Night Time Street Photography

With winter bringing daylight hours down I have found myself shooting more at night. Shooting at night is quite unusual for me and once more, variation raises its head and kicks consistencies arse. Here are some ramblings about what I found. Some of this may help you become a better Street Photographer.

Technical Stuff
Firstly, I have started to get to know my camera better. I need to locate and adjust the ISO and aperture with the camera to my eye. This practice is making me a better photographer, changing the settings becomes more fluid, making the camera a conduit between myself and my subject matter.

Read any ‘guide’ to shooting at night and you will soon realise you are going to be using those high ISO numbers. This is true, but what is also not discussed so often is the spot metering mode. Using this mode, you can frame your shot and expose for the highlights. Everything in the shadows will appear in a dark and mysterious light, but the source of light will not overly dominate the shot.

Back button framing is often referred to as back button focusing and is useful for the above. Most cameras are set up to focus and measure the light when using the back button. However, if you delve into the menu you will find you can set it just to measure light. Learn to use this button.

With high ISO’s noise becomes a problem. Noise can look quite good with B&W, but I am trying to be more consistent with my use of colour. I currently use Macphun Denoise and have just downloaded a trial of Topaz Denoise. So far I prefer Macphun, it is easier to use and appears to produce superior results.

Lastly on the technical side. I get to use my Nikor 35mm 1.8lens. Kit lenses can be cheap and effective, but not at night. Get yourself a prime.

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Smoke and Light

Locations
Alleyways are my favourite places to shoot, however, the grittier ones are off limits at night as there is just no light. Secondly, they can be quite scary! However, around these alleys there are still street food vendors, they are brightly lit with bare lightbulbs and have some flames, smoke and steam creating interest.

Shops are a pretty poor subjects during the day. How many times have you seen an interesting subject in a shop window, taken the photo and found you have taken a picture of your reflection?

City centers are always awash with light, but I have avoided going to them so far. I like the outskirts, what can I say? This is something on the planned but not promised list.

Timing
Shooting at night doubles the amount of time you can shoot street photography. It is an area of Street Photography I advocate everybody try.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

Street Photography Resolutions, 2017

Another year over! I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah or whatever floats your boat. It’s now time to look towards next year and think about Street Photography resolutions for 2017.

Here are mine.

1. Stick to one camera. OK, this is a thinly veiled excuse for purchasing new gear. Time to say goodbye to my Nikon D7100, it is just too heavy for Street Photography. However…

 
2. FujiFilm X-T2. This camera looks awesome. I will purchase one when they come down in price

 
3. Stick to colour. I like colour and the world is a colourful place.

pagespics-1-of-1-2Rocking this pink dressing gown, it would not be the same in Black and White!
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PagesPics Street Photography Basics

Part 3 of a 3 part series:  What to do with your street photography.

OK, this is my third article so you should be getting to know me by now, I will lead with a rare photo of me and the beautiful Faye Page, shot taken by the talented artist Zakea Page.

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Now I have advised you on what camera to get and told you how to take a photo (summary – get closer, use a wide angle). In case you missed them, here are the links to part 1 and part 2 of this three-part series.

So, now you have followed my advise and got a hard drive full of excellent photos, what do you do with them? Here are ten ideas.

1. Get your photos critiqued. Have someone tell you if they are any good. The best place for advise is over at the Arcanum. You will become a better photographer, I promise.

2. Post them online. Here I am going to promote Street Photographers. It is a g+ website which I help moderate, and there is a section for critique.

3. Email your shots to me, I will post a critique here! So, yeah, critique has made it into the first three most important things to do with your photos. Ignore at your peril!

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I was really happy with this photo, but when it was critiqued friends were concerned the background was too shiny and distracting. Using masking tools in Lightroom I dulled the background considerably, making the girl pop out in the foreground of the picture.

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Pagespics Street Photography Basics

Part 2 of a 3 part series:  Framing your Street Photography

OK, you have the camera. If not then look at part one of this series, ‘Street Photography Basics: The Camera’. Now it’s time to take some shots. Here is a secret…

Framing does not matter. What’s in the frame counts.

Here are some recent pictures that I think have an interesting subjects. I will talk more about the framing later.pagespics-1-of-1-2

This was a girl on the way to school. I think there is a good story here. Although the shot of her face is fairly close up, the strap of her school bag tells us a little more. The Chinese script in the background places her location. Read More

Street Photography Basics. The Camera.

This is part of a three part series on how to start Street Photography…

Good Street Photography is difficult. I have recently read an article whereby a very experienced photographer stated that 99% of all Street Photographs are crap. He may have been more blunt…

This article may help you enter the exciting world of street photography. Let’s start with the basics.

  1. The Camera

It is not important. This is the thing that many new photographers stress out about. You are not alone, experienced photographers also obsess about gear – and this includes me. Here is the truth, the camera is the least of your worries. There are many great websites showcasing some awesome photography, go look at them and I defy you to spot the difference between a shot taken with an iphone or a high end professional DSLR.

These photos were taken with three different cameras of mine, a Nikon D7100, a Ricoh Grii and an old film camera. Can you tell which is which?

  1. The Camera

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Trump and Street Photography

What has Trump got to do with street photography? Good question, glad you asked.

Warning – this gets political and a little heavy. Pretty pictures at the end if you just want to skip to that bit!

I have just returned from a week spent in a small rural school outside of Beijing. While there I worked with colleagues and local teachers as part of a charity organisation linked to where I work. Not surprisingly, I took my camera and managed to get a few sneaky shots. On my return to Shanghai I found out that Trump won the election and I felt the world had shifted.

pagespics-1-of-1-12Schoolboy, Beijing, 2016

Photography – I will get there, hang in on this…. Read More

A personal post…

It has been a while since my last blog, but here I am. I have recently been inspired by a wonderful blog @ jtinseoul. As always, if I name it, click on it, it will take you somewhere nice. This post is slightly different and may bore my friends to tears, feel free to skip it.

jtinseoul’s blog was very heartfelt, he speaks about the emotions that go with taking photographs. This links closely to what Trey Ratcliff speaks about when he talks of the artist’s journey. Read More

What is Street Photography?

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.

Bruce Gilden

Number 1. You have to have a person in a photo to make it a street photograph.

I often post my pictures on the google+ site Street Photographers. It is a great site, but insists that there must be a strong human element in the shot. However, I think there are many elements that fall into the area of ‘street’.

street-photography-1-of-1-8Nothing says ‘street’ more than a row of parked-up bicycles.

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Ten Shots to Shoot…

…or the importance of a shot list.

One thing that can have a positive impact on your street photography is a shot list. Know what you are looking for. Here are 10 things I keep on my list.

  1. Wrinkly faces and plain backgrounds
  2. Prostitutes
  3. Angry animals (but they have to be looking at the camera!)
  4. Street food stalls
  5. Small bits of people in negative space
  6. Bikes and people on them (preferably overloaded)
  7. People passing me, shot at a slow shutter speed
  8. Smokers
  9. Alleyways ending and people passing.
  10. Shadows and reflections

Here are some examples. Have fun and keep clicking!

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Use negative space to make an impact.

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Be careful shooting operations which are obviously dodgy. Be very discrete!

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Make sure animals look at the camera for maximum effect.

The Shanghai Photography Exhibition

robert-capa-spectators-at-longchamp-racecourse-parisPhotograph by Robert Capa, Spectators at Longchamp Racecourse.

This photo was used for the promotional material for the exhibition. Robert Capa was one of the founding members of Magnum Photography.

Three Photographers I learnt from at the Shanghai Photography Exhibition

This weekend Shanghai hosted the World Photography Exhibition. This was a wonderful place for inspiration with lots of idea’s to borrow and steal. There were also a wonderful array of photos to purchase, if you happen to be extremely rich! Read More