Posted on September 9, 2019
I realise that I am half way through an article of 10 tips for travel photography. It will get finished. One day… In the meantime I have just returned from a weekend in Mysore, a growing city in South India. While there I managed to undertake an early morning’s Street Photography in Mysore’s historic market place.
Mysore market reminded me of why I love colour. Flowers, fruit, colourful Saris and sun beaming through shade shelter. At 5.30am my photographic mind was on auto-pilot, and it was not till I arrived home and started to post process my images, that I realised the wonderful colour combinations that had been captured.
I love simplicity in photos. However, India is not a simple place to photograph. It is busy, hectic and full of life. One way to make sense of this craziness is to organise the frame into layers. This means making sure there are multiple focus points for the viewer to observe. To do this, crank up both the ISO and your fstop. Study the work of Alex Webb if you want to see how a master of photography approaches this method.
Up Close and Personal
Busy places are full of people. Hang around and interesting characters will start passing without giving you a second look. Looking bored can help. Another tip is to pretend to be studying the back of your camera, then take your photo from the hip. Often, just finding a place with good light and waiting for someone to walk into the frame will produce an image to be proud of.
If you find yourself by a busy market, don’t neglect to explore the surrounds, as this is often where the action is. I was fortunate to stumble upon a courtyard full of bananas. When you find yourself in a situation like this, milk it for all it’s worth. Often on a shoot you will only get an opportunity like this once or twice. I also thought it would look cool opening and ending this post with a fruity theme.
That is all for today folks. Next week I will finish my 10 tips for Travel Photography. Honest!
Take care and keep clicking, Chris
Posted on August 28, 2019
Everybody has a camera and can call themselves a photographer. Last year over a trillion photos were captured, that is a one with 12 zero’s on the end. If you can’t image just how large this number is, think of it in seconds. A trillion seconds is the same as 31 thousand years. Travel is also becoming cheaper and more people are escaping to exotic destinations than ever before. If everyone is a travel photographer, then what can you do to differentiate yourself, and give your images a professional touch?
Tell a Story of Place
Often more that one photo is required to tell a story of place. Look out for roadsigns and displays as well as people involved in day-to-day activities. If you have a travel zoom make sure you take a wide shot that includes the landscape, then zoom in to capture significant details. If you shoot with primes, don’t be afraid to change lenses, or use your feet to get the wider view!
Tell a Story of People
It is hard to think how a photographer could succeed in travel or street photography without some skill in capturing people. If time allows aim to get more than just a head shot. Hands, feet, wrinkles, muscles and lines all tell a story.
The Environmental Portrait
I was taught the environmental portrait by my friend Glenn Guy, who runs the wonderful website www.travelphotographyguru.com. I kicked and fought against this style of imagery, preferring the candid image. However, the style has slowly won me over. The environmental portrait is a collaborative image between the photographer and the subject. Permission must be sought from the subject for this photo. The image should capture the person in his or her environment (duh!), which could be work, home or play. As the photographer has gained permission, they can take a little more time over composition and light.
Composition and Light
Is there any genre of photography that cannot benefit from a stronger understanding of composition and light? Most successful photos will adhere to one guideline or another, even when you are trying to break the rules! When traveling take into account the time of day and the direction of the sun. Mornings and evenings are obviously the prime times for photography. However, the harsh shadows of mid-day can also create effective photos.
Capture the Vernacular
When traveling it is easy to focus on the major tourist attractions. Yet is is often the smaller, domestic buildings that tell a story with greater clarity. The vernacular deals with the functional, domestic architecture. These buildings will reflect the environment and cultures of a surrounding area. Weather will play an important role in the construction of these buildings, as well as the materials they are made from. In many countries religion will play an important part in the design of a house, look for symbols to ward off spirits, or shrines used for worship.
Well that is all today folks. It WILL be a 10 part tip sheet when I have written part 2. What can a say, life happens.
Take care and keep clicking, Chris
Posted on August 18, 2019
Recently I visited Lepakshi, just North of Bangalore. The light was mid-dayish, and not fantastic for the temple’s magnificent architecture. There was a group of very photogenic women singing their hearts out by the entrance of the temple, unfortunately they were camera shy. However, third time lucky! Monkeys surrounded the grounds and were very tame (to the point of pinching people’s bags and snacks). This monkey posed just long enough a portrait.
For those of you who are interested in such things… This image was edited in Lightroom, and flipped left to right so the monkey was looking to the right. I then colour graded it using On1 and added a film filter. The eyes were lightened and sharpened. Lastly, I added a slight vignette.
Now my regular Street Photography Group on Mewe will only accept images that feature a human element, and this does not count. However, these delightful creatures are soooo close to human I may get away with it!
Take care and keep clicking, Chris
If you are interested in joining the Street Photography Community (SPC) please use the link below.
Posted on August 15, 2019
Should I say or should I go?
I keep toying with this article, and I am not quite sure if it is completely finished or not. The internet is littered with pro and negative articles on Instagram at the moment. Anyway, here are a few of my thoughts. The images I have added are completely unrelated and come from a recent shoot in Phuket. Enjoy, feel free to comment…
Instagram is being re-branded and will now be known as ‘Instagram from Facebook’. As Instagram is already owned by Facebook, I see little changing with the platform. By now, most photographers will have realised that the stakes have changed when making a post, and the visibility of each image is determined by an ever-changing algorithm. Chasing likes, fake profiles and influencers are all bringing the topic of Instagram to the boiling point. The question is, should you remain with IG, or look for something new?
It is all about the adverts.
Silicon Valley is portrayed as an industry run by geeks in jeans, who want to make the world a better place. In reality, the internet is run by large corporations with the mindset of a tobacco merchant. The internet can be harmful and addictive, affecting sleep, relationships and self-perception. However, it is a great tool for advertising. The longer you are on Instagram, the more money the corporation makes. It is clearly in Instagram’s interest to increase its addictive qualities.
Your Time = Their Profits!
The Pros and Cons
I arrived late to Instagram, and my following is embarrassingly small. It takes a lot of effort to keep up with trending hashtags and to maintain a fresh and innovative feed. With the use of hashtags, groups such as National Geographic pick the best images to ‘feature’, if your photo is chosen by one of the popular pages, you can expect thousands of likes. Yet most of the time, it is these popular feeds you will be competing with. How do your photos stack up against a collection of images curated daily by a professional editor?
While It is hard to stand out on Instagram, it is high-quality feeds that make the platform worth viewing. As photographers, we can improve our own work, by viewing the best photos captured by other people. At the moment, Instagram remains one of the best places to do this.
There is a way fight against the addictive qualities of Instagram. I have recently deleted a host of social media applications from my phone. This has restricted the time I can spend on each platform, as I can only log on when I am at home on my desktop.
Secondly, I try to curate my feed. There is an incentive to follow thousands of people, in the hope that some of these will follow you back. However, it is impossible to actively engage with such a large community, and with a busy feed you often miss seeing the photos you are interested in. A well-curated feed consistently provides high-quality images, and takes a short amount of time to review. A smaller feed also provides greater opportunities for meaningful interaction, which is something that the algorithm (apparently) favours.
Instagram has its faults, but it is still the premier tool for connecting photographers. I am a remainer (but only just).
Take Care and Keep Clicking, Chris
Posted on July 31, 2019
Stunning locations, exotic food and beautiful people. What is there not to like about Travel Photography? Here are ten annoying things that face travel photographers. As always, please don’t take it too seriously! The photos accompanying this article come from a recent evenings photo shoot in Patong, Thailand.Read More
Posted on July 23, 2019
I have just completed a shoot where I was using the Sony A7iii in silent shutter mode (electronic shutter). Obviously, my choice to use this mode was to decrease my presence and create a little discretion. I was shooting at night, and the area was lit with multiple florescent and neon lights. This appears to be a sensor issue.
Posted on July 18, 2019
Pattaya is a paradise for Street Photography. Be prepared for a vampirish existence as this city comes awake at night. My favourite time of ‘day’ is between 2 – 5am. In the early morning hours clubs wind down and people spill out onto the streets, mingling with Buddhist Monks, hawkers, street food carts and cleaners mopping up the night’s mess. The photo below is my favourite image of the shoot, as it captures the spirit of what I was looking for.Read More