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Posts Tagged ‘Street’

Modular Urbanism: Coin-Operated System of Portable Street Furniture

26 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

share stack system

Much like coin-based cart systems found in supermarkets and airports, these stackable stools (which double as table surfaces) can be borrowed, moved around and returned with ease. Unlike fixed-position urban benches and tables, this design by Thomas Bernstrand lets users control their own experience, setting up a solo seat or group of seats and surfaces in the sun or shade as desired.

share stool stack

While not foolproof, of course (anyone intent on stealing them or leaving them out could do so), the furnishings do demand a small deposit to encourage people to to put them back when they are done. Also, the dangling chain and branded mark could help deter their disappearance into people’s homes.

share system

In the United States, where the maximum value of an everyday-use coin is fairly small, the incentive would be correspondingly diminished. But in Euro countries where denominations are typically higher, the price of failing to return the items would be significantly higher.

shair chairs

The metal stools are made to be heavy and durable, keeping them from being knocked over in the wind and making them suitable to frequent outdoor use. They also stack neatly into columns, taking up less space on the streets (or in shopping centers or parks or squares) when not in use.

share series chairs

The designs are an extension of the Share Series, a set of seats and other objects with similar coin-operated functionality intended for public use.

seats

Other pay-to-sit urban furniture projects include a chair series by Vincent Wittenberg, a bit more comfortable looking but they also take up more space on sidewalks.

Also: Fabian Brunsing, a Berlin-based artist and designer, took a different approach the problem (a bit more tongue-in-cheek). His bench uses coin deposits (but in this case non-refundable) that allow you to use a public bench. But when your time runs out: stand up fast to avoid the spikes.

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What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why

21 Mar

Did you ever wonder how the photographers of the past did it? All they had were manual cameras and yet somehow they had a method that beats even the latest technology in autofocus! Wonder what it was? Let’s find out first what it was and discuss what most call the best street photography camera settings.

The best street photography settings

Now, before getting into this, let’s get something straight. If you are doing something in your street photography and it works for you, then by all means, you’ve found the settings that fit you best and you probably want to stick with them. What I am presenting here are the tried and true ways that not only past photographers used, but most street photographers prefer today. But it’s not magic by any means. With that being said, let’s start with focusing on street photography.

What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why
What’s faster than autofocus?

I know you are probably wondering how something can be faster than the latest autofocus, especially when every new camera wants you to believe they have the fastest AF in the world. The answer is – pre-focusing. What photographers of the past did was to pre-focus their camera onto a certain zone and simply shot, paying attention so that their subjects were within that area.

If you look at the example below, the photographer could either pre-focus on the blue or red area. Then anything or anyone that came within the blue or red area (depending which they chose) would be in focus.

What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why

Pre-focus zones.

Autofocus also comes with certain issues, because even if you have the fastest autofocus in the world, it can only guess WHERE you want it to focus. When you have people coming at you, it will most likely focus on the person that is closest to you. You could change your focus points, put if you wanted to shoot outside of that point, you would have to focus and recompose. That is not a luxury you often have in the street. Zones eliminate that problem. They are like a forcefield that you have in front of your camera, whoever enters that force field will be in focus. Those fields usually require smaller apertures, hence street photographers usually rely on f/5.6 or f/8.

Setting up your forcefield

In order to set up your own forcefield, you will need to know what kind of shots you want. Do you want to make images of your subjects up close, or further away? That will determine where you need to focus. Let’s say you want to take a few shots with your subject at less than one meter. All you need to do is to put your lens like so:

dof

My aperture is at f/16, so I would put the marking on the left to 0.7, and look at the other marking on the right. That would tell me that everything between 0.7 to 1.2 meters will be in focus. The way aperture works, the further away you are, the larger the depth of field, so putting it at one meter would have had a lot of space in focus.

But, “my lens doesn’t have those marks”, you say! That’s where a tool like DOFmaster comes in:

Say you have a Canon 7D, for example. Select it from the camera dropdown menu and put in the lens focal length (say 35mm). If you focus at one meter, everything from 0.89m to 1.14m will be in focus. But the tool also tells you how to get the greatest zone of all, it tells you what your hyperfocal distance is. So if you focus at 8.09m, everything from 4m to infinity would be in focus at f/8.

Most street photographers I know set it to the hyperfocal distance. But when the light starts dropping, if they want some part of the image not in focus, or if they want their subjects really close, they use smaller zones (and larger apertures) and switch between them.

But what if your camera doesn’t even tell you where you are focused? Then you just need an app for that. You can download EasyMeasure (iOS) or Smartmeasure (Android). Then stand in front of a wall to get your distance to it, go back and forth until you get your desired distance, then focus on the wall and voila your zone is set!

What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why
The other settings

Once you have your focus and aperture set, what about your other settings? You’ve got a few choices. First of all, you can leave them all on manual (shooting in Manual mode) and adjust them on the fly. Or you can put the shutter speed on automatic (camera in Aperture priority mode) and deal with ISO manually.

A good choice is to keep the shutter speed above 1/125th because stuff usually happens fast on the streets and below that there is risk of camera shake. Of course the same applies for when you are shooting manually too, better to not go below 1/125th, but that might be different for you if you shoot slowly.

The other setting that is left is ISO. You could also put it on auto-ISO, but put a cap on it. I think most modern cameras that are adjustable should be okay with a cap of 1600. But you’ll have to watch out, some cameras don’t have great auto ISO and will go to ISO 1600 in broad daylight.

What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why
The Semi-automatic Settings

The settings below will help you to focus on the image and only worry about if someone is in your focus zone or not:

  • Set your aperture to f/8
  • Focus at the hyperfocal distance
  • Auto shutter speed, do not go lower than 1/125th
  • Auto-ISO set to not go higher than 1600

One of the strengths of this system is that it accounts for transition time. Imagine you are walking out of a building, from which the inside was darker than outside, which is super sunny.

If you are in manual shooting mode for your ISO and shutter speed, you may have to adjust the exposure by three stops if an image suddenly appears in front of you. While you’re changing the shutter speed you might not have time to change the ISO and may mess up the exposure. However, if at least one of them was auto, this would have been done for you automatically.

What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why

Conclusion

There you have it, the street photography settings that the photographers of the past used (sans automatic modes of course) and that many street photographers still use today. But what’s most important is to find out what works best for you and your style of shooting. Try these out. They are tried and true, but nobody said you HAVE to use them. Do what works for you! Be yourself, stay focused, and keep on shooting.

The post What are the Best Street Photography Camera Settings and Why by Olivier Duong appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Fearless Girl: Powerful Statue Faces Down Famous Charging Bull of Wall Street

19 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

fearless womens day statue

Located in the heart of the financial district in New York City, the Charging Bull statue has long been an icon of the industry, but now faces its first opponent: a young girl cast in bronze.

wall street bull

Sponsored by city officials and a local firm and crafted by sculptor Kristen Visbal, The Fearless Girl was erected in recognition of International Women’s Day. Its intended message is to encourage companies to put women on their boards, but of course it carries a series of meanings in the face of Wall Street and the political climate.

fearless girl statue

“One of the most iconic images on Wall Street is the charging bull,” explains a representative of State Street. “So the idea of having a female sort of stand against the bull or stand up to the bull just struck us as a very clever but also creative and engaging way to make that statement. Even though it’s a little girl, her stance is one of determination, forwardness, and being willing to challenge and take on the status quo.”

Whether the statue will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but its persistence would certainly not be without precedent. Per Colossal, the “Charging Bull was originally an act of guerrilla art by Arturo Di Modica, and only became permanent after its soaring popularity, leaving some to wonder if Visbal’s statue could follow the same story.”

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Street Kintsukuroi: Art Project Fills Cracks in Pavement with Gold

02 Mar

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

sidewalk kintsugi

Taking a concept most commonly applied to broken pottery, artist Rachel Sussman applies golden pigment to the cracks in paved urban surfaces in a series called ‘Sidewalk Kintsukuroi.’ In Japan, this tradition – also known as kintsugi – treats breakage and repair as a valuable part of an object’s history instead of something to disguise. The cracks are highlighted and in effect, celebrated, making the object more visually interesting.

sidewalk kintsugi 2

sidewalk kintsugi 3

It’s interesting to see this idea of embracing flaws extended to public surfaces. Instead of simply allowing them to be paved over, Sussman calls attention to them and makes them into works of art. In this sense, these cracks become part of the constant evolution of a city, remaining visible even after the functionality of these roads or sidewalks has been restored.

sidewalk kintsugi 4

sidewalk kintsugi 5

The resulting patterns are often quite stunning, their irregularities taking on abstract compositions of light and dark, matte and luminescent. In some cases, they almost look like marble.

sidewalk kintsugi 6

sidewalk kintsugi 7

Susan created the in-ground installations using tree sap-based resin and a combination of bronze and 23.5 carat gold dust. To reproduce the effect in a gallery environment, the artist hand-painted enamel and metallic dust onto photographs of the physical works. They’re currently on display as part of the Alchemy: Transformations in Gold show at the Des Moines Art Center.

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7 Tips for Overcoming Nerves When Doing Street Photography

17 Feb

Good street photography can sometimes look deceptively easy to do yourself. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time, get a little lucky, and bam – you have an incredible, one-of-a-kind photograph.

Astor Place Newsman, New York Street Photography

However, the reality is much more difficult than that, and it’s something that can surprise photographers when they try it. Suddenly, everything is moving so fast. You look around, but you don’t actually see any amazing moments. Then when you do capture something that you thought looked good, it didn’t turn out anything like you imagined.

These are all things that take time and practice to improve at, but the hardest obstacle for people to overcome with street photography is fear. Suddenly, you’re in the middle of it all. People are looking at you. Even the people who you aren’t photographing are watching from the side. You freeze, you have trouble putting the camera to your eye, and it doesn’t feel as fun as it should because you are so nervous! Fear stops too many people before they start, and this is a shame because it’s a very enjoyable type of photography.

Here are some tips to help you get over those street photography fears so you can enjoy yourself out there.

1. Think about what you will say if someone stops you

SoHo, New York Street Photography

The thing that will make you the most comfortable out there is knowing that you have a plan if someone stops you after you have taken their photograph. This rarely ever happens to me, but when it does, I feel confident in how I can handle myself.

First of all, if someone notices me, I always smile. Acting confident and like you’re not doing anything wrong will make the subject more comfortable. If you’re sneaky and look sheepish, they will see that you look guilty and be much more inquisitive.

Then if someone asks you why you took their photograph, tell them the truth. I say that I am a photographer doing a cultural project on the people and streets of New York, and I thought they looked fabulous. Flattery will help you get out of most situations. Or tell them you are a student. Offer to email them the photograph. Explain that you find people and fashion and things of that nature just as interesting as the buildings. If the person then continues to seem uncomfortable or angry, apologize and say that you didn’t mean to make them uncomfortable and you are happy to delete the photograph. That will diffuse most situations.

2. Choose your subjects wisely

SoHo, New York Street Photography

If someone looks angry, stressed, scary, or in any way that makes you uncomfortable, you are NOT to photograph them. More subjects will come soon after. By picking the right people, you will make things much easier for yourself, and that will also make you feel more comfortable.

3. Go to a busy place and let people come to you

Canal Street, New York Street Photography

This is one of my favorite tips. While street photography can and should be done in areas without many people, one of the best things you can do is to photograph where a lot is going on. Go to busy street corners, markets, or festivals. Go at times when things are happening. Follow the action.

This will immediately ease your fears somewhat. In those areas, people will be too busy to notice you and will be used to people with cameras. It will give you time to practice and to get comfortable with the act of shooting street photography.

Take this a step further, by picking a spot and letting things happen around you. You do not always have to walk around to search for a photograph. By staying in the same location, you will be quicker to notice moments as they occur, you will already be in position, and people will be entering your personal space instead of you entering theirs. This will help to make you feel a lot more comfortable.

4. Try some street portraiture

Skater, Street Portrait, New York Street Photography

Start out the day with some street portraits. Stop someone, tell them they look great and that you’re doing a project on people in the area, and ask if you can take a few quick photographs. Some photographers will then just capture a couple quick photographs, mumble a thank you, and run off, but I want you to interact with them.

Make conversation as you photograph and capture them from a couple angles. Compliment them and make their day. Doing this will make both you and the subject happier, and it will help remove the creepy feeling that can happen when shooting street photography.

5. Learn to be candid

No matter how comfortable you become shooting in these environments, it is important to learn to act candidly. If everyone stops you to ask if you took their photograph or if everyone notices you right away to ruin the moment, you will not get anywhere. Learning to act candidly will make you feel much more comfortable.

SoHo, New York Street Photography

The camera snap

The most important tip, probably in this whole article, is what I call the camera snap. As photographers, one of our instincts is to slightly take the camera away from our eye right after we take a picture. Everyone does this, and this is how people notice that you have taken their photograph – it’s the main thing that tips them off. So instead, take the photograph and keep the camera to your eye as they pass completely by. This will make them think that you are just photographing the background and that they got in your way.

This way of shooting works fantastically well in busy areas, but in areas with fewer people, it can help to change it up a bit. Instead of aiming the camera at a subject right away, this time, aim the camera at a building above or a scene to the side of them. Then at the last second, act like you took the photograph and are moving your camera down, take the picture of them, and move on.

It cannot hurt to play a role as well. Some of the best street photographers are fantastic actors; they have a way of looking the dumbest with their cameras. They furrow their brow and act like they don’t know how to use the camera at all, are testing it out, and don’t even notice that the person is right where they are photographing. Some even act like tourists. It’s hilarious and it works.

6. Don’t shoot from the hip

SoHo, New York Street Photography

Shooting from the hip is an important practice in street photography. I do it about 30-40% of the time, but I do it with my camera right below my eyes, looking like I’m standing there waiting for something to happen instead of putting the camera very low down. If you are just starting out with street photography, particularly with a large DSLR and zoom lens, this will be your first instinct.

It can be important to learn to shoot from the hip, particularly for the moments that you really want to keep candid, but I suggest staying away from it at first. It can become too much of a crutch and it can make you more uncomfortable in the long-run as you will always feel like you are sneaking around. You need to learn to put the camera to your eye at first to both get good photographs and to improve your confidence. Force yourself to shoot with your camera to your eye as much as possible, and as you get more experienced, then you can experiment with shooting from the hip some of the time.

7. Repetition

5th Avenue, New York Street Photography

Nothing will get you more comfortable out there than shooting frequently. Even if it is only ten minutes here or there, try to not go too long without photographing. These skills are like any other in that you will quickly get rusty, and this will make you feel more self-conscious. Turn your photography into a routine, even if it is only once every two weeks, and you will become much better.

Now that you’ve read all of this, just get out there and go for it. Put a smile on your face, enjoy the walk, and have fun with it!

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Urine for a Beautiful Day: Street Gardens Double as Public Pissoirs

07 Feb

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 4.58.27 PM

‘Piss in peace’ is the tagline for the Urintrottoir, a recent addition to the streets of Paris that’s part urinal, part composter, part mini garden. City officials are hoping that offering these urinals right out in the open will be a viable way to get men to stop peeing all over everything in sight, especially at night when they’ve had a few drinks. It would be cool if our cities could smell a little nicer, guys.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 4.57.31 PM

The problem is, most of us don’t want to stare at urinals as we’re walking down the sidewalk. The Urintrottoir design attempts to find a way around that and make use of waste products at the same time, by making each unit into a planter full of herbs and flowers. The top bins contain straw and sawdust, which help break down the urine into relatively neutral-smelling soil for the plants.

urine garden 1 urine garden 2

Larger versions of the device could potentially absorb the urine of 600 people before needing to be emptied. Two smaller versions are currently located near the Gare de Lyon station in Paris, and if the test is successful (and men really do choose to pee in them instead of in alleys or in the doorways of shops,) additional units will be rolled out to other stations in France.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 4.58.36 PM

Some European cities already offer public ‘pissoirs’ that are considerably less decorative, but there’s not always a recycling component involved. This option makes lemonade out of lemons, so to speak (sorry, that metaphor is almost too perfect.) Now, if only there were similar options designed for people with different equipment.

A previous effort to prettify public urinals came in the form of a rose-tinted marble fountain by Portuguese architecture firm Bureau A, attempting to make public pissing into an artistic act.

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How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

26 Jan

As a street photographer you may have had fear sometimes taking photos on the street. All of us who spend time in the streets shooting know that not everyone likes when you take photos of them. When photographing strangers, our biggest fear is of people noticing that we are taking photos of them or people complaining about being in the frame.

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

The biggest fear in street photography

Every time this thought hits your mind, just realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of. I’d say that 99% of the fear and anxiety taking photos of strangers comes from inside you, not from the outside. You need to deal with your fears and know that the biggest problem you could have is someone calling the police (which doesn’t happen really often, at least it’s never happened to me). In most of the countries taking photos on the street is allowed and you don’t need permission. Always check the regulations of the country or the province where you are shooting.

If you want to photograph kids I’d recommend always asking for the permission of the parents. In a lot countries you can get in trouble really easily for taking photos of minors without permission. If you want to check in which countries you need consent to take photos, please check this link: Countries that need consent.

Requests to delete the photos

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

From my personal experience I have to say that sometimes it’s tricky to take shoots of strangers. Some people have come to me asking to delete the photos in front of them. You don’t necessarily need to do that. As per the law in Canada (British Columbia) I can take photos in public places as much as I like. If I want to publish them it’s different story, but you can take photos without having to be worried about getting in trouble. When people ask me to delete their pictures I do it, not because I’m afraid of them because I don’t want to start arguing with someone and lose time that I could be shooting, and out of respect for that person.

Advice to help you be invisible

Since I started shooting I’ve changed my technique a lot. With time you’ll get better and you will feel more confident asking for permission or framing your photo to get an interesting composition.

I have tried different tips and techniques that you can find on the internet, most of them from Eric Kim (one of the biggest street photographers of our time) and from other photographers like Bruce Gilden, among others.

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

Here is a list of different things people do and my opinion about each of them.

The shooting from the hip technique

You’ll find that this way of taking photos helps you at the beginning but it won’t take you really long if all the photos you do are like this. You need to frame your photo and think about what you want in your frame, otherwise you’ll end up just being lucky.

Shooting from the hip doesn’t allow you to decide, you are just finding something interesting and trying to get lucky pressing the shutter. Let’s be honest, if you want to get good photos don’t do this. Street photography isn’t easy, so you need to be confident and earn the photo. Last but not least it looks pretty shady having your camera on your chest and pressing the shutter when you see something.

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

Here is my advice to avoid shooting from the hip to give you a better result. What you can do is walk with your camera around like you are shooting a video, people will think that you are just a tourist and won’t care that much what you are doing.

Dress code

There isn’t a proper dress code for street photography, but I will recommend you to dress according to the style of shooting you are gonna be doing. If you go to poor neighbourhoods don’t dress fancy. I often dress with damaged or old clothing to fit in more in that kind of environment.

In case you are shooting in the middle of the city my recommendation would be always dark clothes rather than brighter ones. People won’t notice you that much, and if you want to capture candid moments that’s what you need to blend in more.

Camera and equipment go as light as possible

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography camera gear

In terms of camera equipment, you should always go as light as possible. The less you carry the more freedom you will have when you’re shooting. In my case, I bought my first camera about a year ago (Nikon D7200) and even tho I love the camera I realized after a short amount of time that I couldn’t take the camera around. It was too heavy and too noticeable.

When you are shooting street photography you want to be as invisible as possible, that’s why months later I decided to buy another camera (Ricoh GR II). The advantage of this camera is the fact that it’s super small and I can carry it around all the time. Now I take photos every day, and that helps have no regrets when I see something that I want to shoot.

My personal experience

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

Since I started I haven’t had a lot of problems. A bunch of people said no when asking for permission but many others said yes. Sometimes people will yell at you for taking photos and others will try to run away from you, but the more shots you take more confident you’ll feel.

I’ve experienced more problems taking photos of rich people than poor people. Which is funny to me, people who have less are seemingly willing to give more than those who have everything.

Rough neighborhood

As a photographer based in Vancouver, I find my inspiration in neighbourhoods like Vancouver East Side which is known for their problems with poverty and drug abuse in some zones. Hastings Street is the part of Vancouver East Side that interests me the most. There is where I take most of my portraits and where I get to talk and share some moments with the people.

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography confidence

In the image above you can see my portrait of a man with tattoos on his face. When I saw him I was by myself and I wished to take his photo. I won’t lie to you I was afraid. Taking photos of people doing drugs or in bad situations is not easy. I get too close emotionally sometimes and feel bad for taking photos of them, like I am stealing something from people who have nothing. But in these cases you need to be strong and see photography not as a weapon but as a way to capture something beautiful and exciting to you. Back to the point, I saw this man and I hesitated taking the picture or not, but eventualy I did.

I asked him, “Excuse me, I really like the tattoos on your face and I would like to take your portrait, do you mind?”. (Always compliment your subject, it gives you a reason for taking the photo.) The man looked at me seriously and said, “Just one, do it fast because I’m mad.” So I took the photo as fast as I could and after thanking him I left and continued taking photos of other people.

Be brave but also be safe

How to Conquer the Biggest Fear in Street Photography

In most cases when you are in areas where is not always safe you don’t want to take a long time taking the photo so I switched to automatic and just took one frame. The outcome was great from my point of view but it is not always like that. Rushing is not always a friend of success, but in some cases you don’t have an option.

Many times some of the tough guys you see if you get closer and ask them for a photo you realize how easy is to take photos of them.

Note from the editor: Always put your own safety first and if you feel it would be dangerous or unsafe to take a photo then do not do so.

My point with this article is to help you realize it’s okay to take photos of strangers in street photography. Think about Robert Frank, Bruce Gilden, or Henri Cartier-Bresson. They didn’t hesitate when the shot showed up in front of them, the question is, would you?

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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.

Conclusion

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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Guerrilla Guidance: DIY Street Signs Make Urban Life More Interesting

21 Jan

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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You’re hurrying along the sidewalk on the way to work, running late and not in the greatest mood, when you see a sign in the adjacent field that simply reads “PLEASE WAIT HERE, YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL MEET YOU SHORTLY.” How does that affect your day? Little moments like these can bring some much-needed levity to the world around us, especially in dark times.

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Impeccably produced, often enticing you to push a button or take a card, these guerrilla installations look pretty legit until you stop to read what they say. They’re easy to miss, if you’re hustling too quickly and tuning out your surroundings – but if you take a moment to notice them, they might just make you smile.

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Artist Michael Pederson (aka Miguel Marquez Outside) creates these little interventions and puts them up all over his home city. Sometimes they’re site-specific, referring to things that can be found in the local environment, like a hole in the curb or a sidewalk that ends abruptly.

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The personal space cards would actually be pretty handy, and who wouldn’t be tempted by a time travel pay phone? Check out more of Pederson’s work at his tumblr and Instagram.

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Breaking Vlad: Street Art Takes On Vladimir Putin

15 Jan

[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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Vladimir Putin of Russia is a polarizing figure to say the least, as these examples of street art, graffiti and stencils from all over the world illustrate.

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Considering his position at the zenith of Russian politics for most of the 21st century, it’s really no surprise Vladimir Putin has topped Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People the last four years running. Such global influence hasn’t gone unrecognized by the world’s artistic community either, though their acknowledgment isn’t always complimentary.

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One place where you WILL find pro-Putin street art is in Crimea, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in March of 2014. Are these flattering public portraits really the work of independent street artists? That’s the authorities’ story and they’re sticking to it.

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Social media users aren’t sure what to think of the tributes and as one might think, critiques are a delicate matter – Big Brother really is watching. Even so, some anonymous protesters have made their feelings felt, in some cases so effusively the compromised “artwork” has had to be painted over.

The Worm Turns

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In other parts of the Ukraine, Putin is, er, not so highly regarded. The above graffiti from Ternopol, western Ukraine, implies Putin has acted in an insidious, duplicitous, “wormlike” manner. The German stahlhelm is meant to evoke a previous threat to Ukrainian lives and livelihoods.

Ukraine Not Weak, Very Tasty

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Being the powerful leader of a nation practicing an aggressive foreign policy is a two-edged sword: that leader becomes the focus of resentment, resistance and remonstrance by the aggressees. This graffiti of Putin acting power-hungry was painted in Odessa in April of 2014 by artist Sviatoslav Lavrusenko. “I think, Putin will get indigestion, if he does not stop,” states Lavrusenko on his Facebook page.

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“The character ‘HACKERMAN’ from the 2015 film Kung Fury… is used in jokes regarding a person’s inflated sense of self-esteem when they solve a simple technical issue,” according to Know Your Meme. Russia’s alleged hacking of the DNC during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, however, was (a) no joke and (b) doubtlessly did little to boost Vladimir Putin’s healthy sense of self-esteem. This cleverly painted corrugated metal garage door can be found in Melbourne, Australia.

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Breaking Vlad Street Art Takes On Vladimir Putin

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