10 Street Photography Memes

Ten street photography memes by yours truly.
1. When your street photography friend asks you for your opinion on one of their photos and you don’t know how to react

2. When you’re starting off in street photography and think you need to go out in disguised…

3. The street photography community when you mention Eric Kim and Bruce Gilden in the same sentence.

4. When you’re in the photography zone

5. When you think you got a good photo but no one on social media is liking or commenting on it

6. When you’re producing a street portrait and you kindly ask the subject for one last photo without saying one word

7. When you go on a street photography liking spree on facebook/instagram

8. The smile your face can’t help to make when you think you got a decisive moment type of photo

9. How you feel and eventually end up looking like when you don’t get anything for months

10. When you’re lusting over gearporn and having Gear acquisition Syndrome but you’re broke as fuck

 

Interview with Bangladesh Street Photographer Muhammad Imam Hasan

Muhammad thanks for your time. Can you start off by telling us a (brief) story on your background and how you first picked up a camera?

Thank you very much Tim for inviting me. I am from a conservative family, so art related activities were less practiced. When I was in high school I got a Yashika MF-2 from my Mama (maternal uncle) and I was fascinated to take family moments (candid). But unfortunately I lost that camera after a year and a half in. Soon after I always dreamed for a camera but I had no ability. After a long break when my wife got pregnant and was very near to delivery I had a strong desire to capture my daughter’s birth and bought a Sony compact camera and that was the start of my photographic journey. Gradually I discovered my deep interest about photography, specially in street photography. So far the journey has been very positive; I look forward in getting more deeper in this genre of photography. I completed basic and foundation course from photography school Pathshala of Dhaka.   

 

Which street photographer inspires you and why?

Somehow in street I feel comfortable with wide lens from beginning and you know Dhaka is a crowdy city, so there are multiple subjects in my most frames. So I started google about layer and found this picture of Master Alex Webb.

And begin to explore to his all photographs. Whenever I feel tired and lack of inspiration I open his book  Suffering of Light and feel energetic to explore street again.

You’ve accomplished a lot and also shoot a lot…what keeps you motivated?

I feel my deep interest to observe people’s activities from close proximity and freeze them in my frame and let it lives forever.

Congrats by the way on placing first for Streetfoto…How did you hear about winning and what was your thoughts?

Thank you very much Tim. I first heard the news from Faruque Islam; living in USA (He also awarded 1st prize in mobile category) and Shah Toufiqur Rahman Ovi from Dhaka at the same time. I was very much surprised and honored.

What’s one photograph you never get tired of looking at?

Again that will be my Inspiration Master Alex Webb’s Photograph.

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If you can go back to your wedding and hire one street photographer to document it, who would you hire and why?

Very interesting question. Now a days wedding photographers are damaging the beauty of marriage ceremony by interfering the smooth event of taking shoots by giving instruction frequently. I have no ability to hire an international Street Photographer for candid wedding photography. So I want to hire Ata Adnan from Bangladesh (https://www.facebook.com/reminiscencephotographyBD/).

 

You have many awesome photographs…my personal favorite of your’s is the hand grabbing the baby…could you talk about that image and share with us how you were able to capture that moment?

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From December 2015 to April 2016 we faced continuous bad weather in Dhaka. So I decided to shoot at Kamalapur Railway Station. I was using flash to overcome bad lighting. This shot was taken on 29th January 2016, I was walking along the train windows. I found this little kid inside the train and his father was drinking tea outside the train by keeping one of his hands over the window… it seems that he is grabbing his kid’s neck. As I would fire flash so I had only one chance.. set the camera in live view mode, decide my standing position to get perfect perspective and took shot from top. ( all things happened within few seconds)

Which contemporary photographer you really admire?

Tavepong Pratoomwong from Thailand. He is just brilliant.

https://www.facebook.com/tavepong.pratoomwong

It seems like India, Bangladesh, and Thailand are at the forefront of the street photography scene…what makes bangladesh unique place to shoot?

Thank you very much Tim again for keeping Bangladesh in List. It is very crowded here but people are very friendly so in that sense you will able to photograph very close. In Old Dhaka there is an ancient building and different ancient cultural activities within the close proximities. Old Dhaka is also known as a open market for different wholesale and such…it is a prime location for street photography.  I believe anyone would have a field day there.

How is Bangladesh differ from India as far as photography or are they similar?

All most same. In Bangladesh people are very friendly, actually little bit excess friendly though it’s bad for candid moments.. Otherwise they usually don’t get bother too much about someone with a camera. There are locals that will offer you food so that you can go about your day. Bangladeshi people could be poor but they are very guest friendly and rich in spirit.

Is there a favorite area in Dhaka you like to continuously revisit and shoot? Or do you just wonder wherever your heart desires?

I usually shoot in Old Dhaka during the holidays. But on other days I walk my nearest area and I believe a good photograph can happen in any place at any time. I try to carry camera all the time with me.

If you can have dinner with one street photographer past or present who would it be?

Magnum Photographer Bruce Gilden.  I love to see him work and learn such bravery to fire flash from such close distance.

 

You mostly shoot in color, although you do have some photos in black in white…how do you determine which photos you process or shoot in black and white?

Funny you ask. I always love to shoot and keep it in color. When I find there is strong elements in the captured frame. But if the surrounding colors are either distracting  or killing the main elements, only at that time I will convert to black and white. It depends.

 

Are your photos a reflection of your community, environment, of you personally, or all the above?

Nice question, my images are reflection of my soul and they represents me, my surroundings as well as my environment..

 

How would you want your photography to elevate to the next level?

I am always trying add more emotion and tension in my photographs. I think another experiment for me is to ‘travel the world’ or travel when I can rather.

Any short term or long term goals?

Short term goal would be to have a solo exhibition. Long term goal would be to publishing a book

Does shooting in Dhaka ever get stale for you? Or is there a lot happening where there’s always excitement?

Dhaka is a crowded place, specially Old Dhaka and lots of things happening there all time. Life happens on the streets!

My eyes become habituated with the scenario and activities and tough to get newer one. On the other side as I am exploring same places repeatedly I have to go deep and try to discover something new.

 

What’s the most famous Dhaka dish/meal?

Kacchi( Rice with Mutton) Fuchka, Jhal muri, Dhal puri, Alo puri, Matha, Bot, Kabab etc.

 

Is there a Bangladesh Street Collective?

Yes. Insight Collective (www.insight-collective.com)

Its started its journey from January 2015. Initially there was only 3 member ( Me, Md Enamul Kabir Roni and Faisal bin Rahman shuvo) . Recently 2 new member joined there (Shah Toufiqur Rahman Ovi and Sohail Bin Mohammad)

INSIGHT was formed not only for the showcase of our different approach towards daily life, but also to promote and spread the core idea of a particular genre (Street Photography) in Bangladesh

 

I hope to visit your country within the next two years…any advice to me as a traveler?

You are most welcome and eagerly waiting to be host. We Bangladeshi are very guest friendly… No need to be worry, just come and explore Bangladesh. Be sure it will be one of your memorable tours.

 

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My website: www.imam-hasan.com

Flickr: www.flickr.com/hasandocjimc

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hasandocjimc

How Does Photography Help You

Does photography help you in your everyday life? Yes? No? Maybe so?

YES

Let’s say it does…but how? Gives you something to keep your mind off of. Keeps you busy. Gives yourself a challenge and allows you to think outside the box. Let’s your creative instincts take over when you are surrounded by creative constraints (work, school, life in general).

NO

Let’s say photography doesn’t help you in daily life. Perhaps, you are adding too much pressure on yourself with your photography. You get frustrated and impatient when you go out and shoot and come back with nothing for days sometimes weeks or even months! You feel discouraged. You compare to other photographers, those that win awards, have a big social media following, travel the world, and make money through photography and wonder why you can’t do the same or have half the same fortune.

MAYBE SO?

Maybe so? You are bi-polar. Some days you feel inspired. And some days not. You really don’t know what to make about your photography and overall goal. Maybe there isn’t a goal to attain. You have no direction other than you think you’re pretty good at taking photos and some what enjoy.

Conclusion

I believe the best practice with your photography is to not add any pressure and just go out and shoot. It is really up to the person. For me allocating a time and schedule to shoot is just too stressful because for one if I don’t follow my routine I end up feeling like shit. It’s like working out at the gym, you have a routine to work out before work at 6am and if you don’t you feel like your entire day went to waste. Some people like to work off of a schedule and be structured…for me it doesn’t work. I work off of feeling and sometimes that feeling is not feeling inspired to go out and shoot.

You can’t force something. It’ll either happen or it won’t. Of course you need to put yourself out there and work hard don’t get me wrong. But if it’s something that doesn’t feel right then follow your gut. My other advice is to have the right perspective. Your attitude is a big contingency on all future events. Your outlook on life and how you carry yourself. Having goals has both the positives and negatives sides to them but with photography I think it is best to not apply any goals because photography should be something you do out of passion and fun. Once you add goals especially more than one it becomes a job and sooner or later you’ll end up hating it. Imagine you got sponsored by a camera company and then they started to dictate on how you should be photographing and what you should be photographing. Although the money and attention is nice, you lose your creative freedom and opportunity to be an individual.

All in all, have fun with your photography and keep learning.

5 Street Photography Cliche’s to Avoid Shooting

Over the past several years the popularity for “street photography” has sky rocketed. However, with camera’s more accessible as well as affordable, sharing photos on numerous platforms have never been easier. And with that there has been an influx of the same repeated type of photos. Here are 5 street photography cliche’s to avoid shooting.

People on their cell/mobile phones

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Making a photo of someone or a group of people on their cell phones is not interesting. It is over done and I’ve only seen a few that have worked really well and have been able to hold my attention. If it’s something you like then please don’t hesitate and take the shot. I envision all these photographs of people looking at their phones, taking selfies, are not appreciated today because it is the norm. It is what we’re used to seeing, we’ve become immune to it. But perhaps two maybe three decades from now it’ll be a pot of gold. Similar to photos taken in the 80s, people on subways reading the paper, it probably wasn’t appreciated then because it was the norm and boring. Now when you look at old photos of people on the subway or in a restaurant reading the paper, it’s almost looking at a piece of significant American history. A past time. So by all means, take the photo and document for future purposes, keep it stored for a few decades and bring them out. For now though, don’t post any of these anywhere online.

People walking in front of a billboard or graffiti wall

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Taking a photo of someone walking by a wall art or billboard does not make an interesting photo. Unless however, the juxtaposition is there but even then, the photo has to be pretty damn good! I would say shooting in front of a graffiti wall is a good start for beginners but for more intermediate or seasoned shooters, you should know that there are many photos of this kind produced. Unless you visualize something specific to walk by the billboard or graffiti wall, and you have superior patience, I would advise you to move along.

Homeless People

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People that start off shooting street, will most likely photograph homelessness. I will admit I fell victim to it. People that have no idea what street photography is think it’s about shooting homeless people, turning the photo into black and white, and cranking up the contrast along with the sharpness. For one, NO street photography is not about documenting homeless. If you find this subject matter interesting, then I highly suggest you make the subject matter…MATTER. There are current and past street photographers that were able to capture unique moments of homelessness. Their photos were quite intimate…the two photographers that come to mind are Suzanne Stein and Vivian Maier. Most vulnerable homeless photos I see circulating social media are boring…at best. Keep in mind, photography like any other art (music, film, painting, acting) is about story telling through the visual medium. What is it about the homeless person that you want to say? What’s the story in the frame? Every major city in the world has an influx of homeless….so yeah there’s nothing special here.

Puddle Reflections

No you can not reproduce or trump Henri Cartier Bresson’s iconic reflection photo. So just forget it and move along with the reflections, it’s way over done. Looking at the world through a puddle is not interesting anymore. If reflection puddle is your thing, add another element, look at the bigger scene and not only the puddle. VISUALIZE!

Traffic Signs

Having a photo of a “one way sign” pointing in one direction and a person walking the opposite direction is overly done. It’s not funny, there is no emotion behind it, and it’s just simply boring. I could go on but I won’t.

Conclusion

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We are all guilty of shooting these type of photos from time to time or at the very least photographed them when we first started out. I believe it is important to mature and grow out of these subjects, it’s almost a narrow way of looking at street photography. It’s okay to shoot what inspires you but eventually you would want to add something new to the street photography community and not repeat more boring photos. Photograph the world on how you see it, everyone sees differently, and everyone has their own view of this crazy world we all live in. Be original, experiment, but ultimately be authentic and shoot you!

Tim Huynh Contact Sheet Volume II: Red

Aloha Everyone,

One of my favorite photo’s from my own collection is RED. This series of photographs were taken in Tenderloin last year (2016) during  Jack Simon‘s workshop in San Francisco. Tenderloin is not a particular area you would typically roam around for street photos but surprisingly there was a block party so we went ahead and joined in.

As I was roaming around the area waiting for those interesting moments to happen, I for one did not notice the red wall. Probably at the time I was not as aware or experienced at seeing vibrant colors on the street as I am now. It wasn’t until I noticed how Jack and the other students were photographing the man in the red sweater that I went ahead and joined in. (You can watch here how I photographed RED at 5:45)

First, I love the vibrant red and how his sweater blended in with the red wall. The man’s hat, white sunglasses and the white graffiti on the wall pointing to the right makes it more interesting. I probably should have worked the scene until a lot more but at the time I didn’t know any better.

I feel photo eight is the best photo on the entire contact sheet. I like the simplicity of it with just him against the wall. The special moment in my opinion is when he opened his pizza box and bit into his pepperoni pizza…MORE RED COLORS!

Do you think I selected the right image? What would you have liked to see happen in the frame? How would you have shot it differently?

 

 

Tim Huynh Contact Sheet Volume 1: Legs!

Aloha Everyone,

I wanted to create a contact sheet to share with you folks on how I capture and process my images. This one titled “Legs” is one of three photos that will be published in this year’s World Street Photography 4 book (you can purchase book here).

I saw this giant advertising board at the new Waikiki International Market Place and it caught my attention because of how simple it was, a giant sexy leg of a woman (I assume) and the fact that it was in black and white. I knew I could create something out of this with a lot of mixed reactions of people walking by. This is when visualization and the use of imagination comes in handy when you are able to juxtapose or visualize what may come about. I usually don’t hang out in a particular area for more than 10 minutes, I don’t have the patience. Below are the contact sheets.

Contact sheet Legs 1

Contact sheet Legs 2

Contact sheet Legs 3

I didn’t get the overly dramatic moment that I had wanted to get. I was using flash so it helped draw attention to me as people were walking by and were curious as to what I was photographing. No person or animal was harmed in this event, there was no altercation, people kept on walking and didn’t say a word.

I chose photo #10 because that was the best reaction I got out of the 23 attempts. The couple did not make eye contact with me as I clicked the shutter which was good but also they seem more effected by the giant leg. It almost looks like the man is sort of closing his eyes or not trying to look at the giant leg that’s flashing the couple. The framing of attempt number 10 is the best too. I tried many variations as far as framing, shoot it with no foot, shoot it off to the side, eye level, play around with the actual heel hitting or aligning with someone’s head like in photo number 2. I tried as much as I could within my ten minute patient bar. I also think converting the photo into black and white helped elevate the images it almost looks like the couple blends in and are a part of the advertising display.

Well, if you guys think another attempt was a better shot or if I should have tried a different way to work the scene, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and keep shooting!

Color vs Black and White Photography

 

When I first started shooting street photography I thought my images needed to be in black and white. I discovered street photography through Vivian Maier which a lot of her iconic images are in black and white and whenever I would google search the term “street photography” most of the time black and white images would appear (HCB, Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, etc). Now that was in 2010. Street photography within the last decade or so has really been revolutionized, a big part of that is social media, it’s easier to share your work with the world. You don’t need to have photos exhibited at a physical location, plus having it online reaches more people (I still love the exhibit or festival component, more prestigious and it’s nice to see quality printed work displayed). Cameras are now accessible, you can get a pretty cheap point and shoot for $500 or so, or you can use your smartphone (Samsung S8 quality is awesome).

Going off topic, anyways, yeah so there’s black and white or color approach to making your photos. Now there’s no rules in photography but my own bias opinion is to stick with one or the other, try both and see which flavor resonates with you more, but ultimately try to stick with one for a particular project you are working on or body of work. I don’t think turning a photo black and white for the sake of the photo being black and white is a much of an argument. I rarely post process a photo to black and white unless I think it helps elevate the photo. Whether it adds to the story, elevates the image and the narrative then I will convert the photo to black and white (keep reading I’ll show an example soon).

I think if you want to challenge yourself, ask yourself “Why am I turning this photo black and white” or “why am I keeping this photo in color”. It’s not to put any barriers in your photography but more of a self reflection or to better understand your own photos or maybe to just better understand yourself. Why do you like color more than black and white or vice versa.

I think both color and black an white has it’s advantages. My opinion on black and white photos is that it has more soul, one less element (no-color) so there’s potentially less distraction and with that you can draw your viewer in closer to what you want them to focus on. If you’re starting off in street photography and your don’t have a lot of direction, I would suggest shooting in black and white or post processing in black and white. This way you have one less element to focus on or distract you from. Black and white photos tend to have more soul or nostalgic feel to it. Takes us back to a place and time. You are not worried about color combinations (Blue-Yellow, Red-Green, Red Yellow, etc), rather you are more concern about capturing raw emotion at a fraction of a section (facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, sad, happy, mad faces.

Black & White

I would say to make a very good black and white photo is hard, it’s its own art form. But to make a decent black and white photo is easy, the lighting, shadows, or primary subject can be “Okay” or nothing really has to align together and it may still work. The best black and white photographers “IMO” (Daido Maroyama, HCB, Bruce Gilden, Tatsyo Suzuki, Chris Suspect, Argus Paul-Estabrook) they either have a clean image all around the edges, it’s simple, or a lot of soul and emotion in there images, or all three.

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For instance, my photo above “Hair Extension” was shot in color and converted to black and white. I photographed this woman because of her unique Afro, (crazy hair catches my eye). There were no intentions or preconceived awareness of subtly aligning her hair with the tree in the background. It wasn’t until I uploaded the photo onto my computer then realized that it created a humorous moment for me. I recognized it in color but with the bushes of the tree being green I wouldn’t think the story in the image would fully portray itself. So in that instance, turning it to black and white in my opinion helped sor of elevate the narrative I wanted to get across.

Color

When I first learned about William Eggleston and his color work, it opened a new can of worms for me. It opened up my eyes that street photography doesn’t have to be in black and white, and doesn’t always need to be of people. Eggleston reinvented the wheel and reminded us that there are no rules in photography, just your own self-limitations. Then I discovered Martin Parr, Alex Webb, Jack Simon, Jesse Marlow, Harry Gruyaert, Constantine Manos, etc). There’s also photos I come across and think to myself “that would have been more effective in black and white” or “I wonder how this photo would look in color”.

For me I’ve found color to be more challenging (I like a challenge) and most importantly more fun to shoot. You got to consider all aspect of the environment you’re shooting in. The light, shadows, color, patterns, complimentary color patterns and how these elements effect your overall frame. There’s a sense of more excitement with color and you can play around with depth a lot more (check out Alex Webb’s work or Harry Gruyaert). You can use color to evoke a different expression or feeling, color takes into account of not just people but again…the environment. The little details in a color photo can help elevate the image too.

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My photo above is obviously vibrant with slight subject to the left with contrasting blue. It’s simple, no faces, there’s not a lot or if any “SOUL” but there is a mystery to it. And with mystery that alone can make us feel a certain way. In this case, had I converted this photo into black and white, it just wouldn’t work in my opinion. The vibrant and strong color of red is the obvious attention grabber but the blue hand and umbrella on the left is not only the perfect color to counteract the red, there’s perfect portion of blue in the frame. The colors is what makes this photo, it adds to the narrative in my opinion. There’s also not a lot of other distracting colors competing with the red and blue. It just so happens to be a red wall, a person walking by with a red umbrella, and a slight arm with a blue sleeve and blue umbrella. You can call it lucky or letting experience and instincts kick in…or all three to get the shot.

Conclusion

I notice color helps with humorous or more playful situation whereas black and white is more serious situations….and yes color can trigger an emotional sensory and can definitely enhance a mood if the main subject is the prominent hue in my opinion…color can also be distracting and take away focus if the colors aren’t prominent enough.

Experimenting with black and white, forms and shapes seem to work more effective that I’ve seen and create a timeless photo…playing with shapes and form with color is achievable but a lot hard to come by from my experience.

I don’t think one is better than the other, it’s just a different aesthetic. Personally, I currently enjoy shooting and post processing in color. I like the challenge and the extra element of color. One of my fall backs when I’m out on the street and not really coming across anything is being able to recognize vibrant colors which catches my attention immediately. Shoot what resonates with you and what you like. Who cares if color is popular thing to shoot or if black and white is more hip, just do what you appreciate and defend your work and purpose.

10 Reasons Why I love Shooting Street Photography

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1. Street Photography is a Challenge

Street photography is always a challenge. It requires skills such as timing, reaction, awareness, being able to anticipate, visualizing a scene, being brave, being sly, a little luck, and so many more to make a photo.

I always make the analogy that street photography is like fishing…some days you’ll catch a fish…but rarely you’ll catch the fish you want. Fishing requires a lot of patience and time too, just like with street photography, it takes time and patience to come across a scene on the streets and being at the right place at the right time. But once you finally see a scene you like and make a photo of it, it makes you appreciate everything that goes into street photography. The walking (sort of like a hunter on the streets), going on days, weeks, or even months without anything self satisfying.

If I were to make a good photo every time I went out, I would lose interest real quickly. I need to be challenged in everything that I do or else I get…bored.

2. Street Photography is my Creative Outlet

I was always a creative person. I just felt like I was another being from another planet. I always saw things in a real weird or strange way. Most of the time I would interpret things in a more comical sense because humor and laughter makes me feel good. So I try to find those moments when I’m out shooting.

My background is in Film/Video, I earned my Bachelor’s in Film at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I’ve always been intrigued with what art could do and in sharing stories through the lens. I don’t pursue any narration avenues anymore through film/video, it’s too stressful, you end up being more of a manager/baby sitter, especially when you have a low budget to produce films or when you’re working with a client (usually small local businesses) with little to no budget. It’s fun and a challenge to an extent but not as much as street photography.

Street photography is only up to you. How much you want to put in. It’s sort of like training at the gym to improve your health and physical physique. You can hire a trainer and have a training partner but ultimately your success and failure are based on you and you alone. In film/video there can be a lot of finger pointing, well the editor didn’t do a good job cutting this scene, the lighting was bad, the actors sucked…In street photography, nothing is staged, it’s happening in real time and in public setting. You can only blame yourself for not taking the picture, not having your camera settings correct, not being close or far enough, not editing properly, not studying other photographers, not improving one self, all of these is dependent on you.

3. Street Photography helps me Zone Out

Street photography helps me get my mind off the daily stresses….what is my family going to eat for dinner, when will i receive my rightfully deserved raise, work stuff, family stuff, the future, the past, friendships, the what if’s…our current state of our country, etc.

When I shoot, all those worries exit the door. If for some reason it doesn’t I can’t really focus on being in the moment and enjoy my photo walk and ends up being a waste of time.

4. I Enjoy Walking

I’ve always enjoyed walking as I’ve used the time to relax and meditate away from my stresses. I started walking at a young age 10 months old, my parents couldn’t afford a stroller so they made me walk everywhere. I used to walk a mile or two home all through grade school, so walking was never an issue for me. Plus it kept the body fat in check.

Nowadays, I take a walk when I can, I’ll walk on my hour lunch break with my camera. On the weekends, after work. This helps me get away from sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day or staring at my phone. If I don’t take a walk sometime within the day I get irritated and my body specifically my shoulders get real tight.

Making photos out on my walk is the bonus.

5. Street Photography helps me Appreciate the Moment

Being out and about allows me to appreciate my community, my environment, but also be aware and conscious of issues in my area (homelessness, traffic, people looking miserable because of their jobs, people glued to their phones, etc). Through my observation it helps me better understand people in their current state and also allows me to reflect on the past with the rapid changes in comparison to my own childhood.

6. I love Creating My Own Images

I love taking/making photos out in the public setting. I have something where I can call my own! I don’t work for anyone, have anyone to tell me get this or get that. I click the shutter when my eyes, heart, and soul feel something out in the streets. Once it’s capture, it can never be duplicated, it is unique to my own eyes and personal touch.

It’s very similar to remodeling your own home. From buying of the materials, getting your hands dirty all with a vision in mind. The simplicity of visualizing something that’s personal to you and making it become a reality is a great feeling. For photos, when you see that A-HA moment out in the streets and make an image out it, it’s sort of like an orgasimic feeling.

 

7. I Like to People Watch

I love to observe and see what other people do out in the public. How they act or react in certain situations. Observing how we’re all so similar but yet so far disconnected from one another. Observing how people interact in groups versus solo.

8. Street Photography is Fun

I wouldn’t continue doing street photography if it wasn’t fun. The day that I have no fun in it, is the day I’ll completely stop. I need to often remind myself that I shoot for myself and not to take this so seriously. Street photography is my medicine for stress (better than cigarettes).

9. Everyday is a New Opportunity

Everyday is a new day to conquer an opportunity in which is awaiting before us. Same applies in street photography, everyday is a new day. You can go to the same spot at the same exact time of day and you’ll always discover something new. It’ll always be different and therefore you’re money shot of an opportunity might just rain on you from the photo God’s. I shoot at the same spots time after time, I have yet to be bored or become lazy.

You don’t need to travel to a new place every year to make good photos. You can do it in your back yard or anywhere rather. That’s what makes street photography as unique as it is.

10. Keeps Me Inspired

Street photography keeps me inspired knowing that I’m documenting my surroundings, my community for the greater good of mankind. It helps me get through the day at work, it makes me have something to look forward to. I don’t shoot street to make money, I do it because it feels right, in my gut it feels good to go out and make photos.

Looking at other street photographer’s photos online and through books keep me moving. A lot of times I’m just amazed at what other people see and are able to capture, it blows me away. Creating nothing into something is very uplifting too, as we all try to do that in our everyday life through work, school, trying to make a $1 out of .15 cents.

 

I hope my 10 reasons on why I love to shoot street photography resonated with you. Ask yourself why you enjoy shooting street photography and this may lead to a bigger purpose with a more refined goal down the line.

Thanks for reading, keep shooting.

Tim

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