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Beginner Photography: Street

Hey folks! This week’s topic is street photography, which I love. I’m really excited to have Gisele Duprez on the live show. She’s an incredible street photographer and a good friend of our crew. You can see a blog that Gisele wrote for us a while back here.

You can also see my first post on street photography here, which, frankly is better than this one. San Francisco served for some great shots. But to be fair, I was shooting over a whole weekend. This week I just went out for a few hours. My family went with me down to Kelly Drive, which is a lovely jogging/biking trail along the river in Philadelphia. It was a nice day and there were a lot of people out. I didn’t want to capture joggers and bikers though, as that’s where I’d shot for my sports blog previously.

There are a lot of challenges to street photography, but many of them are self-imposed. It’s scary to photograph strangers! I have the tendency to never get close enough, which can cause me to miss focus and include too much busyness in the background. When shooting street photography, you want to look for interactions between people. To zone in on a moment in the midst of a lot of unfocused chaos. But what you’ll see a lot of is people on their phones, or determinedly zipping through a crowd. It can take a lot of shots to find something worth seeing.

Technically, here are some tips. Using a smaller camera with a movable screen on the back is great. You can hold your camera down and pull out the screen which can disguise where you are pointing your camera and whether or not you’re even shooting. Holding the camera to your eye is certainly more conspicuous. I choose to shoot on aperture priority at a low to moderate f/stop so that I have some leeway on my focus. I almost always convert my shots to black and white in post to eliminate distractions which inevitably exist in street photography. Here’s a helpful video from Chelsea on the subject:

Here’s what I got:

f/4, 1/400th, ISO 2oo

This one is my favorite, the eye contact made it.

 

f/4, 1/640th, ISO 200

 

f/5, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

f/4, 1/1250, ISO 200

I realize now that my camera chose a crazy fast shutter speed to freeze the water, which was unnecessary. 

 

f/5.3, 1/400th, ISO 200

 

So those turned out okay. The first shot is the only one I would really keep, but I love street photography and practice makes perfect. I have a few spots I know I’d like to go out and try again. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with this week and to hearing from Gisele on Thursday!

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Beginner Photography: Street Pets

Ok, so this one is a¬†cheat. I didn’t go out shooting this week, we don’t have a live show and I couldn’t come up with a subject. So I decided to go through old shots and edit some, and turned up a bunch of street photos of dogs that I never had any use for.¬†

I was shooting street photography in San Francisco at the time, so I had my Olympus E-M10 with me, using live view on the flip-out back screen to conspicuously take shots. But you don’t really have to be conspicuous with dogs, because they have no shame. So when possible, I got down at their eye level to shoot them. Like standard street photography, I tried to get some context to their surroundings and often went black and white to eliminate distractions.¬†

Here’s a great video from T&C on shooting street photography:

I realized editing these shots how far I’ve come over the past few months. I had NO idea what I was doing when I shot these. My settings are insane and the shots came out noisy even though I was out in natural light. My f/stop and ISO could¬†have been much lower.

And here are some pups:

Sadly, I cut off his front feet which is a no-no, but look at that face! 

f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 800

 

I love their bodies pointing different directions but looking the same way, and the cool owner leaning against his car.

f/6.5, 1/250th, ISO 200

 

It is hard to expose for a white ball of fluff, and to focus on it’s eyes.

f/4, 1/50th, ISO 200

 

So there’s some dogs! Do they make up for me not shooting this week? Maybe.¬†

Next week’s topic is “lines” which I’m excited for. I love abstract topics and I look forward to seeing how everyone interprets it, myself included.¬†

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Live Show Recap: Slice of Life

Happy new year! We start the show off well by being mostly on time and having Justin back in the house. We also have some guest doggos in the studio! 

Apparently London goes from posh to sloshed come nightfall.

So this week the topic was “slice of life” which I love. A photo that captures a story in a moment, a candid and not a posed photo.

Ok, we start looking at your photos here, and these were our faves:

Time for PhotoNews!

Over to me for some questions:

  • what do you think Nikon will do for it’s 100th anniversary? Maybe a new DF? Maybe have a beer and relax?
  • what’s up with Tony’s new aerial photography business? Nothing yet, need FAA certifications first.

Now to review a portfolio! Vanexus Photography, absolutely stunning landscapes. Another husband and wife team! Keep your interface consistent between your main page and your categories, also change your store page so they can order directly. Otherwise, it’s lovely.

Ok, back to your photos:

Now to Chit-Chat! The part of the show where we read your weird comments on our videos.

  • stoners
  • droning
  • how to shoot with your spouse
  • buy our books
  • i love you babes
  • badittude
  • apparently we don’t answer this one dude’s questions, but he¬†asks dumb ones

Back to photos!

Over to me for some more of your questions:

  • new years resolutions? Nah, not really. Justin has some, I do not.
  • how old is too old to become a professional photographer? Never.¬†
  • a review of sharpness tools in PS? It’s in our Photoshop book.
  • what’s the best sandwich? Reubens for Tony, Thanksgiving turkey sandwich for Chelsea or a lobster roll, pulled pork for Justin, chicken cheesesteak for me.

Back to photos, Tony sped through them and picked some out:

More questions!

  • tips on shooting a model for the first time? Watch a shoot on YouTube to learn how to direct a model. If you have an experienced model, follow their lead, if not, look up posing. Pay attention to the overall aesthetic and mood. Take time to interact and develop a rapport first.
  • are all crop sensors of the same brand equal? No, close but not exact. A bigger sensor or faster lens will make a lot of difference.

A few more photos, rapid-fire:

And that’s our show! Join us next week for the subject “shadows” where shadows are a part of the composition, not just incidental.

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Beginner Photography: Best of 2016

Happy holidays! This post is going to be a look back on my photography journey so far this year, as we’ll be reviewing your best of 2016 photos for the live show this week.¬†

So, this might not be much of a dramatic transformation as I only started this series 4 months ago, but I can certainly say I’ve tackled new projects and stretched myself. I mean, I was second shooter on a wedding! That’s crazy. I found out which genres I’m not great at (landscapes, still life) and some that I was surprisingly good at (spooky, wedding, street). I started shooting with a borrowed Olympus E-M10¬†with a Lumix 14-42mm lens,¬†which felt like a revelation after using my Samsung smart phone for so long, but now I am feeling limited by my gear again.

I found that I need to work on mastering my camera settings. I still rely on automatic mode a bit too much, I don’t nail focus as often as I’d like. I’m better at finding my shots rather than creating them, I could use to plan more.

So I’m going to post my favorite images from these past few months below,¬†in chronological order:

Adventure: 

This shot was taken with my phone, so the settings were out of my control. But the sun was high, so the shutter speed was fast and the ISO was low. I love the mood, the action, and the colors. I feel I successfully captured the joy of children in summer. 

 

Travel:

Another phone shot! I could not have planned something like this. Just a beautiful moment I happened upon in the Muir Woods. The light filtering through the trees, the backlighting of that lone stump.

Street:

I loved this bright turquoise wall, and I only had to sit for a few minutes to catch someone walking by it. I shot at 1/400th of a second at f/8 and ISO 200.

 

Spooky:

This is one of my most successful shoots to date, and one that I actually planned out instead of winging. I dressed up my daughter in a vintage dress and applied some makeup to appear dead. I shot behind an old school and an abandoned church at sundown for the mood. The leading lines bring you to her and then off into the darkness. 1/60th, f/4, ISO 800.

 

Wedding:

This shot is one of my favorites, and it may only be because I know the people in it. I cut off feet, but I love the mixed eye contact, the anxious energy and mood. I was second shooter for a friend who lent me her Canon 5D Mark III and 24-70 f/2.8. It was shot at 1/1000th, f/2.8, and ISO 1250 which is insane. I could have certainly shot at a lower ISO and shutter speed.

 

Bird:

Another example of the right gear making the shot. I was shooting with the D500 and a 200-500 f/5.6. This was shot at 1/800th, f/5.6 and ISO 100.

 

Night:

My first attempt at night photography was my most successful. Shot with the Olympus at a 6 second exposure, f/5 and ISO 200.

 

So those are my favorite shots I took this year. I got to play with cameras I will never own and shoot with really talented photographers. I got to do some travelling and force my family into modeling. I got to practice making art in a way I haven’t in years. I am really enjoying this, and I hope you are having fun watching me try and fail and try and sometimes succeed. You can see all my past posts here.

What do you think I could use to work on this year? What would you like to see me try? What have you learned shooting this year?

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Beginner Photography: Street

Hey y’all. Here’s the second of my two-parter of my trip to San Francisco. I went knowing that the topic of street photography would be covered a few weeks later, so I made it a point to take some shots I wouldn’t normally. I’ve been shooting with the Olympus E-M10 and a Lumix 14-42mm 3.5-5.6¬†which is a good, discreet little set up for street shots. The screen in the back flips out, so you can take shots without looking like you are.

Street photography is a very loose concept. All it needs to entail is a person and the space they exist in. It is often candid, but street portraits are also a subset of street photography. (Street portraits take a boldness I don’t quite have yet, but maybe I’ll tackle that another time.) Now, the fact that street photography is vague doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a lot of consideration to¬†bring a photo of people from a snapshot to an image of interest. Here are a few ways to do that.

First: Backdrop

I found that scouting out a good backdrop and sitting at an outdoor cafe was a good way to stealthily get shots of passers-by, like this one:

I had a hard time getting people’s faces in focus. I was more concerned about not getting spotted when I started out, but got more bold as I went.

You can take photos of your backdrop before a person walks into frame, and then just keep shooting once they walk past. Most of the time they won’t notice you’re shooting at all, or if they do and pause to not walk into their shot, you can just wave them through.¬†

Second: Interaction 

One thing that makes people an interesting subject is their interactions with each other. Try to capture a moment between people, be it a simple conversation or a touch.

My next spot was at the beach. Everyone takes pictures at the beach! And I was so obviously a tourist, wearing a leather jacket and jeans, carrying a camera. This time I took a ton of shots, and did better with my focusing.

So many great looking surfers

That can also mean interaction with you, the photographer. If your subject notices you shooting and you still feel comfortable doing so, keep shooting! That connection can make your photo.

I wanted a picture of the van, but got these guys instead

This was shot with my phone, but I loved her expression and the¬†fact that the man she’s interacting with doesn’t seem to notice.

Third: Light, Shadow, Shape

These are what make compelling images in any genre. Interesting light, the play of shadows and leading lines draw the eye where you want it to go in the frame.

It wasn’t until going through my photos afterwards that I realized how many were facing the sun, which means I got a lot of silhouettes and shadows

I loved the line in the sand bringing you to the fisherman and his fishing rod leading off frame

 

I feel pretty good about this. Some feel a bit more landscape than street, because I took a lot of distance shots instead of getting in their space, but I think I’ll do better with that the more I practice. I had a lot of fun shooting street shots, I wasn’t sure I would. I need to practice on nailing focus and getting in closer, but I think this is a good start.¬†

What other tips do you have for shooting street shots? What makes a street shot compelling to you?

Our live show this week will be with street photographer Andy Shields, whose work I love. He does amazing things with street photography. You can read his beginner blog post here and make sure to tune into the show on Thursday at sdp.io/live.

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Beginner Photography: Travel

Hey friends! This weekend I got to do a whirlwind weekend in San Francisco for my friends wedding. This will essentially be a two-part post, since next week’s topic is street photography and I did quite a bit of that while I was there (get ready to see some surfers)!

This was my first time on the west coast, so there was a lot to capture. We stayed by the beach in a great, diverse little neighborhood. I also got to go out to the Muir Woods and hike among the redwoods. I hope I can do them some justice! I pulled a total rookie move and forgot to bring my Olympus battery charger. My camera made it through to the last day, halfway through my hike. Luckily I had my phone with me still, and wound up getting some of my better pictures with that.

I wish I’d taken some more time to just go out and shoot, but it was an action-packed weekend and I wasn’t about to take time away from friends and events to take pictures. I hope I can go back and spend some more time in the future, there’s a lot more I wanted to capture.

There was a lot of great street art and signage in the neighborhood

 

There’s that distant SF fog

 

This needs some editing,¬†the exposure on her doesn’t seem right

The water was so cold, these men are insane

 

I got this shot with my phone after my camera died

So those are some of my faves! I did minimal editing to them all to adjust exposure and make sure I had black and white points in each photo, as well as some cropping and straightening. I hope I captured the feel of the area (let me know, Kyle Wolfe)!

Help me out here, how’d I do? What would you change/add/leave out from these shots?

 

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How to Capture Street Portraits: In Their Face and In Their Space

 

Photographic genres seem to change all the time, and what was once called one thing is now called something else. This may be splitting hairs and I may be full of crap, but I think there‚Äôs a difference between capturing a portrait on the streets and photographing a street scene with people. I would call the first example a ‚Äústreet portrait‚ÄĚ and the second example ‚Äústreet photography.‚ÄĚ

Continue reading How to Capture Street Portraits: In Their Face and In Their Space