Interview with Street Photographer Askar Khamdamov

I’m happy to share this interview with you all on a talented photographer from New York but currently resides and shoots in San Francisco. By the look of his body of work, it’s almost as if Askar went back in time to the 60s or 70s and made these photographs. The perfect combination of subject matter, environment, and usage of film is well executed. Enjoy the interview below but better yet the photos.

 

Hi Askar thanks for doing this. Where do you live and how does this influence your photography?

Hi Tim, thanks for the opportunity.

A few years ago I moved to San Francisco Bay Area from New York. The landscapes at both places are very different, and the new environment has been a really great inspiration. When you see beautiful San Francisco streets with Victorian houses, unusual plants, and classic cars, this mix is a great influence.

Also, the move itself was a big push towards exploring this beautiful and diverse area. Even today I still have yet so much to see and photograph.

If you had to explain your work to a senior citizen how would you describe it?

With my film photos, I preserve the moments that surrounded them, when they were young.

 

What frustrated you about photography?

Not many people appreciate the process and the idea. Even though I try not to invade anyone’s privacy, I was attacked more than once while holding the camera.

Oh, and prices for the gear of course.

 

What are you most proud of in terms of your work?

It’s very cool when people feel that my photos take them back in time.

 

What are you trying to say with your photographs?

Time goes on, things change. Appreciate what surrounds us. In a few years from now, we will be emotionally looking back at our “Instagram” shots of today.

 

What motivated you to do this series (if it is a series what’s the title)?

My “San Francisco treasures” motivated by emotions I have when I spot something extraordinary on the streets. It’s really easy to fall in love with San Francisco. At this point, I guess some New Yorkers may get irritated. Nonetheless, then you also add a classic car, and there you have a beautiful image, which can be easily mistaken for the moment from the 60s or 70s. Isn’t that great?

 

Did this series/body of work evolved organically or was this project always in the back of your mind. Could you tell us how it happened?

As a kid, I was a Hollywood movie junkie. I was nuts about American cars in the movies; they were rare in Central Asia back then. It happens that when I spot some classic now, it makes me stop, take a look and sometimes makes me wish I had a key.

When I realized that I could take a film photo of the car and that photo can bring back memories of mine and other people’s childhood, I decided to make this series. And people seem to like it.

 

 

How do you know you got something worthy of a photo? Walk us through that creative process? Is it a type of car? Neighborhood? Does it need both for you to make a photograph?

Usually, a car catches my attention first, but if the environment isn’t right, I often pass. I find it more natural when a car blends into surroundings. In most cases, it’s also crucial that I exclude other vehicles unless they add value.

Later on, looking at the photos, you start noticing houses, electrical poles, trees, fences, trash, and other details of a city. All of it has to be in some sort of balance so that you want to capture it in a first place.

In some cases, I spot a nice car and wait until the environment changes. Or light, or some other detail that makes a difference. Often the vehicle disappears while I wait, then I lie to myself that it would be a waste of film anyway. But sometimes I get lucky, take a photo and then get a fifty or so of new Instagram followers.

 

Why film? Talk about that?

No “Instagram” has come up with a nice enough filter 🙂

I have a few digital cameras and use them for family photos. But no matter how much I pay for cameras, glass and soft, they just can’t replicate what I get from some $15 thrift store find with, let’s say Superia 200. All the imperfections, waiting while being processed and unpredictable results create a special kind of excitement. People get nuts when they see film cameras and photos. And personally I just can’t get enough.

It’s probably the same reason why some people drive classic cars, read paper books, or stay in the marriage for years – love.

 

Does nostalgia have anything to do with it?

For sure.

 

Because you shoot film are you more conservative clicking the shutter button?

Oh yes! With virtually every shot I hear my wife counting the cost of it. If I want to keep shooting film and staying married, I got to do it smart.

 

What’s your dream car and did you happen to come across it on the streets and make a photograph?

I would say Datsun 240Z. I do come across it almost every day, as a lady drives one in my neighborhood. I posted photos of it earlier.

 

What is your dream assignment/project?

I have this weird need of going to Australian Outback. There I would love to photograph the life in remote areas and aboriginal people. Go figure.

 

When you aren’t making pictures you are doing what?

Help small businesses with their online presence. I run a boutique web design studio for a few years now.

Away from work, I like exploring California with my family.

 

Convince us digital shooters why we should shoot film.

That’s a tough one. You should not. I noticed a strong drive in film camera prices on eBay recently. Kendall Jenner mentioned that she uses Contax T2 camera and I guess this drove a lot of digital shooters towards a film.

Seriously speaking, this is just a different kind of experience. Plain better, more exciting, more authentic and rewarding, photos look better, it makes you slow down and think. Some say the film has a soul, or even film is being a real kind of photography.

But, you’ll never know unless you try, right?

 

When did you feel like you’ve arrived in photography? Like hey I’m pretty good at this.

I haven’t. Usually, when I become good at something I feel a need of doing something else. I guess once this happens with photography, I will probably buy a yacht and go sailing.

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Links:

Instagram: @jpgjournal

Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/kaskar/

Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

20 Female Street Photographers to Follow in 2018

The women’s revolution for street photography is here! Below are 20 female street photographers to follow and be inspired from in 2018. These are current shooters and not of the past, so you won’t be seeing names like Vivian Maier or Mary Ellen Mark. The order is also not from worst to best or best to worst.

Also I am aware that there are a lot more female street photographer’s to follow but this is my list and I just so happen to not know every female shooter on earth. So please if you have a good recommendation please share with me. Another thing to mention, I am excluding female street photographers that are part of any renowned collectives (for example…Magnum, inPublic, Burn My Eye). In any event, enjoy!

Michelle Groskopf

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Julia Gillard

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Melissa O’Shaughnessy

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Michelle Rick

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Lauren Welles

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Alison Adcock

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Michelle Chan

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Poupay Jutharat

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Suzanne Stein

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Cat Byrnes

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Suan Lin

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Tatum Wulff

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Agnes Lanteri

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Julia Coddington

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Elizabeth Char

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Maria Moldes

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Simone De Peak

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Rebecca Wiltshire

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Jill Maguire

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Julie Hrudova

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Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

Are Street Photography Workshops Worth Paying For?

Are street photography workshops worth it? Well yeah of course…Wait a minute I spoke to soon, it’s not worth….Actually it’s really up to you. I have taken a few street photography workshops myself, which I found to be overall positive experiences.

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Me with Jack Simon – San Francisco 2016

Research The Photographer

The photographer teaching the workshop should have a good body of work. Most importantly, you must appreciate their photos to even consider taking their workshops. For example, my first street photography workshop I attended was with Burn My Eye member Jack Simon. In fact, I did not know too many contemporary photographers, I only studied or looked at the works of Magnum elites.

Streetfoto had a few workshops available and out of all the photographers, Jack’s work stood out and resonated with me the most. Jack has a keen eye and seems to be at the right places at the right time. His humor shows through his photos as well, which were immediate attention grabbers. Viewing his photos made me want to learn how he captured some of his iconic images and find out more about his approaches to photographing the streets. Best of all Jack is a very nice person!

Now let me remind you, the best photographers aren’t always the best teachers. For example, many would say Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time! But I think those same people would also agree and say that he is probably the worst general manager and owner of an NBA team….of all time! Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s and Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000’s, was an average player. Phil came off the bench as an energy type of guy, rebounded, and hustled hard. Not much offense though. Phil fouled a lot. He wasn’t THE guy but was just A guy. Nothing too spectacular. However, his coaching resume is very much different. And yes I know his teams were stacked. Anyway I hope you get my point, back to our main topic.

The more you research the photographer the better. Look to see if there are any testimonials on the photographer’s workshop. Similar to making a big investment on anything really…you’ll want to do your due diligence in researching the product, reading reviews, see if it’s within your budget, and make your purchase or find something else. Same strategy applies to choosing your street photography workshop.

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inPublic member Aaron Berger working with student Kevin Hooks – 2017 Los Angeles, CA

Benefits From a Workshop

From my experience the benefit of attending a workshop is gaining the knowledge from your instructor. My favorite part is the hands on approach and honest feedback during the photo review process. You get to experience how your instructor goes about shooting the streets and ask any questions you may have. Not only that, but I benefited by making new friends with Paul Kessel and Jill Maguire, along with many others. The last workshop I took was with Jesse Marlow and Aaron Berger, two photographers with totally different styles and approaches. Aaron is very much relentless and slick when shooting the streets, while Jesse is much more laid back, which is more of my personality and style. I wandered the streets of Los Angeles with Jesse and got to pick his brain. Overall we just had genuine conversations throughout the day and I had the opportunity to hang out afterwards for dinner. Those will be the memories I cherish over the technical skills gained through these workshops. Anytime you meet someone who shares the same passion as you honestly there’s nothing quite like it. And if you can connect with them on a deeper level, even better!

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Yogurt Mania at Foodland Ala Moana – Honolulu, HI

My Two Cents…

Ultimately, you get what you put in. Like almost everything in life, there are some people who work in a half-assed way or try hard but have minimum ability. But if you find that rare workshop, it would be extremely worthwhile. Ask yourself, why are you in the workshop? Are you working on a book and need a better understanding on how to sequence your photos? Does that instructor have the knowledge of working in series? Are you a beginner and want to have confidence having a camera around photographing the streets? Simultaneously, you the student need to be open and try to apply what may be new ways of shooting. Be flexible. From my observation, there are too many street photography workshops today….many are taught by less than qualified people or qualified people wanting to make a quick buck.

For example, when I make an investment or big purchase (Sadly for me I consider anything over $100 a big purchase) I ask myself…is it worth it? How else could I use this money? I could use that for utilities, a good night out, or invest in stocks. Don’t just spend to hoard. Economics 101…the things you purchase need to work for you. Your clothes need to have some kind of Return On Investment for you. Maybe it’s how you present yourself and people at your workplace take that into consideration. Perception is everything. If you buy a new camera and your initial plans are to just roam and shoot casually, that’s fine. But for me because I’m broke as hell, I need to find multi-purposes in everything I buy. Can you make a few dollars with that camera? Can you pick up a gig or two? Hell if you break even, that’s already a win. WILL THE MONEY SPENT MAKE ME MONEY OR GIVE ME AN EXPERIENCE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET….or am I just blowing my money away.

What I’m saying is if I had to choose between a new camera or a workshop that I’ve taken the time to research, I’d choose the workshop. Reason being is there’s no price tag on a potential experience of a lifetime or the knowledge you’d walk away with…of course that is all dependent on the quality of your workshop instructor and on YOU. Your mindset and what you want to be able to walk away with from the workshop is key.

Last note, I hate when someone says workshops are a waste of money, especially if they have never attended one. That’s like saying Hawaii only has beaches and I don’t like the ocean so I’m never going to visit there. Of course Hawaii has much more than beaches, but it’s up to you to do the research beforehand that will help determine how your vacation pans out. If you have a negative mindset about something or someone, yet know very little about the situation or person, then that’s all on you.

To sum things up, “are street photography workshops worth it?” Yes, it is. But it depends on YOU and what you want out of it, as well as the quality of your instructor, which is also dependent on you! Do your research and keep an open mind, you’ll find workshops can be a great learning experience and a lot of fun!

For workshops visit below:

http://streetfoto.org/workshops/

http://www.brucegilden.com/workshops/

https://www.magnumphotos.com/events/event/alex-webb-workshop-oslo/

https://www.maciejdakowicz.com/photography-workshops/

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/workshops/

http://italianstreetphotofestival.com/workshops-street-photography-festival/

https://www.miamistreetphotographyfestival.org/

Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

Win Some Lose Most

“Street Photography is 99,9 % about failure. So often I feel defeated by the street. I sometimes find, that if I keep walking, keep looking, and keep pushing myself, eventually something interesting will happen. Every once in a while, at the end of the day, when I´m most exhausted and hungry, something – a shaft of light, an unexpected gesture, an odd juxtaposition – suddenly reveals a photograph. It´s almost as if I had to go through all those hours of frustration and failure in order to get to the place where I could finally see that singular moment at day´s end” – Alex Webb

The first harsh lesson street photography has taught me is “Win some. Lose most”. Most of the time when you go out to photograph whether it’s a weekend walk into the city or whether you just bring your camera everywhere with you, just have realistic expectations and not expect that every shutter click is going to be a good image.

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Twins Honolulu, HI 2017

Remember to ultimately shoot for yourself and at the end of the day what really matters is if you’re happy with your photos. You may get a lot of “likes” or compliments on social media from your friends but deep down you know whether you have a good photo. WWE superstar John Cena, said that after a match everyone backstage congratulates you and pats you on the back tell you “Hey that was an awesome match” but in his heart and mind he knows whether or not the match was a 5 star match. And if it was a 5 star match he’s not settling, as long as he’s wrestling, he’s gonna keep striving to top his last five star match. You can bring that same mentality to street photography, you take a good photo. It wins awards, gets recognition but don’t settle. Keep shooting. Try to top your last good photo. The competition is not among other people on social media but rather among yourself. Realize that you’ll have more shitty shooting days than good. And once you realize this and be honest with yourself in the quality of work you’ve been producing and the time and effort you actually put into your street photography, the better you can go about your art.

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Rafael Trejos Havana, Cuba 2017

Even when you’re submitting photos to festivals or competitions. I’ve always said that getting in one is like hitting the lottery. The percent of your photos getting in is slim. Therefore, do not be disappointed by not getting in. Because you did not lose. You just did not win. If you’re in a rut or have a photographer’s block then try out new genre’s either within street photography or in photography in general. Sometimes mixing things up helps me reshuffle the creative juices. By allowing yourself to try new things and make crappy photos along the way takes off pressure. Removes any competitive spirit within you and allows you to have fun and learn new things.Sometimes going on hiatus helps. I discovered street photography in 2010 and did it for two years.

I stopped in 2012 because I didn’t know what and why I was photographing randomness out in the streets. I got back into street photography in 2015 with a new burning light and most importantly it was more fun than when I was originally practicing it back in 2010-2012. In that regards, sometimes you need to hit the reset button. For most people their reset button is a two week vacation and when they return back to work they’re rejuvenated and ready to continue to climb the corporate ladder. That’s why there’s spring breaks, summer breaks, winter breaks, for students so that they don’t feel burnt out and uninspired to learn. If you’re falling off into boredom and you’ve tried mixing it up…it’s okay. That’s normal. This actually happens to me a lot. Just find something else to do or stay busy and return to hitting the streets thereafter.

At the end of the day try new things, pace yourself, compete among yourself, and don’t add any unnecessary pressure onto yourself. You are the gatekeeper of your own destiny.

Other similar blogs –

Photographer’s Block

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Havana, Cuba 2017

Photograph for Yourself

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Havana, Cuba 2017

Enjoy the process

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Havana, Cuba 2017

Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

Why I Love Street Photography

“Photograph the world as it is. There’s nothing more interesting than reality” – Mary Ellen Mark

I love shooting the streets. Wait wait love is too strong of a word…maybe I’m obsessed…okay sounds better. To me…in my bias opinion, I think street photography is the hardest form of photography to go about…and the most honest form of photography. Sure to shoot the streets is easy. You just need a camera and head out…to go about it is fairly simple. To do it well or at least decent is very hard. I think street photos evoke more emotion than any other type of photography genre out there. Now that’s not to say I don’t appreciate a little landscape shot from time to time, cause I do. Photos of a beautiful landscape will definitely catch my eye, some shots may look different from other’s based on weather or season but for the most part they’re static. A street photo which typically consist of having a human or people within the frame….or some element of a human figure (shadow, poster with a face for example) are much more dynamic. That is what I have always loved about street photography.

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I also love the challenge that street photography presents itself. I could be shooting the same streets day in and day out and still walk away with completely different pictures each day. I can photograph the same area but still not know what to expect. You never know what you may come across! I don’t need to travel to some exotic country to make some damn good photos. I can do it anywhere, as long as I have an open mind and I allow my instincts to react and take over.

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As much crap there is on social media in regards to what people think is “street photography”….I do enjoy seeing a fellow street photographer build their own following and receiving the recognition they deserve for their creativity and hard work. The internet amazes me sometimes and I think there’s a lot of hate you’ll come across on other blogs in regards that social media is killing street photography (Is Street Photography Dead)….And maybe it is to an extent but at the end of the day without these social media platforms we wouldn’t know a lot of these great modern day street photographer’s. The days of only receiving recognition by either making it on the New York Times or getting major media coverage is OVER. You hear me…it is over!!!! It’s a whole new ball game now! And I think people are aware that they can be their own brand and the fact there is a higher percentage of getting attention on themselves motivates everyone across the board. This makes everyone to step up their game! Even the pros need to step up their game to continue to be relevant…We live in a world of what have you done lately!

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What I love that street photography has done for me….it’s given me a creative outlet….I believe everyone needs to have a creative outlet…or the very least a hobby…something that can fuel you which then fuels you during your 9 to 5 job. I truly believe if all you do is work and come home and binge on Netflix day in and day out…you’re killing yourself. I don’t believe in routine. Routine leads to complacency. You need to find something outside of work, outside of just drinking with friends every Friday and Saturday night, getting shit face and wasting your time. You need to find something else that is much more fulfilling. Perhaps, volunteer at a shelter. Utilize your skills to help a non-profit. Obtain new skills. Exercise and getting fit is a great option to consider.

All I’m saying is find something. Anything. Try them all! You aren’t going to find your creative outlet or hobby over the weekend. It’ll even change over time as well. When I started street photography in 2010, I stopped in 2012 because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing taking random shots from a far and not really liking the photos I came out with. The itch was always there and went back to shooting the streets in 2015. See the passion was always there, it never left me, I just went on a nice vacation away from street photography which ultimately reignited my fire.

The same can happen to you…just because something doesn’t work once, doesn’t mean it won’t work the second time. Mix things up and you’ll find different results. Okay hold on…going off topic here…okay there you have it, a few reasons why I love street photography…what are some reasons why you love street photography?

 

Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

What is Street Photography?

What is street photography? According to wikipedia….

“Street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or inquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. … Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment.”

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My photo photo (above) was selected and featured on instagram account @bcncollective they have a decent amount of followers, I believe the account is still fairly new and their selections in my opinion are pretty good. Also, I have not had many of my photos featured on other instagram accounts so this recognition was deeply appreciated.

However, an instagram user commented on my photo something to the extend that the photo is cruel and should be taken down despite many other positive comments. This is one of those polarizing photos that have received both negative and positive comments. I love this photo because of how overly tan she is and she sorts of looks like an alien so when I came across her I wasn’t sure if she came from out of space or if she was one of us earthlings….Anyways, due to this one person the collective decided to remove the image, instagram did not ask the collective to remove it. The photo does not show any nudity or inflicts any of instagram photo procedures. The collective removed it to be sensitive to that ONE comment.

How was I notified about this removal…well the collective messages me the next morning and my response was simply that they shouldn’t care about what people think is or is not a street photo. My advice to them was if you like a photo and want to feature it on your page, do it. Don’t hesitate if “well is it going to receive a negative response”…that’s the same mentality as “well is this photo going to get a lot of likes”….that’s the pitfall of social media, too many people are too worried about other people’s opinion.

You think Suzanne Stein would be anything if she was worried about people bashing her photographs on the homeless community on Skid Row? I’ve read a lot of mixed responses and reviews on Bruce Gilden’s book/series Faces…you think he cares? It’s his vision with a purpose and the best part is he can defend his work. He’s not taking random photos and calling it street photography.

My photo is part of a larger continuous project called Beach Please where I photograph unusual and absurd moments of things happening on the beach or of interesting people that’s at the beach. Whether on the beach or on the sidewalk, my instincts will naturally tell me to make a photograph if the colors are striking, the person is interesting (I don’t know how to explain this but something about them or on them just catches my eye), something is happening or taking place and may look nice in a frame of a second, and if the lighting is striking.

On the beach, there are more opportunities from my experience to come across something interesting that you can tie in with the beach. What I mean by that is for example, all marketing and promotional materials of Hawaii is of the scenery, lava, fire dancers, pristine beaches with super models on walking along shores…However, that is a false perception of Hawaii…Hawaii like any metropolitan city has it’s own set of issues with homelessness, traffic, and high cost of living…on the beach especially a touristy beach like Waikiki, there are rarely any super models. The beach is filled with homeless, over weight seniors enjoying their vacation or retirement, and families….very different then any promotional video you’ll see on the internet of Waikiki (check out my previous blog on “Street Photography on the Beach“). So with this project, my intention is to capture the reality of Waikiki beach which I’m sure the Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau would not appreciate.

Conclusion

All in all, there’s a lesson to be learned here. One, don’t give a rats ass what negative comments people make on your photo. If they give constructive feedback on how the photo could be better, then great. But take it with a grain of salt especially if you did not seek constructive feedback. Lesson two, you know what you’re intentions are, photograph with your heart, mind, and soul. I truly believe you can only make good photograph’s if it resonates with you. Yes, anyone can grab a camera, go out, and start clicking the shutter button….and have photos of anything and everything. But if you photograph with your mind, soul, and heart….which ultimately means photos that resonate with you and your initial instincts then go for it.

 
Adding this donate button. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Your monetary donation will be used for coffee and photobooks. Mahalo

Street Photography on the Beach

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What time of day are you going

The time of day to photograph people on the beach is very important just like when you go out to photograph the streets. Are you going early morning? Sunrise? Where the light is fairly faint and their aren’t a lot of beach goers…depending on your location you may see a lot of early morning runners and surfers.

Are you going at noon? Where the sun is may be a bit harsh and it’ll be hot as heck! At this hour, I find that the beaches are most crowded. It can be difficult to last a few hours due to the heat, walking in sand, and carrying a bag full of items. I suggest dressing comfortably, wearing slippers or sandals, and carry a point and shoot or keep your dslr/mirrorless camera as light as possible.

Also at this time of the day, there should be a variety of people at the beach. Families. Seniors. Tanners. Surfers. Homeless. Tourist. Locals. Go before lunch and shoot for a couple hours, maybe from 11am to 1pm.

If you’re worried about the sun causing you any stress then go before sunset. The late afternoon 3pm-4pm and shoot until the sun sets. You’ll find the best lighting at this hour, a very soft and subtle light just arraying the shores. The key here though is to find where that light is exactly hitting. Of course the area where the light is hitting will change as the sun sets but once you find it, don’t lose it. Follow the light and let your subjects walk into it. There may be opportunities to create dark shadows or silhouettes as well. Also at this hour, the beach isn’t as overly crowded (which can be overwhelming at times just like shooting a busy intersection). Most people are getting ready for dinner or just waiting to enjoy the sunset but majority are doing that away from the sands.

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Blend In

If you look the part, you’ll get the part. Same applies when you’re photographing on the beach. If you look like a tourist like everyone else on the beach with beach shorts, often taking selfie shots of yourself, others around may not even notice you or seem to care. But if you’re on the beach with jeans , a pair of shoes, and a long telephoto lens then obviously you’ll be standing out from the crowd…and for the wrong reasons.

Now I’m not saying to go shopping for an entirely new attire just for the beach setting. Dress comfortably. Have respect of what you photograph and who you photograph. Same principles applies as when you’re roaming the sidewalks.

My other advice when blending in is to take your time. Scan the beach. I love shooting the beach because there are many activities happening, lot of different people of all size, shapes, and background in a more contain environment. And also everything is slowed down, unlike the streets where it can be very busy and overwhelming at times.

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Have the Fisherman mentality

Take your time. Be patience. Scan those in the water. Observe those lying in the sand absorbing the sun. Eventually you will come across something that just instinctively connects with you. Maybe it’s an overly tanned person. Over sized man in speedos. A juxtaposition of a swimmer and their inflatable’s.

People are exposed on the beach. Their guards are down. For crying out loud, they’re barely clothed. So worse case scenario a photograph of themselves should be the least of their concerns. I believe if you were to shoot at the beach from sunrise to sunset, be patient with the situation, you would walk away with more amazing photos shooting the beach than if you were to spend an entire day on the streets. That’s just my opinion.

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What to Look For

Well what do you look for when you’re shooting the streets? Gesture? Color? Wardrobe? Interesting face? Patterns? Juxtaposition? Humor? Same can be applied when photographing the beach. However, I feel it’s even more out there and you don’t have to really look or even stress overthinking or even trying. Just take a nice walk down shore, take your time, enjoy the ocean and view, and I guarantee you will come across something you’d like to make a photograph of. Comparing to shooting the streets, it’s easy to get caught up with the fast pace environment and just to blaze your way through street after street. Your photo walk just ends up being more of an exercise than a creative experiment. The beach has a calming effect, I think that mostly has to do with the people on the beach having that calm and relaxation feeling and it rubs off on you. If you go and blaze through the people in the water or on the sand and be very aggressive with your approach you will only be calling negative attention to yourself from other beach goers.

There’s a lot to see on the beach. Different activities happening, perhaps a volleyball game, kids building a sand castle or burying their siblings alive into the sand. People running in and out of the water. Lying down getting fried by the sun. Or perhaps the possibilities of creating interesting juxtaposition with those reading a book on the beach.

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Narrow Your Focus

Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of people? Not seeing anything that sticks out to you? When I feel in this rut, I usually go to my fallback. I think we all have fallbacks in what we look for or what stands out interesting whether we’re conscious of it or not. For me if nothing stands out then I narrow my focus on gesture or bright colors.

Same can be applied photographing the beach, perhaps you narrow your focus to body shapes that you find interesting. Or overly tanned aka burnt people at the beach. Simple things like that, that may not make great photos but at least it’ll make you start clicking that shutter button.

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Respect Your Subjects

Have some ethics and respect when shooting the beach just like when you photograph the streets. It’s one thing to have balls and courage but it’s another thing to be disrespectful of another person’s space. If your gut tells you it’s not a good idea to photograph that situation or person then move on. The very least you can perhaps ask for permission but that ruins the candid shot and I personally think it’s a bad habit to do…to seek permission in order to make a photograph. if you’re new to street photography then you get a pass but for those that are more seasoned it’s frowned down upon. Also consider asking yourself, is this photograph really worth taking… is it that good of a shot? Sometimes you really don’t know until you are post processing the image but most of the times for myself, I know in my gut that I got a good photo at that very moment.

You can catch me photographing the beach on my youtube channel here

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