Posts Tagged ‘improve’

Why Wireless Tethering Will Improve Your Photography

20 Mar

As a photographer, shooting tethered is one of the best ways to improve your photography skills. Tethering helps you zoom into the details of your shots on a big screen so you can make adjustments as you go. It also encourages collaboration by keeping your photo subject or client engaged if they’re on location with you. In this article, I’ll explain what tethered shooting is and why wireless tethering with an app like CamRanger is the best choice.

What is tethering?

By definition, tethering is when a mobile device shares its internet connection with another device. This can be done through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a physical connection cable (e.g. USB). Many mobile phones can tether to share their Wi-Fi with laptops or tablets. Similarly, cameras can tether as well. But in the case of tethered shooting with a camera, the purpose is to transmit images from the camera directly to another device such as a laptop computer or tablet.

CamRanger Wireless Tethering 11

The cheapest and most efficient way to shoot tethered is to use a wired connection. All you need is a standard USB cable that connects to your camera and tethering software such as Capture One, Adobe Lightroom, or DSLR Controller. Wired tethering is very cheap, and it’s extremely quick. There’s practically no delay between pressing the shutter on your camera and seeing the resulting image pop up on your screen. Get more info and a detailed step-by-step guide to wired tethering here.

What is wireless tethering?

However, the main disadvantage with wired tethering is the cable. It can easily get unplugged from your camera or laptop and mess up the tethered connection. The cable can also be a hazard on set, causing you or your photo subject to trip over it. This is where wireless tethering can come in handy. If you shoot on location and can’t be bothered with a cable limiting your movement, wireless tethering is an option you may want to explore.

When you tether wirelessly, you plug a device such as CamRanger into your camera and use it to create a wireless network. Any device such as a laptop or tablet can join that wireless network and your images are transmitted wirelessly every time you press the shutter button. You can even remotely control the camera from your tethered computer or tablet.

CamRanger Wireless Tethering 10

Why CamRanger is the Best Wireless Tethering Device

There are several wireless tethering devices available, and I tried many of them out in search of the one that would work best. My devices requiring connectivity included a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 6D cameras, Android smartphone, and Apple laptop computer. Although it’s the most expensive, CamRanger is my wireless tethering device of choice. Here’s why:

1. Minimal stuff in the box

The contents in the CamRanger box are very minimal, consisting of just a few cables, a case, simple instructions, and the unit itself. I really loved the zippered case with a carabiner that easily fit all of the items. One thing that would be nice to have is the CamRanger hot shoe mounting device, which has to be purchased separately.

CamRanger Wireless Tethering

2. Intuitive setup

After unboxing CamRanger, setup is pretty simple. Begin by downloading the CamRanger app to your tethering device of choice. Currently, you can download the CamRanger app for iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android devices, Kindle Fire, and both Mac and Windows computers.

Next, switch on the CamRanger device so that it broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal. This might take a minute or two. Then connect your tethering device, with the app installed, to the CamRanger Wi-Fi network using the CamRanger’s serial number as the Wi-Fi password. Boom! You’re ready to shoot!

CamRanger Wireless Tethering 01

CamRanger desktop app allows for wireless tethering and remote camera control.

3. Compatible with Canon and Nikon

CamRanger will work with both Canon and Nikon DSLRs. For a full list of compatible cameras, check out their website.

How CamRanger actually works

Whenever you shoot tethered with CamRanger, the device stores image previews in a cache on your device. The actual files are still written to your camera’s CF or SD memory card like usual. While the wireless transfer of images can definitely be slow, this process can be sped up if you change your camera preferences to shoot in JPG only, or RAW + JPG. Transferring JPG images goes much faster than RAW images.

Another huge benefit of CamRanger is the option to switch the app into Client Mode. This allows you to hand your tethered device over to your client to preview images created in real time, without allowing them to remotely control your camera so you can keep shooting. It’s a clever feature that really adds value.

CamRanger Wireless Tethering 11

In practice, there are a few limitations of CamRanger to be aware of. First, note that wireless tethering still has a limited range of about 100-150 feet. If your camera and connected device drift outside of this range, you risk losing connectivity. Second, CamRanger does have a decent battery life of 5-6 hours by itself, but using it in conjunction with Live View on your camera can drain your camera batteries quickly.

CamRanger Positive Features

  • Very easy to setup and start using immediately
  • Built-in features include focus stacking, bracketing, and intervalometer
  • Minimal pieces, so it is easy to travel with
  • Lets clients easily see my images and give feedback
  • Reduces time in post-processing by making real-time adjustments when shooting
  • Eliminates the long, hazardous USB cable needed for wired tethering

What about built-in Wi-Fi?

If you have a camera with built-in Wi-Fi, you can probably remote control your camera and perform some tethering functions. As an example, I have the Canon 6D DSLR which has Wi-Fi connectivity. This is great for wirelessly transmitting images to my mobile phone and for doing some remote camera control via the Canon Camera Connect mobile phone app. However, no such app exists for my laptop, so I cannot wirelessly connect to my computer without using another device and USB cable. This is why I still use CamRanger to shoot tethered from my laptop, even with my Wi-Fi enabled camera.

CamRanger Alternatives

There are a couple of other popular CamRanger alternatives that also permit you to do wirelessly tethering. I tried both of these options out and found they weren’t nearly as comprehensive or reliable as CamRanger.

  • CamFi
  • Tether Tools Case Air

In Conclusion

Do you shoot tethered? What do you think about the pros and cons of wireless tethered shooting? Let me know in the comments below!

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5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

09 Mar

On now until March 21st (AUS time) get Anthony Epes’ Online Light Monkeys Photo Group – Yearly Membership – 55% OFF at Snapndeals. 

Having run photo workshops for several years now, I have noticed some familiar traits that many people share with their photography. So I’ve put together some tips that I feel will help you improve your photography – straight away. These little ideas have the potential to make a huge impact on your image creation.

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

1. Have patience

“Genius is patience. – Isaac Newton

Patience is a skill I think many amateur photographers sorely lack. This matters because photography is often a waiting game – waiting for the subject to get into position, for the light to change, or working the elements of your photo into a perfect composition. If you are not prepared to be patient, you’re not going to get many shots you like.

Many amateur photographers are so driven by the desire to have a full memory card at the end of the day that they don’t take the time to set up or wait for a great shot.

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

This could involve recognizing that the light isn’t great now, but it might change in an hour. Or it might be setting up a great composition and then waiting until the right person stands in a precise spot. It could be shooting a person or a scene over and over until you get an expression or angle that reveals something unique and interesting and creates a more impactful photo.

“You get more by waiting than you do by moving. You wait for the light to come and it will change the world in front of you.” – Peter Fiore

I believe a lot of it comes down to people’s expectations. For me, getting one amazing shot in a day’s shooting is a good result. Sometimes I go out and get nothing, sometimes I get a half a dozen, sometimes I just get one.

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography
You need to be patient and take the time to work your scene and build a fantastic composition. Forget the next spot and the next subject. If you find something that really inspires you then stop, be patient, and work the scene until you’ve made the best photo possible. Take 10, 20, even 50 photos if you need to!

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.”– Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

2. Free yourself from fear

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

When you are involved in a creative act, you will at some point be faced with one of the greatest forces known to man – fear. It is pervasive in our lives, and it can create havoc with your photography.

For example, most of the photographers I teach have a fear of photographing strangers; this is very common. Now, you can either give into that fear and not photograph the subjects you really yearn to – or you can deal with.

I still get fearful sometimes after twenty-odd years in the business. Sometimes I go to new places and feel self-conscious, or get intimidated to shoot someone whose look I like. It doesn’t really matter what it is, fear is always fear and it can stop you from taking action if you don’t face it.


I deal with fear by just recognizing that it’s there. That fear has decided to show its face, and I just let it be there, knowing that eventually, it will drift off. I don’t let it stop me, that’s the key. After all, I love photography. I love the whole process of taking photos. Although this was said by an athlete, it is so relevant to photographers, and it’s worth reminding yourself that:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Remember – on the other side of fear is possibly an amazing image.

3. Think geometrically

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

“The only joy in photography is geometry. All the rest is sentiment.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

I read recently that Henri Cartier-Bresson would choose which images to print by examining his contact sheets and work out which have the best geometric composition. By looking at them when they were printed small, he could see the shape and form of the photo, rather than the subject. He would then choose his photos based on which of them had the best geometric composition.

Of course, the subject is important, their expression, the light, etc., but I like this idea of concentrating on the geometric elements of the photo. The reason being that all elements of the photo count, and having a strong organization of the shapes and forms, which is essentially the geometric elements of the photo, will create a strong composition.

“I like form and shape and strength in pictures.” – Herb Ritts

4. Stop fixating on your subject

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

I have noticed that many people learning photography become totally fixated on a subject that they love, but forget to compose the other elements of their photo.

For example, you see someone you think is awesome-looking. You start photographing them, without consideration for rest of the frame. You don’t look all the way into the corners of the composition, you overlap your subject with telephones or trees coming out of their head, nor do you notice lines running randomly out of the photo drawing the eye away from the subject.

Even though the frame may feel pretty small, often people don’t look at every part of the composition to see if the whole is working together. It is always about the whole image, not just what is currently fascinating you! It takes practice and concentration folks – all of the elements in your frame need to be relevant and work well with the subject.

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

5. Learn to become an observer

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

This tip is important. The best state of mind in which to take photographs is one of complete creative freedom, in the creative flow, where you are undistracted by your life outside of that very moment. Where you have forgotten about your to-do list and the thousands of emails you need to answer. You are just standing in the moment, looking around, noticing everything, and empty of thoughts about what else is going on in your life.

That’s easy right?

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography

No, not always. For many, it’s super hard because what you do in your work and rest of your life requires skills which are exactly the opposite. Holding tons of small pieces of information, remembering, doing and rushing around with the business of life.

Much as we may like to think that photography is all about technique and kit, it is actually an inner game. I don’t really much care what gear you have, even though I love a new camera as much as the next person. The best photographers I’ve come across are completely in tune with their environment. They study the world around them and don’t constantly try to be in it doing, but instead, they look and observe.

This might be something you need to cultivate – and it’s totally possible to attain, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Something in you has been drawn to photography, to the visual world and to express yourself visually. So you already have potential inside of you to become a great observer.

5 Things That Will Instantly Improve Your Photography


Hopefully, these ideas have helped point you in the direction of deepening, developing and improving your photography. It’s so rewarding to work on simple ideas that have a great impact on your photos.

I’d love to know what you think of these tips, please comment below.

On now until March 21st (AUS time) get Anthony Epes’ Online Light Monkeys Photo Group – Yearly Membership – 55% OFF at Snapndeals. 

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5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners

11 Feb

It’s the easiest thing in the world to take a photo. You aim and press, and you’ve captured a moment, which in time will turn into a treasured memory. But did you know that with just a little bit more effort and barely any time, you can turn those captures into something more? Something that offers the subject the respect it deserves. Something that is a pleasure to look at even before the shimmer of nostalgia is sprinkled onto it by time, and something you’ll be proud to share.

With these five basic steps, you will notice an immediate improvement in your photos. Once you’ve started giving it just a little bit more thought, it’ll become a natural part of your photography.

Let’s begin!

1. Get low, get high — it’s all about perspective

The easiest and most natural way is to photograph from the level of your own eyes. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s just one of many viewpoints — and perspective is essential to the way we relate to a photograph.

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - perspective

Shot at human eye level.

Want to expand your perspective? Don’t be afraid to move, crouch, or if you’re up to it, lie down before taking your photo. Climb up on a chair even. If you’re photographing a child, get down to their eye-level and see what a difference it makes to your photo.

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - perspective

Shot at bug level.

2. Less space, more content

Do you tend to point and shoot, without composing the photo? This leads to two very common outcomes. One of them being a lot of unnecessary space around the subject, the other we’ll discuss in step three below.

Does the person you’re photographing take up only a small portion of the image? Most of the time, that’s unintentional, and it just makes it harder to enjoy the look of the subject, whether it’s a person, flower, or a sculpture.

Try filling the frame with a face. Don’t be afraid to get closer (unless you’re photographing a venomous snake).

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - get close 5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - get close

3. A view askew (off-centered)

The other common result of pointing and shooting is that the subject almost always ends up being in the center of the frame. Sometimes, that works beautifully, but most of the time it’s just boring.

If you’re photographing a person, try to place them (particularly their eyes) off-center in the image. Be aware of their movement or line of sight, and leave room for that. Meaning, place the subject to the side they’re not moving into or looking at, and put more space in front of them in the direction they’re facing.

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - off-center

The statue is entered in the frame here and the image is very static (boring).

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners - off-center

In this image there is more room in front of the statue in the direction the hand is pointing, leaving room for the little bird to “fly”.

To learn more about composition, check out these composition tips.

4. When too much is just right

If you’ve been doing photography for a while, you’ve probably heard how important it is to control the exposure of your images correctly (in other words avoiding both too little and too much light. It’s a basic rule of photography, but let me suggest that you try breaking it.

In my experience, too little light is more of a problem than too much, and sometimes, too much is just perfect — especially if your subject is backlit.

Try it and see what you think!

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners

5. Space is cheap

Don’t worry about taking too many photos. Really! One of the great things about digital photography is that you can snap loads of shots and choose among them later for the best ones to keep. Don’t miss a moment because you hoped to capture it perfectly in one go.

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners

5 Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Photographs for Beginners

Try taking photos the way you would normally, then experiment with the steps presented above. When you look through your photos, choose the ones you like and delete the rest. Think a bit about why you like the ones you kept and why you chose to delete some. It’s a fun, easy, and cheap way to learn and to find your own style.


As always, rules are meant to be broken! But remember that the more familiar you are with the rules, the more creative your breaking of them can be. If you try out any of these steps, I’d love to see your creations in the comments below!

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An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

01 Feb

Last month I sat down and reread Michael Freeman’s book, “The Photographer’s Mind.” which I do occasionally. I find that by revisiting the words of other photographers I remind myself of the multitude of tools available to us. There’s so much we can do to create fresh and amazing photographs.

One of those ways is to push our skills and update our thinking. I think I’ve read through Freeman’s book about two or three times now. Every few years I take it off the shelf again. His books are insightful and interesting to read. Freeman offers up unique ideas for composition using both conventional and unconventional techniques. The books are readily available. You can also check out our review of one of Freeman’s other books here; “The Photographer’s Eye”. In this article, let’s journey through one of the concepts he discusses in his book, “Engineered Disorder”.

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

The details of the image are broken up into sections by the heavy shadows.

What is Engineered Disorder?

Freeman explains that Engineered Disorder is the active effort of a photographer to use non-conventional methods of composing photographs. Essentially, we are breaking the rules to create interesting images. Engineered Disorder means that we forget about conventional methods like unifying elements within the frame. We might allow ourselves to create uncluttered compositions. In one chapter Freeman talks about different methods of creating Engineered Disorder and bucking the system. He mentions using techniques such as disconnects, disruptive foreground, breaking the frame, superimposed layers and extremes of contrast. Maybe these terms sound complicated and a little too complex to understand, but they don’t have to be.

Let’s break down one of these techniques and see what’s involved in creating Engineered Disorder. We will discuss the use of extreme lighting or chiaroscuro to create disconnect within an image. It’s one of my favorite techniques. I love to include deep blacks and bright highlights in my compositions.


Chiaroscuro – chi·a·ro·scu·ro – the treatment of light and shade in drawing, painting, and photography.

Using this technique means that we employ very hard lighting to break up the unity of a composition. The image becomes a series of pieces that communicate meaning but are broken up by dark shadows and bright highlights. Conventional composition techniques would say that using this type of technique makes for a bad photograph, but remember we are pushing the elements of composition.

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

The strong shadows in this image hide some details from the viewer. The leaf can only be viewed in pieces. This means a viewer has to pause and take in each part of the image separately and then piece together the whole scene. Making a viewer stop and study your image is important. Given the number of photographs out there you want to make viewers take some time to digest your images rather than scan through and move on. 


Experimenting with dark and light

Consider my careful experimentation with Chiaroscuro. This image portrays the common Canada goose in a much more unique fashion. In the opening moments of golden hours, these geese become elegant shadows. The different sections of light and dark create interesting graphic qualities within the image.

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

In this second image, I’ve used auto tone to create a more conventional image. While the actual shot is very similar, these two different treatments create considerably different photographs. Which one do you prefer?

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

A more conventional exposure.

Other examples

Here’s another example of Chiaroscuro. This is a photograph of a unique area near my home. Everyone calls this place The Badlands. The red and gray clay create these beautiful graphic designs which draw visitors to the area. The hills are in danger of being destroyed by visitors, but the area is truly beautiful. The shadows and the light create beautiful diagonal lines in this particular image.

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

This are is now off limits to visitors because of the damage caused by walking on the hills.

In this final image, the light and darks highlight different circular objects. Perhaps this image isn’t as disconnected as the others but it still presents a unique treatment for the door of a fishing boat. The image focuses on graphic design elements of the boat rather than the uses of the vessel. The image has been turned into an abstract and most viewers will need to analyze the image before they can determine the exact subject matter.

An Unconventional Composition Technique to Improve Your Photos

Conclusion – your turn

Experimenting with different techniques is never a bad thing. You can learn and improve your photos by playing with unconventional techniques. Creating these images certainly pushed the dynamic capabilities of my camera. Exposing for deep shadows can be a challenge all on its own, but it’s a lot of fun to try out these different techniques.

While we’ve only discussed one of the methods for creating Engineered Disorder, these three examples clearly highlight the technique. It’s better to fully understand just one compositional method rather than scratching the surface of several techniques. Give it a try, and go a little bit extreme. Break away from the conventional and search for ways to compose images that harness the power of Engineered Disorder in your photography. Please share your results in the comments below.

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7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography

21 Jan

If people watching is in your nature, you owe it to yourself to try some street photography. It can be addicting, and the fleeting moments you can capture will be one of a kind. It is a genre of photography similar to fishing. The more you enjoy the process, and the more you cast your reel out there (is this correct fishing terminology?), the more you will catch.

Time and experience trump everything due to the difficulty, and while perseverance is the only way to do street photography well, there are some important tips and strategies that can set you off in the right direction. Here are some of my favorites.

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography Polka Dots and Pink Shoes, Subway, 2012.

1. Travel light and with minimal gear

Many of you will have a DSLR and a mid-range zoom lens. While it is fine to shoot street photography with this equipment and many do (and even more start out this way), lightening your load will make a huge difference. You will have more energy, your coordination will be better, and you will be faster and more willing to explore. You will also be able to photograph in situations where you would not want to bring a large camera.

Not only are micro-4/3rds and mirrorless camera systems lighter, but they look less intimidating to the people you are photographing. If you have a DSLR, consider using a 35 or 50mm prime, or a pancake lens for these reasons. Fortunately, you do not need the fastest versions of these lenses, so it will not be quite as expensive. A 35mm f/2 is usually about half the size of a 35mm f/1.4, and Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 is both small and only $ 125.

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography Greene Street, New York Street Photography

Prime lenses

Prime lenses will restrict you to a specific focal length, but this limitation can actually be quite freeing. By sticking to a focal length such as 35mm or 50mm (the two favorite lenses for most street photographers), you will learn to see how the lens sees.

You may miss out on certain moments by not having a zoom, but at the same time, you will be able to capture more quality images within the ideal distance for the lens that you are using. You will be quicker and more spontaneous with your camera. You will even start to think more about your perspective and framing without having the luxury of the zoom, and as the old saying goes, you will begin to zoom with your feet.

2. Raise your ISO

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography SoHo, New York Street Photography

It used to be taught that you always needed to use as low an ISO as possible. This is because the early digital cameras were terrible at high ISOs, particularly over 400. Luckily, new digital cameras blow the old ones out of the water in terms of high ISO ability. You can now shoot at ISOs of 1600 and 3200 with beautiful looking grain/noise, but the stigma of using high ISOs still exists.

For street photography, I will typically shoot at ISO 400 in sunlight, 800 in light shade, 1600 in dark shade, 3200 at dusk, and 6400 at night. With an entry level or less advanced camera, I would go down one stop in ISO, i.e. ISO 200 in sunlight and up to 3200 at night.

Benefits of high ISO

This gives us a huge advantage. Being able to raise our ISOs this high not only allows us to shoot handheld in dark situations, but it also allows us to simultaneously shoot with a faster shutter speed to freeze motion and a small aperture to maximize the depth of field.

Some photographers prefer a shallow depth of field, but in the fast moving world of candid photography, I prefer a large depth of field for a few reasons. First, if you miss the focus on your subject, they can still turn out sharp. If you are photographing at f/2.8 on the other hand, your image will be ruined if you miss the focus. Next, since context is very important in street photography, if you have multiple subjects at different depths or important background elements, it will allow everything in the frame to be relatively sharp.

I prefer to shoot at 1/250th of a second to guarantee that there is no motion blur in my subjects, although I will go to 1/160th or 1/125th in the darkest of situations. In bright light, I will shoot at 1/320th or 1/400th of a second. A high ISO is what allows me to shoot with these speeds, no matter what the lighting is like.

3. Pick a spot and wait

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography Broadway, New York Street Photography

Street photography and going for a walk go hand in hand. Sometimes you just want to take your camera and explore on a nice day. However, by constantly walking, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, try to find some promising locations on the way and linger there for a while as you wait for something to happen.

Picking one spot does a few things. First, it allows you to combine a good location with an interesting moment. If you find a quality location and just take a quick photo and move on, you’re killing so much of the potential. By waiting, you give yourself more time for that magical moment to happen. It’s when the right location merges with the interesting moment, that a great photograph appears.

It’s when the right location merges with the interesting moment, that a great photograph appears.

You will also be faster at noticing your surroundings and quicker with your camera because you will be focused on looking around instead of walking. In addition, people will be coming into your scene and entering your space instead of you entering their space, so it makes the whole practice of street photography easier and less confrontational.

Camera snap

A small but important tip that goes hand in hand with this idea has to do with the camera snap. The camera snap is the quick, instinctive removal of the camera from their eye that photographers do immediately after clicking the shutter. It is the motion that tips your subjects off to the fact that you just took a photo.

By picking a spot and waiting for a subject, you can be as candid as possible. Just put the camera to your eye, take the image, and keep it there as the subject leaves your scene. This will make it seems like you were just photographing the background and waiting for them to get out of the way.

4. Know what to say if someone stops you

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography

No matter how you approach it, there is an inherent creep factor to street photography. Some of your subjects will understand and be flattered, while others will think you are the weirdest person on the planet. If you like to photograph your surroundings and culture, people are a big part of that. Including them in what you capture can be a big part of telling the story of your surroundings, and there is nothing wrong with it.

While tough situations are rare, particularly if you handle yourself in the right way, knowing what to say ahead of time is very important. If someone asks if you took their photo, own up to it and tell them what you were doing. Talk to them and explain why you found them interesting. This will flatter some people, but others will still not understand. I always keep a business card with me and offer to send the photograph if someone emails me for one.

Keep your cool

Always keep a smile on your face. If someone seems angry for any reason, there is no need to get defensive or angry back. You don’t have to explain that it’s in your legal right (depending on where you are photographing of course) unless it comes to that. That’s not the best thing to bring up right away because it can make people even angrier.

Instead, figure out how to diffuse the situation and tell them that you did not mean to make them uncomfortable. I’ve offered to delete a couple of photos over the years when I felt it was necessary. The ability to diffuse a situation is very important, even though I have only had one or two uncomfortable situations over a 15 year period of frequent shooting.

5. It’s not just about people

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography

It is a common thought that street photography is only about capturing people walking down the street, on a beach, or in public. That’s just not the case. Street photography is about candid photography of life and culture. While that can and should include people sometimes, other times it can be about nearly anything else. Capture daily scenes and backgrounds that you find to be interesting.

They can be weird images. Capture something unique. You do not always have to take the prettiest or most epically beautiful photograph. Capture something that makes someone think or that throws them off balance. Capture images for yourself, and ones that you know some people will not understand or like right away. It is not your job to please everyone. It’s your job to take a good photograph.

Be spontaneous and go for it

Be spontaneous. With other forms of photography, you can be a perfectionist about every detail. While it is also important to think this way for street photography, so many of these decisions are made in a split second. Let yourself go and be spontaneous with what you capture. Whenever you feel there is potential for a strong image, even if you aren’t sure, go for it. Many will fail, but some of those moments will end up being the best photos you have ever taken.

Go somewhere that you think will make it tough to capture an interesting photograph. Sometimes you will find that you will be able to capture unique content in areas that others would think of as quiet or boring. There are good photographs everywhere and the best photographers have a way of finding them anywhere.

6. Group your photos while editing

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography - Three Men, Gucci, New York Street Photography

This is not a tip that all street photographers adhere to. Some like each of their photographs to live on their own. However, many prefer to group their work by feeling, ideas, or themes. For some, the book is the ultimate form of display for street photography.

Group your photos based on feel and sequence them into a loosely based narrative of some sort. Come back often and add to and take away from it. Over time, you will notice that ideas will grow organically. It will help inform you about what to capture when you are out there. These ideas will develop as you grow as a photographer.

Before you think about putting together a book, purchase a simple cork board for your office wall and fill it with 4×6 and 5×7 images. Constantly print and replace them to create a cohesive wall of images. It is a lot of fun and a great way to view your work and your progress.

7. Explore the work of other photographers

7 Vital Tips to Improve Your Candid Street Photography

This is such a simple tip but it is immensely important. In your free time, look up the work of all types of street photographers and study their portfolios. Explore the content, the technique, and the styles that you like. Watch videos of these photographers in action to see how they approach the street. Go to gallery shows and look at real life prints to train your eye. This will give you a range of ideas for what to capture the next time you are out shooting.

The fascinating thing about street photography is that while the content is the same for all of us, what we each come back with is completely different. Studying the styles of different photographers will help inform what is possible for you to create.

It is inspiring and fun to do. Start a photography book collection or even purchase a couple prints for your walls. The more you surround yourself with it, the better you will become, the more ideas you will have, and the more inspired you will be.

Some photographers to start out with are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Daido Moriyama, Martin Parr, Elliot Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Davidson, Saul Leiter, Trent Parke, Alex Webb, Vivian Maier, and Bruce Gilden.


Now go out there and have some fun. The biggest tip is that the more time you spend shooting, the better images you will come back with. So shoot with some regularity and do it in the way that you find the most fun so you will continue to practice.

If you’d like to learn more about Street Photography, then please check out my ebook The Essentials of Street Photography.

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Improve Your Photos with the Very Best Photo Editing Apps

12 Jan

We snap photos so fine, we don’t need editing apps … but every now and then a photo needs a touch of sharpening, or a cooling filter, or a clip art robot, just to spruce it up.

Who are we kidding? We’re obsessed with editing apps. And so are you – we asked!

Read along to see our favorite editing apps, and the favorites of all of our followers.

You’ll be a pro editor in no time, whether you snap perfect pics or not.

Read the rest of Improve Your Photos with the Very Best Photo Editing Apps (638 words)

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DEAL: 2 Amazing Courses to Improve Your Landscape Photography

21 Dec

Our 6th deal of our 12 Days of Christmas Sale brings you two amazing online video courses that will improve your Landscape Photography – at 60% off the regular price.


Today only you can pick up these two courses for just $ 54 (normally $ 188).

This value packed Landscape Photography bundle includes:

Creating Impact Course by Varina Patel
Go beyond the basic rules to build stronger compositions with visual impact. The Creating Impact course will help you to establish your creative vision, develop a solid workflow that will make that vision a reality and help you take beautiful landscape photos.

This course normally sells for $ 134.

Practical Lightroom Tutorials by popular dPS writer and renowned Landscape Photographer Anne McKinnell.

Anne will teach you how to stop being overwhelmed by Lightroom and to start using it to transform the Landscape (and other) images that you take. Anne authored our popular ultimate guide to Landscape Photography article, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy these lightroom tutorials just as much!

This course normally sells for $ 49.

This Deal Won’t Last

You are going to love these courses – they have been developed by two of our favourite landscape photographers and contain so much practical information that will help you to take some beautiful photos.

Grab both of these courses today – with hours of video training and 40 online videos – for just $ 54. A Saving of $ 129!

This offer won’t last because tomorrow’s is just 24 hours away – so avoid disappointment and pick it up today here.

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How Shooting Photos Based on a Theme Can Improve Your Work

05 Dec

In this article we’re going to talk about how having a theme before you go out to shoot can improve your images.

I used to go out on the street, in order to find the perfect shot. Months in a row I did that. I knew that I loved this lack of control, but something didn’t match. I wasn’t as excited as I thought and even my images weren’t good enough, I couldn’t understand why.

So, I took a small break from hunting beautiful images and I started to watch how others worked. I looked at many professional photographers, to find what makes them click.

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That was when I realized my big mistake. My problem was that every time I went out, I had nothing to focus on. My eyes were looking for pictures everywhere, but my mind wasn’t able to sort out all these images. Something was missing, and that was a theme.

Taking pictures based on a theme has a lot of benefits and it can change your shooting approach in a very positive way. That’s why many photographers work like this because it makes their life much more easy and practical.

Elimination is the key

Imagine yourself in a very crowded place, let’s say a musical festival. The possibilities for images and angles are infinite. You may take pictures of the whole crowd, of a couple spending time together, or a detail on someone’s jacket. Or maybe you can take pictures of the musicians only. How can you do all these things and not get tired or confused?

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You need to remove the things that are not important for your ideas or style of shooting. Therefore, you have to know what you’re looking for before you go out to shoot.

Let’s say you decide that your theme at that music festival should be about ladies dancing. Now, you will focus all your attention only on them, taking pictures of details on their hands, clothes, etc., and mix it up with portraits and action shots. Try different angles and perspectives, because now you have something to focus on. As a result, you eliminate all the things that might get you disorganized, such as big crowds, couples, general landscapes of the festival, etc.

Elimination is the key.

You will save time

Before working on themes in my photography, I spent many hours searching for wonderful movements and scenes to capture with my camera. On an average day, I would walk in the city for eight to nine hours and shoot for only a half hour. Why? Because I didn’t know what I was looking for.

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By choosing a specific theme or subject before you go out, you will know where to look. For example, if you want to take portraits of dog owners, as a first step you can try going to the park where people walk their dogs and ask them to pose for you. On the next day, you may go at a dog grooming place, and so on.

Working on themes is a very good time-saving habit that can help you remove the gap between finding the perfect shot and actually doing it.

Targeting specific clients

Regarding the topics you may choose, your interest can grow in time. You will start to understand more about what you’re photographing and after few months, you may find yourself with a strong body of work.

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For example, if you have a passion for street fashion and you build a portfolio with great images on that theme, you can use that portfolio to find your future clients. You may try fashion magazines, agencies, or even online publications. Also, you can enter those images in a competition to see if they are good enough to grant you some recognition or a prize. But I don’t suggest you take pictures only for getting recognition because then you could end up working on things you may not like that much.

Theme shooting helps style development

We all think about style, it’s an artist’s signature. We want people to recognize our pictures just by looking at them and say, “These are John’s images because they look this specific way.” We want our name out there in the best way possible.

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Developing a style is a matter of time. You don’t have to fight for it because it will come by itself after years of hard work.

By working on themes and the things you care about, you’ll start to notice what things you like to photograph and how you like to do it. You will begin to understand and see yourself in your work. In this growing process, your style will evolve. It’s not a matter of conscious decision, but of knowing yourself.

If you are in a hurry to stamp your work with your style, then find a theme you are interested in and photograph that. You can’t go wrong.


So if you feel like your work isn’t progressing and you’re stuck, try shooting around a theme for a while. See how it helps you focus, improve your style and in the end become a better photographer.

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

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How to Improve Your Photography by Shooting Behind the Scenes of a Short Film Shoot

15 Nov

For any creative photographer, shooting behind the scenes of a short film sounds like a boring idea. That’s what I thought until my friend called me to shoot for one of his school projects (he is in a film school and had to shoot three sequences). I wasn’t going to refuse so I showed up that day and little did I know, I ended up learning so many things and got to meet a lot of people. The best part is that I took some of the best images since I first picked up my camera.

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Here are some reasons why you should consider shooting behind the scenes images and how it can benefit your photography:

#1 – It’s an opportunity for a photoshoot

During a shoot for a short film, most of the actors are used to modeling and aren’t afraid of a camera. There is a director of photography who works on the lighting, and there is a make-up artist (of course there are more people on set who take care of the sound, costumes, assistant, etc.). A short film is basically a photo shoot but instead of taking images, people act and they are being filmed.

Actors have their costumes, they have had their hair and make-up done, and the director of photography just did the entire lighting for you. You have to see it as an advantage because they spend weeks planning and you’re just here to take beautiful photos with perfect conditions. I took my most beautiful images during short films and I would not have had been able to reproduce the scenes, costumes, and ambience on my own.

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Even if you don’t really like the theme or would rather plan a photoshoot on your own, trying other people’s ideas can also put you out of your comfort zone and help you progress.

#2 – You’re surrounded with creatives

Working with other creatives has helped me so much. The best thing is the shared interest and not wanting to disappoint. Working with people who want to create gives you an extra boost and it pushes you to do your best. Most people on a film crew need these images. Looking at all the work they put into creating their projects, whether it’s for auditions to find the perfect actors, negotiating to borrow super expensive filming equipment, let’s not forget the make-up artists who stay on set all day, and all the detailed planning of the sequences. You can’t really disappoint with average images, so you automatically try to get stunner shots.

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It’s quite difficult because you can only take images after the scenes when the actors are briefed by the film director. So they’re not actually posing for you, you just have to walk around without attracting any attention to get some nice images. Do not take any images when the video camera is rolling. The sound of your shutter can throw a whole scene away, and trust me you do not want to be in that situation. Just patiently wait for the director to say cut and then you can start taking your images.

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When an actor is not included in a scene, you can kindly ask them to pose for you. Most of them need portraits for their website or their portfolios so they will most likely say yes. If they say no, just tell them that if they change their minds, you’re always fine with taking portraits.

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#3 – You may get to work with these people on future projects

A whole day of filming can take up to eight hours or more. You’re going to meet a lot of people (depending on the size of the crew) and you will have a lot of time to get to know everyone. I would highly recommend socializing during the breaks over a cup of coffee and getting to know everyone. Most of them have the same passion as you, whether it’s the assistant or the sound team, you can speak about previous or future projects, have tech discussions about camera gear, you name it.

The actors are the most talkative, especially when they have a few hours without any scenes. Tell them about your photography. If you like their profile ask them if they would like to have a photoshoot with you in the coming weeks. The make-up artists are also great contacts to have, take their business card and contact them for your next photo shoot if you need someone for make-up and hair.

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One make-up artist I met had a little girl who wanted to start modeling. We met a couple weeks later and I photographed her daughter. I ended up having a solid image that went directly into my portfolio.

Get your images ready to show them quickly

One tip I can give is to work on the images as soon as possible. Once these people see your images they will start spreading the word to other people in their school or entourage, share your images on social media, etc. (that is of course if you had good results). You will probably end up being Facebook friends with most of the crew and you can keep in contact that way.

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Most of them will post on Facebook or directly contact you if they need a photographer. Once you do a good job, they will most likely call you back. Their friends will start calling you then you will meet other actors and make-up artists, and increase your contacts even more.

#4 – You will learn a lot of technical things

Most film crews use a lot of advanced equipment. By watching them set up everything, you will learn a lot about cameras, the choice of lenses, framing, lighting, sound, communication with actors, team work, tracking shots, and organization. Even if you’re passive in this process, open your eyes and try to absorb as much information as you can.

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Most directors of photography will use different lighting techniques with some hair light, key light, harsh light, soft light, back-light with different modifiers. Pay attention to their work and try to replicate what you see later at home, you can also take images of the light set up to know exactly how each light is placed on set.


Those are just a few ways you can benefit from shooting behind the scenes on a film set. If you’ve had the experience of doing this, please share your thoughts and images in the comments below.

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8 Photography Training Tips You Can Do To Help Improve Your Work

28 Oct

Photography is like any other pastime or profession. You need to constantly improve your skills and work on areas where you feel there is room for improvement. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro or an amateur, you are never too good to learn. But people often find it difficult to improve their photography skills as you can get into a habit of a particular style or working in a specific way that becomes difficult to change. Here are a few training methods and ideas that can help you improve your photography.


1 – Only Use Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are ones that have a fixed focal length, unlike zoom lenses that allow you to change the focal length by zooming in or out. Although most people tend to avoid prime lenses simply because zoom lenses offer greater flexibility, the real benefit of prime lenses is that it means you have to actively move around to get the photo you want to capture. This often means moving in closer to your subject which also means you have to engage with them.

So next time you are heading out for the day to photograph, just take a prime lens with your camera and nothing else, so you are not tempted to switch half way through. You may learn a lot about yourself and your photography, and you might surprise yourself with the photos you come back with.


This photo was taken in Turkey with a 50mm prime lens.

2 – Photograph in the Worst Conditions

This is a bit of a contradiction because, as a photographer, you should always look to photograph everything in the best possible way and in the best possible light. However, as a way of training yourself to deal with different conditions, this is a great way to learn to adapt because sometimes you won’t have the luxury of time. If you are required to photograph something specific you may not get another chance so you would need to find a way around the problem.


For example, if you are interested in photographing landscapes, go out at midday or cloudy weather when the conditions might not be ideal. This may mean that you won’t be able to capture the usual vistas that you would normally during the golden hour. So you will have to get creative find other things to capture that still tell the story.


3 – Take Limited Memory Card Space

One of the great advantages of digital photography is that you don’t have to worry about wasting film when taking a photo. Often with enough memory cards, you can capture as many photos as you want and still have room to spare. However, this has also led to people snapping away in the hope that one of the photos they have taken has turned out okay rather than thinking about each individual photo. If you could only take 24 photos in a day, you would be much more selective about when you click the shutter.

But this is also a great way to train yourself to really think about composition, lighting, and focus before taking a photo. Simply either take a small memory card that only holds a few photos, or set yourself a limit of 20 photos that you are allowed to come home with. You will have to delete one to add another when you have reached your limit.

You can then take this exercise further by replicating the days of film photography by not allowing yourself to delete anything, so when you have reached your limit, then that’s it. Do this enough times and you will become incredibly efficient in taking great photos.


4 – Ask Someone Else to Give You an Assignment

Photographing for your own pleasure is completely different to photographing for a client. But trying to capture someone else’s vision, or photographing for a story can really help you improve your photography. Not only will you have to ensure that you capture their vision, but you also have to ensure to cover off everything on their shot list.

As an exercise, get a family member or friend to give you an assignment to photograph something in the genre that most interests you. Treat it as a real job and present the work to the person who has sent it. Remember that they are the client and they may not necessarily agree with you on some photos, but the exercise is in ensuring that you cover all the necessities of the job.


5 – Shoot Film

Imagine if you couldn’t review your photos on the back of your camera. How would you know if they were any good or if you had composed them properly? The answer is that you can’t until the film has been developed.

There’s no doubt that digital photography has made it much easier to capture great photos, but if you really want to test yourself as a photographer then using film is the ultimate test. Besides the fact that with film you can only shoot a limited number of photos, but because you can’t see the photos you have taken you have to rely on your instinct, eye, skill, and technical ability as a photographer to capture great photos.


6 – Work to a Time Limit

Another great way to improve your efficiency as a photographer is to set yourself a time limit. Give yourself a certain amount of time and you’ll suddenly become much more organized and efficient at getting around and doing things. You need to have an idea of what you want to photograph (i.e. photograph a specific market in an hour) and with practice, you will become faster and better at capturing great photos every time.


7 – Try Something New

If you have been photographing for a while, you might find yourself falling into the tedious mindset of going through the motions and not really experimenting. One of the great things about photography is that everyone is different and has their own taste and style. So instead of doing the same thing every day, try something completely different for a while. If you are a wedding photographer, take landscapes, if you are a street photographer, photograph sports. Not only will you learn new skills, but you may also find that you find a new passion in something.


8 – Don’t do any Post-Production

There’s no doubt that every photo does benefit from some level of post-production. Sometimes that might just be cropping and straightening, other times to more extensive retouching and colour corrections. But a lot of photographers also use post-production as a get out of jail free card in that they take a photo with the thought of fixing it later in post-production.

But if you really want to improve your photography, you need to learn to take great photos, not create them. The reality is that a great photo should only need a small bit of post-production to enhance it. So set yourself a task of showcasing your work without doing any processing.

This will test you as a photographer and it will mean that you won’t be able to rely on that phrase, “I’ll fix it later in post-production”.

Here is a recent photo without any post production.

Here is a recent photo without any post-production.


Photography is a great profession to be involved in. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner you should never stop learning and improving. These techniques are to test and push you. With enough hard work and dedication, not to mention practice, you will see vast improvements in your photography.

Do you have any training methods you would like to share? Tell us below.

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