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It is almost a year ago when I was thinking about my next step in my creative part of my life. I am moving from sound to images. Audio and music is an essential part of my life. I have a hard time to put the same amount of energy into music production. I was losing the fun, and it was something I pushed myself to do it. I am very critical in my work, and I was losing my quality and the connections in the music business. It was time to move on and find something where I can leverage my creativity to a new platform. It was my girlfriend who told me to grab a camera because she had seen pictures of me. These pictures were from holidays. I love to grab the camera during a holiday. When I got home, the camera went in a drawer for another year. It was time to take the camera out of my drawer and start shooting. Questions raised about what I want to capture? Do I have the technical skills? Do I know how a camera works? Do have the eyes to see a frame for a good picture? I had no idea. One thing I know for sure, doing nothing won't make you better. This blog is about a retrospect of my first year of photography and what I have learned. I must say, it is quite challenging to write about what you have learned. I do read a lot, watch movies on youtube and try to learn myself skills while I am on the street. I not only do street photography. I also capture a lot of pictures when I with my family, on the beach during sunset, when I am on holiday. And I must say, the quality of my photographs is getting better and better. Besides taking pictures, editing is also an essential role in getting the picture the way you want to have it. I will share my sources were I get my knowledge and inspiration.
Why did I choose for Street photographyI took my Canon 350D from my drawer, looked to it. I thought, what do I want to capture. Different scenarios went through my mind. Architecture, People, Portrait, nature, details or products. Architecture felt quite dull; I would like to do something with people, Portrait not enough experience at the moment, I love Urban, Nature is not my thing. I want to capture life, People and I love Urban. Maybe street Photography is subject to start. So let's begin!
My first street photography experience (5 tips)It was in the beautiful city of Utrecht in the center of The Netherlands. Together with my Canon 350D and my prime lens, I went from my hotel to the city center. I think one of my first shots; a guy was standing against concrete blocks. I thought this could be an excellent shot. I pointed my camera towards him and "click," with the known click of a DSRL camera. It was on a quiet street, so the guy noticed me of taking a picture of him. He said: "are you taking a picture of me." So what to do now:
- Always be honest
- Show the person the picture you have taken
- Aks, the person if you need to remove it
- If yes, remove it in front of his eye so that the person can trust you.
- Don't feel offended, move on and find your next subject or composition.
Street photography is simple, right?When choosing to focus on street photography, I thought; Capturing and documenting life is never dull and should not be that difficult. You don't need to set up your studio with lights. Just walk around on the streets and capture what is passing your eye and it is a possible tactic. However, I found out, just shooting pictures of random events on the streets is just a picture everybody can make. I have shot many of these images to show myself; this is not the way to go. How do I get breathtaking photos that I can share and where people say, this is a great photo! My first thoughts are to get closer to people. You can use a large zoom lens and capture people from a distance. It is an option, but your depth of field is terrible because zooming means flatten the depth of field of an image. My Prima lens was 50mm with subtle zooming. I do have a Sigma 18 - 250 Zoom lens. Not very smart to use this lens if you want to capture the street life of that particular moment. With such a big lens, people are feeling watched. Getting closer to people and taking a photo of a stranger was a challenge. How do you get closer to a person without being the busybody? Now it is getting hard and is street photography not a natural photography style at all. Visiting Utrecht was my first experience with street photography. The question, how do I get better at capturing images and getting enough self-confidence to get closer to people? I want to share some tips learned from my own experience.
- Use a small camera to stay undercover while you are practicing capturing your first photos.
- Use a camera that is silent (Like a system camera) to keep undercover when you are in quiet area's.
- Research the different styles and compositions of street photography. More tips will follow.
- Choose a subject or style with your hart, where you have enough confidence to do it. You have enough time to learn.
- If you have found a right spot, stay there for a specific time to capture as many photos. Most of your images will fail. Shoot 100, and you have maybe two that are perfect.
- Inform yourself about a street photography course. I am sure that it will kick-start your street photography skills and have fun being on the street with your camera
Next Steps (1 tip for a street photography workshop)After my visit to Utrecht and my first experience with street photography, I needed two things to do. 1. Buying myself a camera that is small, silent and fast. 2. find a street photography course to get up to speed faster. Finding the right camera with no experience was very though. Google is your best friend, and I started to read with my search query "best street photography camera." A website like this helped me choose: Best street photography cameras Leica was way beyond my budget, so I prefer for the FujiFilm X100 series. If your budget is between 1000 to 1500 Euro, these series cameras are the best for street and other types too of course. I have bought the latest model, X100F. This post on streetsnappers.com is about a guy (Brian Lloyd Duckett) abonded Leica for Fujifilm I have this camera for about a year and I love it! Why?
- Film simulation
- What you see is what you get
- Direct response in your view finder when changing settings
- fixed lens
- zooming with your legs
- you will learn the limitations between what you see and what the camera can do for you. I think only our mind is the limitation of the camera. You don't waste time thinking about the lens you should use.
- Not only for street, also landscape and portrait proof.
- I don't have to always shoot in RAW. JPEG quality is amazing.
Want to learn more about being creative with compositions. Let me take you to my last part of this blogs
Where do I get my inspiration?I am always searching the Internet to find interesting blogs and movies to keep on learning. Sometimes, when I am hitting the street with my camera, I am giving myself the assignment to acquire a particular style or technique next to the images I am capturing. Assignments like:
- Using shadows
- Find details
- Color or black and white only
- Low key or high key
Inspirational Blogs (2 Tips)As mention above, I love the blogs of Ian MacDonald, and he has written an exciting series about creative compositions. Check the links below to read about his vision on street photography compositions.
- creative composition in street photography part one
- creative composition in street photography part two
- creative composition in street photography part three
- creative composition in street photography part four
- creative composition in street photography part five
Inspirational videosThere is one person I watch his videos already many times and even the videos I have already seen. Sometimes you want to know what is going on in the mind of a professional, his doubts and tips on how to deal with this. I am doing street photography for over one year, and I still learn every day if it is about photography. By writing these blogs to share my experience, knowledge, and sources of inspiration. His name is Sean Tucker. You can find him on YouTube. If you watch his videos, it feels like if you know this guy. Very personal, videos where you will slow down, think about your challenges and how to deal with it in his opinion. He also has excellent technical tips like:
- street photography
After a year of street photography, what is my style today?If I ask this question to myself, it is not so easy to answer. What kind of photo's do I like and like to capture myself:
- Playing with light and shadow
- Reflections and silhouettes
- I prefer to have one person in the picture
- Multiple persons need to be in balance with each other
- The person needs to have a specific balanced position. Like the timing between steps. You can find this in my Portfolio walkings Portfolio - walking B&W & Portfolio - Walking color
- Layers within a photo
- See a specific moment in the corner of my eye and quickly react and even able to read the lights and shadows immediately
- Vintage coloring and Across Black & White film simulation
- Find a spot and ready to craft the image. Build the image layer by later in your head and be patient until the frame fills as you wanted. Learning how to build the frame inside your head.
- Keep my eyes learning seeing new compositions.
- Get connected with lots of other street photographers
- enter en win a photography contest
- Find a topic to focus during my tours on the street and able to get a gallery at least once in my life.