Lessons “Shinsuke Nakamura” Can Teach Us About Photography

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Continuing of my wrestling and photography analogy blogs. This time it’s on WWE’s rock star Shinsuke Nakamura. Shinsuke recently got called up from NXT to the main roster of SmackDown Live. He’s one of my favorite wrestlings on the roster, he has a unique personality, he takes his craft seriously, he knows what his character is, and he’s somewhat of a underdog. I was worried that his success in NXT wouldn’t carry over onto the main roster but the fans both loyal fan base and those that are new to “The King of Strong Style’ have really embraced his arrival. WWE and the creative team has done a good job thus far, by being somewhat careful with the way they book and build Nakamura but also push his limits and ease him into the spotlight (doing promos on Live TV, his English is decent at best but he makes it work). Here are some lessons Shinsuke Nakamura can teach us about photography.

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Let your work do the talking

Nakamura’s is not known for his english for obvious reasons. He’s from Osaka, Japan, and have been wrestling in Japan for much of his career until WWE signed him early of last year. Generally in the US, if a wrestler doesn’t have mic skills or isn’t able to connect or interact with the audience their success rate is zero to none. Nakamura’s over the top personality and natural oozing charisma instantly connects with fans. He’s mastered the art of body language.

Gamble on Yourself

Shinsuke was at the top of New Japan Wrestling, making waves and headlines all around the world. However, he needed a new challenge and heading over to the US to NXT was a leap of faith. Traditionally, international wrestlers, especially ones that have an accent usually gets buried in WWE. By adding a stereotypical gimmick and end up on the consecutive losing ends each week. Despite all those pre-historic factors, the only way Shinsuke would know is if he took that chance. Showing that he has a lot of confidence and faith within himself to make it work in the WWE. Be bold!

Similar with your photography, take chances, try new techniques, travel somewhere you’ve never been before, somewhere that doesn’t speak your native tongue. Have faith in your own abilities.

Seek Inspiration

Seek inspiration outside of your profession. Shinsuke idolizes Michael Jackson, on how he’s a perfectionist and treats everything from the singing, to the moonwalk, to the wardrobe, as an artform. Shinsuke is the same, from the drawn out charismatic entrance, The vibrant red leather jacket and pants. The long hair with one side shaven off. To the facial expressions, the smile, the stare, all the way down to his in ring ability.

By seeking other artists or other inspiration outside of photography it may open doors for you the next time you go out and shoot. Perhaps it may inspire you to create a body of work that evokes the same emotion as a musician or painter. It is always good to learn about other crafts and philosophies. If Steve Jobs inspires you because he is an innovative creator then find out how you can be an innovative street photographer. If Peyton Manning inspires you because of his relentless preparation and efforts then apply that same relentlessness in your street photography. Shoot the streets from dusk to dawn, research on your lunch breaks, weekends, wake up an hour early, do whatever it takes.

Be Different

Don’t be the norm, don’t do the norm, don’t follow the herd of sheeps. Stay away, be different, you are unique! Regardless of what anyone says about you, you are special. People will always have an opinion of you and your photographs! If their feedback is not constructive then let their voices or words go through one ear and out the other. Be you and follow your heart. Lots of people love Nakamura’s personality, style, wardrobe, everything about him. He is very much different than anything we have seen in WWE…EVER! However, some people dislike him as well. They don’t understand him or why people are so enthused about him. They aren’t able to relate. He can’t speak English. He is annoying. He is predictable. So on and so forth.

Don’t worry about the facebook likes, amount of instagram followers, the stats, the competitions, or if Bruce Gilden said your photo is trash. If you like the photo, defend it, stand by it, don’t crumble due to others. If the photo speaks to your heart, your soul, and resonates with you, defend it.

10 Skills (not gear) You Need To Make Good Photographs

Stop lusting over which camera you should get next (or simply G.A.S…gear acquisition syndrome). Your camera is just a tool to do the work, it probably only makes up 10% of the finished product. You can shoot the streets candidly with any camera, a Leica, a Sony, a Canon, an iPhone, a Olympus, a Nikon, any camera really. What you really need to know is how to work your camera and ergonomically if it feels right in hand. Is it too heavy, too small, too big, are there too many buttons, is it cheap/expensive. Those are my main factors in considering the perfect camera. I don’t care about megapixels (I don’t print my image for billboards..how many of us do, most of us just upload our images to the web), or all these cool art filters (I rather edit the RAW on my desktop afterwards or if I’m lazy just wifi the jpeg onto my phone and edit through SnapSeed, awesome app).

I want to share with you all about the physical and also mental tools you need to make a good photograph.

Recognizing/Awareness

One of the cool things about street photography is recognizing a moment or scene that is catered towards eyes, your heart, and soul. Not everyone will recognize or see the same shot and if they do I’m pretty sure everyone that’s taking the photo of the same subject will walk away with different pictures (partly due to focal length, when the photographer clicks the shutter, distance from the subject, etc). Recognizing and realizing something interesting is happening, it could be a humorous scene, something mysterious, or surreal moment. Lot of times this happens based on your instincts, it hits you in the gut “Hey that’s interesting” or “I wonder what’s happening here”, it keeps you curious and guessing of what’s taking place.

The photo above I obviously made at the beach. I was walking along Waikiki Beach on my lunch break. It was humid and I wasn’t seeing much happening nor was I clicking much from my shutter. From about 40-50 feet, off to the side, I see these two older ladies lying on top of their men. I thought it’d make a interesting and comical photo so I quickly walked over praying that they stay in the exact position without adjusting themselves.

I took several shots without being disruptive and walked along. I was very happy to have made this photo regardless if it hangs in anyone’s living room or exhibits anywhere…I personally like the photo and happy to have caught the moment. It wasn’t until I brought the photo into post that I realize the two men look identical…and possibly even the two ladies. There some mystery to the image as well. The more questions your image asks…the better. I hate Street photos with titles or gives me all the answers. I like formulating my own stories. I also dislike movies that gives me a concrete ending, unlike Christopher Nolan, his films always have an open ending (let’s you decide what happened). This technique makes you feel a part of the artist’s work, it allows you to contribute and have discussions with friends and adds the element of “What If” in it.

 

Anticipate The Moment

Any type of photography or live action event you’ll need to anticipate what’s either going to happen or about to happen. If you shoot sports you must be aware of how the game is flowing, who’s leading and who’s down, is the team coming off a time out? How much time is left on the clock? What quarter is it? This all leads to you getting that next shot, following the action and what’s to come. If you shoot weddings, there’s usually a program involved. If it’s time for the newlyweds to cut the cake, you can anticipate one of the spouses to get some cake on their nose/face. Or when the bride is ready to throw her bouquet, you can anticipate one of her bridesmaid snatching it up in the air filled with excitement.

The same applies to street photography. You must anticipate what’s to come. How do you anticipate for the scene to evolve. For example, I shot the photo above in Cuba (image is a Finalist for StreetFoto 2017). I RECOGNIZED the a person (I don’t know if it was a man or woman, I never saw what the person looked like. Not does it matter, anyways) was walking towards me with a bright red umbrella shielding him/her. Within that split second I again recognized the vibrant wall he was walking past by, I sped up and took the photo. I only had one opportunity to click my shutter and I did, only once. I chimped (which means you look at your photo once you made the photograph, it’s highly frowned down upon street photographers) and thought it was an alright photo. I looked up and I see the individual with the red umbrella slowly fading away into the distance. Seconds later, I felt somewhat of a regret and wished I had another opportunity (it was raining in Cuba and was already in a discouraged mood). Deep down, I knew something was there but felt I didn’t capture the moment….

When I returned home and uploaded my photo into Photoshop, the image stood out and really got me guessing and kept me curious about the image. This photo had to be the toughest image I have ever edited (crop, tones).

Imagination

Now let’s make an example of the same photo (Red Umbrella). Let’s say I had arrive to the red wall a few minutes earlier. When there’s a strong and vibrant background/wall with no design or graffiti or art work, just a plain color backdrop, my imagination runs wild. So let’s say I’m in front of that red wall and I visualize for something to walk by and matches up with the red wall. Perhaps, a clown dressed in all red. Or a clown dressed in all white with a red nose. Possibly a butcher who just finished work and has blood all over his apron. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud. With your imagination, hope, little bit of luck, and patience, you just may have the perfect subject or scenario align itself.

Patience

“Patience is a virtue”

Recognizing a potential photographic moment can take patience, some more than others. I don’t have this skill with my photography and perhaps in anything that does require patience. I hate waiting, I’d rather keep walking and hope to come across something as I move forward. I applaud those that can wait or give the illusion through their photos that they have waited for hours or days for the photo to develop. One photographer that comes to mind is one of my personal favorites…Pau Buscato, check his work out if you haven’t already you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Patience in photography can be applied to anything in life. Being patience with your spouse, co-worker, waiting in long lines, being stuck in traffic, waiting for that promotion. Patience is a quality skill to have in all walks of life. If you feel in your gut that something can blossom into a perfect image then wait…it’ll be worth the wait. Because all it takes is one photo to immortalize your work.

Be Fearless

Stop with the excuses. Just shut up and shoot. Worry later.

Read and React

See something interesting. Click the shutter. If you’re able to work the scene and shoot at various angles, do it. See something comical. Click the shutter. See something that makes you happy. Click the shutter. See something that has you curious. Click the shutter. Keep clicking the shutter and repeat. Don’t second guess yourself or contemplate whether the photo will be award winning or not. Just click the damn shutter!

Social Skills

Some photographers like to interact with their subjects and some don’t. For me, it depends on my mood. If I’m doing a street portrait I usually do have small talk with my subjects. Most are flattered to have their photo taken partly because I build their confidence before making a photo of them by complementing their good looks or hat, or whatever else they’re wearing. Your social skills may come into play when you face confrontation and someone you just photographed is pissed off at you. Knowing how to be in that heated situation and how to showcase your “Customer Service” skills may bail you out (I have yet been in a heated situation because of street photography).

Be Mentally Strong

You may go day/weeks/months without any photos you’re happy with. This can be discouraging. However, what helped me get over this hump was not too long ago. When I came back from Cuba earlier this year, something hit me that street photography for me (everyone has their own reasons) is not about making good photographs. Rather, it’s about going out, taking a walk, getting away from your cubicle, away from social media, and being in touch with your reality, your surroundings and absorbing all that in with appreciation. When I go on my photo walks I either completely zone out and not think about anything or I reflect on my day or the previous days. Both in a very zen approach.

Be Physically Strong

When I travel I shoot from sunrise to sunset, actually its more like from 9am first thing in the morning till 6-7pm or until my body can no longer hold up. After the first day of walking and shooting for 10 hours you’re body really feels the pain. I power through for the rest of my entire trip. I tell myself that I’m not going to see this place or I’m only here for 3 more days so just power through. Street photography can take a toll on you, so be prepared to go at your own pace, take short breaks in between your photo walks. Have meals to refuel you so you can continue shooting. But listen to your body, if you can power through awesome, if you feel like your body is slowing down and you can focus on your shooting then head back home.

Be Emotionally Strong

Set reasonable goals for yourself. For example, everyone’s new years resolution is to quit smoking and lose weight. Well, if you do put any action behind it and if you expect to lose weight within 2 weeks, I can guarantee you’ll most likely won’t obtain your goal. You gotta follow through your goals. If you made plans to go shoot Monday, Wednesday, Friday during your lunch break, follow through them. Don’t get lazy. With street photography, if I don’t shoot for more than 2 weeks I feel really rusty. Almost like a rookie back on the streets, I think of it as a confidence bar, the more consistently you shoot, your confidence bar remains untouchable but each day you don’t shoot it slowly drops. Imagine if you don’t shoot for one year straight and you don’t look at photobooks or study the masters or read anything on street photography…and then the following year you go back out into the public setting with a camera in your hand…I can only imagine you’ll feel like you don’t belong. That cloud of fear would hover over you as when you first started off shooting street photography. ‘

Make yourself strong against negativity. There will be people on on social media or even your own friends that’ll say negative things about your photos and ask you why do you take random photos of people. You gotta bypass this and not let it bother you. Street photography is not wrong, its not bad, you aren’t doing anything illegal or hurting anybody. That’s what helps me feel so comfortable when I’m out shooting…It’s because I ain’t doing no wrong when I’m out there.

If you enter in photo competitions and contests expect to fail 9 times out of 10. It takes a really good photo and luck (plus its all subjective and imagine the jurors looking at thousands of entries…yours really need to stand out to leave a mark).

Have a positive outlook. Even if you don’t get a decent photo while on your walk or wasn’t able to capture the decisive moment. Be appreciative of life, your family, your health, having the right to photograph publicly and openly. Remind yourself that you’re on this photo walk to get away from the stresses not to add more stress. Street photography is our creative outlet.

Conclusion

Enjoy the process, study your favorite photographers, take workshops, and appreciate life. Again, these tips are from my own personal experience and opinion, I hope you were able to find this read helpful and that you can apply some on your next photo walk.

Thanks for reading, keep shooting.

Tim

 

Lessons Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Can Teach You About Photography

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I enjoyed writing the post on “Lessons Stone Cold Steve Austin Can Teach You About Photography”, and will continue this wrestling and photography blog series.

This second wrestling/photography post (IDK what to call it) is on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (I know him as The Rock). The Rock was at the peak when he and Stone Cold Steve Austin were wrestling together in the Attitude Era, when wrestling was at it’s best because there were competing companies (now WWE is a monopoly).

It took The Rock a while to connect with the audience and rise up to the top. I believe all of us can really learn a thing or two from him, he is the highest paid actor in Hollywood per 2016. Here is my analysis.

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Be Yourself

When The Rock debuted in 1996 in Madison Square Garden at Survivor Series, he debuted as Rocky Maivia. A combination of his father’s first name “Rocky Johnson” and his grandfather’s last name, “High Chief Peter Maivia”. Debuting on one of the major pay per views of the year, in New York City, and helping his team win the match, was a strong indication that the company (WWE & Vince McMahon) thought very highly of him. The Rock is a second generation superstar and former collegiate football player. He had all the athletic tools and capabilities to be a successful sports entertainer.

His persona as Rocky Maivia, was a happy go lucky guy, who just…well happy to be in the business and nothing more. Fans got bored of watching this happy go lucky guy week after week and fans started booing Rocky Maivia. The WWE officials took Dwayne off the wrestling schedule for a month or so and rebooted his character. He joined a predominately black stable (wrestling gang/group) “The Nation of Domination”. He re-introduced himself as “The Rock” and instead of a happy go lucky guy, he insulted fans, he spoke from the heart, the resentment from the boos fed his fire to tell all the fans in the arena to shut your mouth (You can watch The Rock’s debut somewhere on youtube). It was definitely a turning point in The Rock’s career.

With your photography I do believe you need to shoot who you are. Don’t try to be another photographer, we all have peoplr or photographers we admire and try to follow or emulate them but if you are able to add your own touch or find your style…you will a stand out on your own. The Rock was able to turn a regular elbow drop by adding his own signature to it, and even adding a new name “The People’s Elbow”. He turned something so common and made it so great. The best street photographers are able to make something out of nothing or turn a mundane scene into an interesting photo.

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Be Entertaining

The Rock was one of the most entertaining superstars the industry has ever seen. And that opened up opportunities for him in Hollywood which he recently became the highest grossing actor in 2016. Anytime The Rock surprisingly appears at a WWE event, it reignites the fans especially once they hear his music hits. His segments are never boring, it’ll keep you smiling, laughing and wanting more the entire time. I truly believe he could talk and entertain for hours, and it could be on anything. He has a special talent by connecting with the audience. By not making it a I or Me conflict but a “We” thing, we are in this together, we did it…The People’s Champ. He was able to turn a raising eye-brown and make it an iconic signature of his. He would make up his own vocabulary and phrases, “Know your Role and Shut Your Mouth, Smackdown Hotel,  If/Do You Smell What the Rock is Cookin, etc”. He knew how to let the fans be part of the program, basically he was a genius and he did it in entertaining fashion and by being himself.

Check out this video of The Rock’s Funny Moments.

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With your photography make it fun. Recognize those comical, strange, surreal, interesting, crazy, gritty, moments. Have your photos evoke an emotion from your viewer. If your photos lack emotion, if it doesn’t move you with humor, or it doesn’t make you happy, sad, mad, hopeful, or curious, then it probably is not a good photo and will leave other people that view them just as confused or uninterested with it.

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Work Hard

In 1995, he had $7 in his wallet, that’s all. By 1996, before he even made his debut in WWE, The Rock was wrestling at carnivals, flea markets, high school gyms for $40 a night. He definitely had a humbling beginning, nothing came easy. Till this day, he works out like a mad man and is so discipline with his diet. At age 45, he is in the best shape of his life. He is at the highest mountain there is to climb being the biggest Hollywood star. But he’s not content, The Rock continues to work hard and out work everyone else. His early struggle (not being drafted by an NFL team, wrestling for $40 a night, the boos early on in WWE) has instilled a work ethnic that you can’t teach.

For me, these past two months I’ve been pretty blessed with my photography. I had a group exhibit at the Street Sans Frontieres in Paris from May 12-14, 2017 for my Rafael Trejos Series. Then I get an email the other day saying that I’m one of the 52 finalist in the 2nd annual StreetFoto San Francisco International Photography Festival. A lot of luck involved to be a part of these group exhibitions but you also need to position yourself for the opportunity. You have to put yourself out there (create a website, Instagram account), take risk (traveling to Cuba to make photos), and outwork everyone else (shoot relentlessly, study photo books, read blogs, read or look at anything that inspires you) and apply it to your photography.

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Always Help Others

The Rock understood that he wouldn’t be where he’s at without the help of his fellow superstars. The Rock never had any issues putting another talent over (letting them win the match). In the wrestling industry, some wrestlers let their ego get the best of them. This was never an issue with The Rock based on what his peers have said in various interviews. In fact, I think elevating others eventually helped with his character and helped the business in its entirety. The Rock was able to make the fans cheer for ManKind AKA Mick Foley. Who early on in his WWE career, was a freak heel (bad guy). They formed a dynamic duo, The Rock and Sock connection. One of the most entertaining teams ever!

He also put over Y2J AKA Chris Jericho. Jericho debuted in WWE by interrupting The Rock during a in-ring promo. That was probably one of the best debut’s in WWE history. Helping Y2J establish himself quickly into the WWE scene, it create a very interesting feud (Jericho was one of the very few wrestlers that could go head to head with The Rock both on the mic and in the ring).

The Rock never let his ego get in the way, his persona was never bigger than the business. Still today, he comes back from time to time and appears randomly even with his busy schedule.

So no matter how famous or successful you get, remember that you didn’t do it alone. There is always help along the way. Give back to the people who helped you and were always loyal to you. Help the younger generations, help those that seek advice about your photography and maybe you’ll learn something new too along the way.

Do someone a favor and tell them to pass it on.

Thanks for reading, keep shooting.

Thanks,
Tim

Why I will never go back to a Canon or Sony Camera

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My first DSLR camera was a Canon 50D (2010). The camera produced great images, a lot of cool features, it was also built as a brick. I sold the camera because my wife bought me a Canon T2i because I was majoring in Film. Same specs for the most part compared to the 50D. Not as bulky but still would weigh on you after a carrying it around for a few hours.

A few years later, I upgraded my camera, looking for the best of both worlds in finding a camera that could produce high quality video as well as inphotos. So I bit the bullet and invested heavily into the Sony A7s (along with all the accessories, lenses, metabones adapter, movCam cage, etc). I really liked the camera and the features were a massive upgrade from my T2i (read my previous blog on “Less is More”).

Freelance video projects were slowing down and all I was working on was my street photography before I clocked into work. I told myself that spending $4,000 plus dollars to just take photos of strangers in public was not a smart financial move.

My friend recommended that I look into an Olympus camera. They’re much more afforable, the lenses are much cheaper as well. Their cameras are a lot lighter and compact, some of the cameras have a retro look (like the OMD-EM5ii, which I own). I sold all my Sony gear with the accessories to a friend, got in contact with someone on craigslist who was selling their olympus camera and a 25mm 1.8 lens (equivalent to 50mm) for just one fourth of my camera budget and I’ve been shooting with the same set up (sold the 25mm, only shoot with 17mm lens) for the past 2 years, and I love it.

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Liberation

First off, I don’t get paid by any camera company nor am I sponsored (maybe one day =]). I think any small compact camera makes it feel liberating when taking photos. Especially if its a point and shoot camera, no lenses to worry about. Less stress about focal length and don’t have to lug around different lenses and multiple camera bodies. The Olympus m5ii did just that for me, it allowed me to just focus on what’s important…and that is photographing what’s in front of you, catching the surreal, comical, interesting, strange moments without all the hassle of megapixels, lenses, and being Captain Obvious by letting everyone conspire that I’m part of the Hollywood paparazzi crew with my giant DSLR setup.

If you feel this way with your canon, Nikon, or any camera, I would recommend to try them all out before investing a good chunk of change into one system. I would prioritize the ergonomics of the camera and how it feels in your hand when you’re out shooting than putting specs and megapixels as the top priority. More pixels, more problems.

Plus now a days, you don’t need all those pixels unless you print your work. But if you just shoot and upload onto the internet, with most people viewing your photos on their smartphone, a full frame camera is overkill. Heck, an Iphone or Samsung is more than good enough.

Ask yourself, what am I going to do with this camera. How am I using this. Is it for work, for fun, for real estate shots, am I shooting sports, people in public settings, weddings…

I also love the color rendition that comes out of my Olympus M5ii than my previous camera bodies. It’s more richer and with more contrast which I prefer to have on my images.

More Pixels More Problems…

Cameras and other technology are very accessible now. you don’t need a high end camera to make good photos. In any subject of photography not just in street/candid photography, you’ll need to recognize and anticipate a moment. And that will come with time and experience. If you have a 20 megapixel camera and want to upgrade to a 42 megapixel camera, that won’t improve your eye or improve your instincts when you go out and shoot on the street, or in the field for a wedding or sporting event.

Recognize…Anticipate…Take the photo.

Thanks for reading. Keep shooting!

For more insights on digital cameras & DSLR’s visit the resources below!

Digital camera resource: https://www.reviews.com/digital-camera/
DSLR camera resource: https://www.reviews.com/digital-camera/dslr/

Lessons Stone Cold Steve Austin Can Teach You About Photography

I’m a big pro wrestling fan (WWE), ever since I could remember. My older brothers grew up watching wrestling dating back to HulkaMania era, to the Attitude Era, into the Ruthless Aggression Era, and now. I love the story telling through the physical athletic performance that these pro wrestlers put on (or how Vince wants us to say “Sports Entertainers). I love the story telling through the microphone, the drama they tell through their physical punishment (men’s soap opera). It’s also sentimental for me…when my dad moved over the states after the Vietnam war, he tuned into boxing matches of Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee movies, and wrestling, to learn English. Ali, Lee, and wrestling specifically Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes, all were a joy to watch and listen to whether you understood any English or not. They all had something in common…Charisma.

One of my favorite wrestlers growing up was Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was fun, had a don’t give a shit attitude, beer drinking, always came up with catchy phrases (What? Austin 3:16, Give Me a Hell Yeah!) and had lots of charisma. I appreciated him more when I researched how he got to the top of the ladder, perhaps becoming the biggest superstar of all time. Austin’s journey was not a smooth one but he kept pushing…here’s how we can apply it to our own photographic journey.

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Be Real

The Stone Cold persona would not have connected with the audience if Steve Austin himself didn’t insert a good portion of his personality into the character. What you saw on screen with Stone Cold, I’m sure that was how he was off screen or close to it (if not more credit to him for selling it so good). If Steve’s character were a clown or similar to Doink the Clown, I don’t think it would have worked. You need to be vested in the character and Steve did just that with the Stone Cold character, especially after getting fired from WCW (more on that later), Steve came into the WWE with a “I don’t give a damn” attitude that resonated with a lot of disobedient teenage fans. Whether it was going to work by being himself or not, he had a no lose mentality.

A lot of us fear of failing and pursue things with the intent of playing not to lose rather than playing to win. We need to photograph for ourselves and take risk, try new things, embed our character…our personality into our photos. What is our photos saying? What is it saying about society, or about yourself? Or is it just a photo of just people. A lot of this will take time and may organically evolve on it’s own as you keep shooting and studying the masters or photographers you greatly admire.

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Add Your Own Touch

Part of claiming your own unique style is adding your own touch. In photography, everything’s been done before, however, not everything has been captured through your eyes. Like in wrestling, every move has been done in the industry. Even Stone Cold’s infamous finisher, the “Stone Cold Stunner” (photo above) was used by some other wrestler (ECW’s Mickey Whipwreck). I would say Stone Cold’s version was a lot better even though its the same finish, his version had more impact behind it, and his opponents would most often sell the move a lot more (making the effects from the finisher look more dramatic, painful)..The Rock was the best at selling the stunner.

So if you’re preventing yourself from shooting the streets by thinking that you can’t be innovative…your wrong. Study the photographers you admire and why you enjoy their photographs. If you like Bruce Gilden’s up close, in your face style, then by all means try and shoot that way. Or maybe instead of shooting at a low angle, aim higher, fill the frame with 75% of their face instead of 100%. Aim your flash gun at a different angle, up your flash power, lower your flash power. Experiment! Experiment! Experiment! That’s the only way you’ll find what style of image caters and is unique to you (I don’t even have a unique style, I like everything!).

Evolve

Your photography should evolve for the best overtime. Your taste and in what you like or dislike on a photo will change over time. I started off shooting only in B&W simply because that’s what I thought street photography was. I look back at my old photos and really have a hard time viewing them. The B&W seems too force and artificially imposed without reason. I think B&W just like Color works on a photo if it helps with the image, if it helps elevate the content. Don’t just turn a photo B&W just cause, search for a reason within the image, find the reason, if your reason is “Well I think it looks better in B&W”, then it probably means that your photo is weak.

Your intentions will evolve overtime as well. When I started off I wanted to make badass photos like Vivian Maier who I highly admire. I wanted to make intimate portraits and captivate those special moments out in the public setting. Then a few years in (2010-2012) I asked myself “WTH am I doing”. I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to produce and capture those surreal moments but lacked reason behind it.

I got off my ass in 2015 and went shooting again. The same thoughts passed through my mind, fast forward today (2017) and I realize for me it’s not about capturing special moments that I enjoy most. It’s really just getting off my ass, taking a walk, burn some calories, absorb some vitamin d, appreciate the “NOW” moment, get away from my phone or social media and enjoy the day. Appreciate life. Getting good photos is the bonus, seeing the surreal, comical, interesting moments, is the bonus to all of it.

Steve Austin started off in WCW as part of the tag team, The Hollywood Blondes. He was a big brass athletic guy with long blonde hair. Very very talented and should have moved up the ranks if it wasn’t for backstage politics.

He got a call one day from his boss telling him that he was fired. Left unemployed, the lit a fire up Steve”s ass in which he used as motivation. Which brings me to my next point.

Have Something to Prove

Have a chip on your shoulder. Find it within you or Something that you may experience to give you that extra motivation. Prove people wrong but most importantly do it for yourself. Test yourself, test authority, break the rules…these will only lead you to be more innovative in your work.

Austin’s character was anti-authority, who didn’t give a damn about anything. It was refreshing to see instead of your usually good guy/bad guy, he was an anti-hero. Someone that we could relate to with our everyday lives, someone that we wanted to be like. Austin would give the Stunner to his boss (Vince McMahon) and they started feuding. The  story line worked, it was innovative, it resonated with the audience (I mean who doesn’t want to give their boss a Stone Cold Stunner). And the fans embraced it.

Sometimes you can’t be too forceful or even if you put all your eggs or marketing budget into one idea or basket it does not mean it’ll blossom. The best things happen in it’s purest form, evolves organically, and happens with reason. Continue to look up to your idols, your parents, teachers, super heroes, photographers, athletes, business entrepreneurs, and ask yourself what is it about them that I really admire, look into their story, and apply to your photographic journey and everyday lifestyle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Keep shooting,

Tim

Street Photography Tips (before heading out onto the streets)

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Hello aspiring street photographer. I’ve noticed there are so many blogs with tips on street photography while you’re already out shooting. Instead, let me share my experiences, (bias) opinion, and advice before you even hit up the streets.

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  1. Do your research

Research the location you’ll be shooting in. What’s the environment like? Is it a residential area? Low income, high income population? Tourist, locals, or both? Does the area have a reputation for being a rough part of town. These are questions you’ll need to ask yourself before heading to out. You’ll need to prepare yourself mentally if you know you’re going into an area where your chances of getting mugged or stink eye. Your social skills and how you communicate with others may play a higher factor in these areas. Being able to blend in with the community takes a certain person and specific skills.

Research the forecast of the day. Is it going to be sunny. Overcast, rainy, or all of the above. Mother nature can be unpredictable at times, so you may need to pack an umbrella or a sweater. The weather will affect your shooting for the day and how long you intend on staying out.

Research if there’s restaurants or bathrooms. If you’re out shooting for an entire day, I can assure you that you’ll need to use the restroom a few times, and you’ll want to take a break and grab a bite to re-energize.

If you’re going to shoot in a touristy area, there will probably be a lot of restaurants, hotels, and public parks with available restrooms. Now if you were shooting in a more residential area, public restrooms will probably be scarce and restaurants may be miles apart. ***You can always knock on someone’s door and ask if you can use their restroom and have a quick bite.

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2. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes

Whether you’ll only be out shooting for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, or 10 hours, it helps to have a nice pair of shoes. You don’t want your feet to slow you down or stress you out while you’re shooting. And you definitely don’t want soreness after your adventure.

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3. Eat

Similar to having comfortable shoes, you’ll have to have a meal before you head out. Sometimes the only available times I have to shoot within the week is during my lunch break. A lot of times I go hungry  (saving money, cut back on calories) before shooting which I highly don’t recommend. I’ve learned my lesson on many unsuccessful photowalks during my lunchbreak. HAVE A MEAL! Eat SOMETHING!

It’s like going to the gym on an empty stomach…you need food as a source of energy to carry you through the workout process or in this case photowalk. Also, you want to keep any stresses to a minimal when you’re out shooting.

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4. Forget about your daily duties and stresses

You don’t want to think about your chores, bills, debt, or what you need to finish up at work while on your photo-walk. Put those thoughts on  the side and just zone out. Be in the moment in your photo-walk location and absorb all that’s around you. Look up, look down, look down 20-30 feet and anticipate what’s to come. Street photography is my therapy or meditative tool to get away from my reality and create my own illusion through images.

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5. Last but not least…pack as lightly as possible

Stop bringing more than one camera (unless you’re traveling abroad). Do not bring more than one lens! Keep it simple. All the extra gear will weigh on you, having more options such as a wide lens, a tele-photo lens on hand doesn’t give you more options. It gives you more stress. You shoot street photography to be stress free right?

Again, these tips are from my own experience and my own opinion. I hope you found these tips insightful. Keep shooting.

Mahalo,
Tim