Photography Tip – Question Everything

That’s right. Question everything. Maybe it’s the radical in me just looking to disrupt the status quo. It’s easy to either listen to the so-called pros or to just get into a predictable pattern. Whether it’s the camera mode that you use (Aperture Priority, for example,) processing in the same old tried and true method or even how you approach your subject.

East Harlem Street Photography
Dancing with Picasso in El Barrio, New York City, 2 September 2017

It’s too easy to get stuck in a routine and not know or forget why you did it in the first place. My motto has always been to experiment and not be afraid to do so. What could happen? It is very possible that you’ll find a method that you like better. I am doing it all the time! I started using auto ISO awhile back and I had to wonder what took me so long? The fact is that in the early days of DSLRs auto ISO wasn’t so good.

The same is true with shooting Raw. I do sometimes shoot Jpg now. Oh no! Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s. Try it first and then decide. You might have to try something many times before you decide. At least you’ll know why you’ve chosen to do things the way you do!

Street Photography Tips – Personal Focus

The more you focus on just a few kinds of styles and subjects, the better you become at capturing them. I am obsessed with reflections and bicycles and lines and black and white photography.

It’s not so much that it’s easy for me to capture this kind of photo, but that I am constantly practicing it when the opportunity presents itself. Eventually everything comes together. Not every shot is great. Professional photographers show us the photos that work. Not those that didn’t.

So whether it’s when you’re out on a tour or workshop with me or it’s for the weekly photo assignment, it’s always about choosing those things which your vision gravitates towards and doing them over and over again. Just keep doing it.

Monochrome Street Photography
Cycle City, New York City, September 2019

Street photography challenges us to be on top of our game. So for this reason I say it’s good to have 3-5 things in your toolbox when you go out shooting that you can choose from. Only one thing could lead to disappointment if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your vision or some other such thing. We have to work with what’s available.

Now that it’s time for our year end photo assignments, t’s a good time to see if you can detect a pattern in your photos or are already working in themes. It’s time to evaluate where you are and plan where you’d like to be. But don’t be too critical of the past or place expectations too high. It’s always one step at a time.

Street Photography Tip – Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Your photos are always a reflection of who you are. And your mood always has an influence on your work. I do at times need to challenge myself on the streets to get outside of myself and be available to what’s going on around me. I often get invigorated by the people on the street.

East Harlem Street Photography
Happy in East Harlem, New York City, 16 July 2017

Street photography is about humanity. It’s about the people! When you smile and when you’re open to the environment people respond in a like manner. So don’t worry, be happy and your photos will be better for it! Happy shooting!

Street Photography Tips – The Basics

  • Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to become comfortable with your camera. Which isn’t to say that you know how to do everything on your camera. But that you are able to capture photos that you are happy with it when it comes to exposure. There are many methods to do that including learning through online videos or taking classes.
  • How you feel when you start a day of shooting street photography is important. Both your physical state and your mental state have an effect on the outcome of your photography.
  • Dressing for success whether for heat or cold as well as rain is of course also important. In the heatwave that we are currently experiencing here in NYC, staying hydrated is so so important. Oh, do wear comfortable footwear as well.
  • Make certain that you have fully charged batteries and preferably a clean memory card with plenty of space. There’s nothing worse than running out of batteries or memory in the middle of shooting.
East Harlem Street Photography
De La Vega, New York City, 20 October 2017
  • Decide on what shooting mode you want to use and take a few test shots. If your camera gives you good results in auto ISO, I suggest it. Typically, Manual mode is not suggested. Whether you decide to shoot Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or totally Automatic doesn’t matter so long as you are able to obtain good exposures. Choose your setting and forget about it unless the available light changes.
  • I advise using a fixed focal length lens that is wide angle. Using a fixed focal lens means less to think about. Zooming in and out is what you do with your feet when shooting street photography.
  • Try to forget about previewing your photos after taking them unless you have a change of light. In my experience, every time you stop to preview your photos you are missing opportunities for good shots.
  • It’s great to have some ideas of things that you would like to capture. It’s best to be open to what happens to come along. I have a handful of things that I like to capture and when they occur I can take advantage of them.
  • If you can clear your mind and be open to the moment you may find that you are able to see more and take better shots as a result. Street is spontaneous.
  • Composition is a real plus in any form of photography including street. If you’re able to think about composition while shooting that’s great!

I will expand on all of these points in upcoming posts. Happy Street Shooting!