image.
*If your lens is telephoto (above 50mm) then you with have greater magnification and an ideal lens for flattering human portraiture work.
*If you camera has a full frame sensor then it can capture a larger field of view, better in low light, better bokeh and better image quality.
*If the film you use in your Analog camera can handle low light?
Know your item’s weak points:
While this might seem like a pointless heading and thought, a lot of photographers can overlook the weak points which can lead to problems later on.
*Is the lens cheaply made, will it survive being used every day, can you rely on it?
*How many aperture blades are in your lens? As it affects the quality of creamy smooth the bokeh is (out of focus blur).
*Does your lens not have image stabilization? Could that affect your photo or video if using a telephoto lens?
*Will your lens work on a full frame camera body, should you upgrade in the near future?
*If your lens is not weather sealed, it will develop fungus over time if exposed to rain, snow or high humidity elements.
*Are you using the correct lens for the project? (yes it may be the best and most expensive lens) however taking a photo of persons head with a wide angled lens will make the human head look distorted.
*If your lens is not fast enough, it will not be good in low light if hand held (such as F3.5 and above F4, F5.6 etc)
*If you are using a compact camera is there a delay in capturing action? (shutter lag).
*Is you camera to large for places that are sensitive about being filmed or photographer. Should your camera be more inconspicuous?
*Does your camera use the battery juice to quick? Do I need back up batteries?
*Is my camera too noisy at high ISO settings. Then think about buying a more modern camera or one with a larger sensor.
These are just some of the things that come to mind, and i am sure you could come up with more strong and weak points (pro’s and con’s) too. The important concept to grasp however is knowing what your camera, lens or whatever photography equipment you buy (tripod, flash, modifiers, filters, type of film etc) You you should know what your equipment can and cannot do. Once you know what is was purely designed to do then you are on your way to mastering your photography.
So try not to buy lots of lenses, but use the same lens for as long as possible (a year or more), know it’s personality, know it’s strengths and weakness. The same applies to the camera and other photography equipment.
October 20, 2011 § 6 Comments
A short documentary of me going about my street photography.
This is just to give you an idea of a typical day of me photographing in the Streets of Glasgow. Best viewed on Full screen and on HD.
Filmed and edited by Scott Houston.
Below are some of the photos from this particular photo shoot
If you would like me to make more videos or share tips let me know?
October 1, 2011 § 4 Comments
3 different shooting styles in capturing Street Photography.
I am hoping the three clips below, will give you an insight in various street shooting styles.
Bruce Gilden (With flashgun):
Garry Winogrand: (Thru the viewfinder):
Joe Wigfall: (From the hip):
Some Street photographers shoot using the only the one way, but there are many ways, each with their own pro’s and cons.
I personally enjoy capturing photos up close with a 17mm or 50mm lens and vary from shooting from the hip and using the view finder.
Which one suits you or do you just prefer a long telephoto lens and shoot from a distance?
August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
Watering down your strong body of work…
The digital age of photography can be a fantastic and instant form of photography. However it can bring many problems too.
Great photo hosting sites such as Flickr, allow us to upload our photos into an online gallery of work to show the world.
To get straight to the point, most people will just post up anything as well as their favourite photos. To become a great photographer you must realise when to keep a photo, and when to be brutally honest with yourself and delete or not upload the photos in question. In order to have a strong body of work, you should ask yourself is this photo truly memorable? Will this photo really connect with the viewers emotions, intelligence or imagination?
With regards to Street Photography I see many boring photos and normal photos of just people. The photo just looks like a random snapshot that has been taken with little thought or just because their was a tiny element that caught the photographer eye but nothing amazing.
I am not saying all my photos are amazing, and very often I will delete my own photos that don’t say much or have that special moment or soul. If you are just happy taking photos, then this post and my opinion does not matter; go out and enjoy taking photos. However if you want to be taken seriously, then at least think…
When studying the true masters of Photography, you are lucky if they have a few keepers per year, but when you add up their keepers (best photos) over a period of time. You can see a strong undiluted body of work.
The point of this short and direct blog post, is simply this, be super honest and very critical of your work and only show your best photos! Anything that is average, hide or delete as it will be that… Average!
A truly great photograph shows a pivotal movement, a structure, a captured essence, a very unique situation, tells a story. It evokes emotion, art, thought and a reflex visualization. Go and study the masters, read their books, view their photos, analyse and devour their content. Not to copy their style, but to deepen your understanding of what makes a great photo and a strong body of work.
July 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
Composition is how a photograph is composed, how pleasing a photo is to the eye.
When you first start out in photography your first natural reaction is to place the subject in the center of the photo. Try and avoid this as it makes your photo flat and uninteresting. Unless doing close-up high contrast flash photography, in which it can give a photo a dynamic edge.
1. Rule of Thirds
The rule of third is quite simple. When looking through the view finder, split your rectangular view into thirds or nine rectangles as seen in the image below.
Ideally you should place your horizon on one of the horizontal lines and not in the middle of your photo. You would then place the subject on the line of the vertical lines. Lastly you would place your main focal point (Such as the body, head or eyes), on one of the cross sections. (indicated in diagram above with red circles).
2. Use of Lines
When you look through the view finder or screen, look out for lines or geometrical shapes that draw the eye into the main focus point, see my photo below. Lines are good for drawing attention to detail.
3. No Merges or Distractions
When composing you photo, look out for distractions that would conflict with the main subject. Such distractions could be litter, a lamp-post sticking from behind someone’s head, a cluttered background or even sometimes other people.
4. Use of light
Try and make sure you have the correct light for the subject you choose to shoot. After all you do not want your subject to look flat and lifeless. Or perhaps unwanted shadows that spoil the main features. With good use of light you can create great sense of mood and emotion for a picture.
If you can try and frame the picture through your view finder with a natural frame, such as a drooping tree branch, an archway, man-made geometrics shapes. It does add quality to the subject.
6. Be Creative
Use your imagination, try out ideas that pop into your head or techniques that you have learned. Such as reflections, night-photography, different weather or different ISO speeds and colour. After all a picture is what you make it to be.
To give you photo more meaningful depth, have something in the foreground, middle and background that all relate to each other. This will make your photo more interesting.
Composition shows that you as a photographer have really thought about the photo before capturing it. However there are times when these rules could and should be broken. And only you as a photographer through experience know when it feels right to do so.