A few months ago I was thinking about new ideas besides street photography. Keeping myself developing in street photography and add another layer. One of the most important reasons why I want to add this layer is the wish to be on the streets and working with a person. Street photography for me is most of the time artistically documenting life, searching for the best light, shadows, silhouettes, colors, and people are a part of the scenery or story. While I am wandering through a city, there are sometimes moments of contact. Although you are walking with many people around you, from my point of view, street photography is observing life from a distance. The camera is the window and creates the connection. I love to be alone, wandering and observe the fast pace of life while I am slowing down.
Besides my creative style of street photography, I want make a present, a kind of gift for a person. Feelings and emotions of that person who is watching in my lens. Get into his/her inner emotions and visualize these within a photo. I think in this fast moving world we forget sometimes how we feel. I do sometimes too. I did not talk much about my feelings but I produced music to express my inner feelings. After I finished a track, the emotions where gone, and I was able to move on again. I did not think about if these feelings were answered. I just continued my life. In the last years I learned better to talk about my emotions, but in art, it is for me still the best way to use my feelings as inspiration. I loved producing music, but it is a very lonely creative process. I do have kind of the same feeling with street photography. I love it and photography gives you the ability to do more.
Interact and connect with people is what I like. I want to get on the streets with other people, talk and capture great (emotional) moments that will last for a very long time. Wandering through old places in cities or old industrial area’s. I want to create contrasts between my client and the scenery in the photo.
I have seen photographers making cool portraits, but I am not ready for studio work. I want to use daylight first. Understand sunlight better, shadows, and how to instruct the model and adding more elements like softboxes during I get more experience. I am reading books and watch lots of videos and try to practise as much as I can. Now it's time to take action There is still the question, how I am going to do this? How am I going to do these photo shoots I have in my mind?
I had a great opportunity to having a jump start. About a year ago, I told my colleague that I started with photography and I showed some photos from time to time. She got pregnant and asked me if I could take photos during her last phase. Her wish was also that she doesn't like those goody-goodies ones, but needed to be tougher. I was very glad about having my first photo shoot assignment. What to do next?
I asked myself the following question?
- Who is the person that stands in front of my camera?
- What is the time of day?
- What kind of light do I have?
- What is the surrounding look like, does it have enough spots to create the industrial and urban theme?
- What is good posing?
- How do you instruct your models to get to the right posing?
- What kind of camera settings do I need?
This photo shoot is going to happen in the city of Utrecht. It is a lovely city in the center of the Netherlands. Also a perfect place for urban backgrounds. Old brick buildings, small corridors. I am started to create a database of great spots where you always can return for another photo shoot.
Preparation for the best light:
During my street photography sessions, I love to be around sunset. The golden hour. The long shadows, warm yellow color. Golden hour is a perfect time for a shoot. After the summer, golden hour starts early. That is why I travel love to a city after my work to be there during this moment of the day.
It would be easy if I could have some information about the impact of the golden hour in a particular street or place, even you have never been there. I do have a handy tool for this. It is an app on your phone and it's is called "Sun Surveyor."
Live View - Augmented reality puts you in the center of a sun and moon way path simulator.
Interactive Map - Sun and moon overlays, distance and elevation calculations, shadows.
Street View - Explore and plan near and far with 360° interactive panoramas.
Preparation for the position
Now I understand the location and the golden hour time frame; I need to know how to do a photoshoot. To inspire myself for this photo shoot, I used Pinterest to create in the inspirational board.
Preparation of my camera
Choosing the right camera is easy. I have only one camera. After a year of working with my Fujifilm X100F camera, we are best friends. I am not using a tripod don’t have a tripod and need to shoot every picture from hand. You need to understand which settings are the most important and which settings have to suffer due to your style of photography and your result.
If you were taking an image, besides composition, you have to consider the three technical elements:
- Shutter speed
You need to understand these three technical elements and very important, what is the most crucial part of getting the result you want to achieve? In my case, shutter speed is essential, because I am not using a tripod and I need to get 100ms and below. The aperture is necessary to get the right depth of field. For my street photography, I am using F8. So for me, ISO is the element that can change to get the best result, but a side effect, I am introducing noise due to the higher ISO.
Do you want to learn more about using your camera in manual mode? Check this vlog from Sean Tucker, his explanation of these three elements and what need to suffer to get the result you want to achieve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUtlZ3sahz8.
I choose for auto ISO mode, and of course during the photo shoot, I change my aperture from time to time. The FujiFilm X100F has some fantastic settings that I use a lot during my street photography sessions. The X100F has three auto ISO settings modes. You can choose the shutter time and the Min and maximum ISO mode. Very useful, during my session at different times and light of the day. In the begin of the photo shoot session, I have used these settings. The second part, during blue hour, I needed to lower my aperture too, to get enough amount of light into the lens.
My ISO auto settings are:
Auto ISO setting 1 (bright light source)
- Min ISO 200
- Max ISO 1600
Auto ISO setting 2 (lesser bright light source)
- Min ISO 200
- Max ISO 3200
Auto ISO setting 3 (low light source, after golden hour, blue hour) moving sources are blurry
- Min ISO 400
- Max ISO 6400
I have these setting in my Fast function button, so I can act quickly when light circumstances are changing.
THE PHOTO SHOOT
I met my colleague Merel at her house. This photo shoot had two phases. The first phase was only Merel on a fantastic place near Utrecht. A unique location which I add to my location database. It was an old church and the area around the church was even a perfect place to have a diversity of pictures. It felt like a circus in an abandoned terrain.
Merel had chosen a classic pink dress which I liked, and afterward, it created a fantastic contrast with the industrial scenery. I found out, the location and outfit was the easiest part. Both no experience in posing, but I went very well. I think it is vital for a photographer to be in contact with your client and he/she need to feel comfortable with your presence. I have the luck that I know Merel very well, and this helped me to create that required relaxed atmosphere.
The hardest part for me is to be creative with poses and guide her to change her poses. During the session, it got better, but I need to work on these skills!
Urban photoshoots can be very exciting too. You can spot amazing sites, but not all locations are open for public, and you need to ask the owner of the property. Also, you don't have much time to overthink the shoot; you have to follow your feeling and be quick. This also happened in that church. We had only a couple of minutes before the owner asked us to leave the area because we didn't ask him upfront and started shooting. However, I did have some fantastic shots! And these were still on my camera. My tip: First ask the property owner if you are allowed to take any pictures. I hope he/she will say yes, otherwise.... I know what I should do. Just try it, and these shots will also have a story.
Later that evening we did another shoot with Merel and her boyfriend. We had a few spots in mind, but even traveling to the city, we found some fantastic places which I never thought up front.
I think you have read enough. Let me show you the images!
What I have learned
This was my first photo shoot, and it was amazing to do. The shoot in the city was during blue hour, and the light became harder to work. My camera did an amazing job. I used a low aperture (F2) to get enough light in my lens. The downside, the depth of field was not always as desired. Besides the limitations of experience, posing instructions and camera settings, the result is better than I expected and Merel liked the photo's very much. The most work was during editing to pop out the images.
The most challenging part is the posing. I need to work on instructing the model and being creative with modeling positions.
Urban photo shoots is definitely a skill I am going to master, and I am working to add a photo shoot gallery to my site.
I already got my following photo shoots planned.
If you are interested in some other type of photos than the stand studio shoots, an urban photo shoot is what you need! So don't hesitate and contact me!
Thank you for taking the time reading my blogs.
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