Monday, 8 July 2013

Street Photography Cheat Sheet For Your Travels

Street Photography Cheat Sheet For Your Travels

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Street Photography Cheat Sheet For Your Travels

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 04:31 PM PDT

If you are new to street photography, or even if you're not, remembering settings, nailing the composition, getting idea inspirations, and just getting motivated to get over the fear of doing it can feel daunting. To help make it easier, here’s a cheat sheet full of reminders and setting information to print and take with you, whether you're traveling or just exploring your hometown.

"Bike Messenger NYC" captured by James Maher.

“Bike Messenger NYC” captured by James Maher.

What To Look For

  • Tell stories – Find details that hint at a larger meaning.
  • Emotion – When capturing people, seek out expressive faces, hands, and postures.  Also, try to capture images that will invoke a feeling in the viewer.
  • Think about how a photograph will age.  That storefront window or outfit may seem standard now, but could become much more interesting in 20 years.
  • Make photo essays about areas or ideas that you know well.
  • Capture unique people.  Everyone you see is unique in some way. Figure out why and try to capture that.
  • Don't only photograph people.  Capture interesting scenes that say something.
  • Street portraiture.  Find an interesting background and then stop an interesting person for a portrait in front of it.

Design and Composition

  • Quality and Direction of Light
    -Seek out interesting and dynamic light.  Is the main light source in front of you, behind you, above you?
  • Colors
    -Seek out scenes with interesting colors that complement each other.
  • Lines.
    -Are your lines straight?
    -Diagonal Lines can add energy and can lead a viewers eyes into a scene.
    -How will the eyes move around through the scene
  • Corners.
    -What is in each corner of the image? Corners play a large part in creating balance.
  • Create relationships between two or more people or things.
  • Balance.
    -Does your photo feel balanced? Is that necessary?
"Untitled" captured by Chua Chwee Lye. (Click image to see more from Chua Chwee Lye.)

“Untitled” captured by Chua Chwee Lye. (Click image to see more from Chua Chwee Lye.)


  • Notice people from further away.
    - This will give you more time to get in position and create a good composition.
  • Go someplace crowded.
    - If you are especially nervous, crowded areas are the easiest places to try street photography.
  • Choose a spot and wait for people to come to you.
    - Choose an interesting background or area ahead of time and wait for people to enter it.
  • Use exposure compensation.  It's the fastest way to brighten or darken a scene.
  • Don’t walk too fast.
    - It is nearly impossible to observe, walk fast, and capture things all at the same time.
  • Patience.
    - Waiting an extra couple of minutes can be the difference between a mediocre image and a once in a lifetime photograph.
  • Smile!
    - If someone notices you taking their picture, smile at them.  You will be surprised how often they will smile back.
"Untitled" captured by Yasser Zohdy. (Click image to see more from Yasser Zohdy.)

“Untitled” captured by Yasser Zohdy. (Click image to see more from Yasser Zohdy.)


To achieve maximum sharpness:

  • Shutter Speed
    -Scenes without moving people or objects: 1/focal length (i.e. with a 50mm lens, at minimum, you would want to be at least at 1/50th of a second.)
    Scenes with moving people or objects: 1/320th ideal (1/160th minimum).
  • Aperture
    -Use a small aperture (large number) for a larger range of sharpness (large depth of field).
    -Using F16 will give you significantly more depth of field than F5.6.
  • High ISO
    -Using a higher ISO (800/1600/3200 depending on lighting conditions) can allow you to use a faster shutter speed and larger aperture.
  • Use a Wide-Angle or Normal Lens (28, 35 or 50mm)
    -The wider the focal length the greater the depth of field.
  • Zone Focus (pre-focusing / hyperfocal distance)
    -Turn your camera to manual focusing, set the distance to 10 feet away (or the distance you prefer) with a small aperture, and capture people when they are that distance from your camera.  Takes practice to do well.

There are a few other considerations you may want to keep in mind such as setting your camera on shutter priority mode.  Manual is good for consistent lighting situations, but is tough to alter constantly in changing light environments. Also, remember that blur isn’t necessarily bad.  Photograph moving people at slower shutter speeds – 1/40th to 1/60th – to create a slight blur.  It can look fantastic, especially in black and white.

For Further Training on Street Photography:

James Maher authored this popular 141 page eBook covering everything about the genre even down to specific post processing techniques that can bring the best out of street scenes. We were able to arrange a 25% discount which ends in a few days. Simply use the code picturecorrect at checkout.

It can be found here: Essentials of Street Photography Guide

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

What Are the Chances of Capturing Fireworks & Lightning in the Same Shot?

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:46 PM PDT

If you’ve dabbled in photography, you know how hard it is to get the perfect shot. Sure, you’ve read tutorials, carefully researched equipment upgrades, practiced and prepared. Nevertheless, luck is still crucial for capturing a magic moment.

For special situations, like lightning or fireworks, lady luck plays a bigger role in getting a decent shot. How do you know when lightning will strike?  Or where the next firework will explode?

So imagine the excitement photographer Jason Smith felt after capturing these two elusive subjects together in a single exposure:

lightning and fireworks photographed together.

Once in a lifetime shot of lightning and fireworks (click to see larger size, imgur)

This shot is explosively good and electrifyingly inspiring! (Pun intended) What are the chances, really?

There are many elements that make this photo great. The bolt of lightning and firework are cleanly captured and perfectly overlaid. The composition of the shot is excellent too. The silhouette of the trees in the foreground hug the sphere of the firework. Together with fade to black above, the framing is ideal.

It’s a once in a lifetime shot that even the photographer admitted to in adding this caption to the photo:

“One of the best pictures I will ever take…”

Indeed, the photo inspires awe. It’s a lesson to all photographers that sometimes it pays to stay up all night. Who knows, you might get lucky.

For further training here are some fireworks photography tips and how to photograph lightning.

Go to full article: What Are the Chances of Capturing Fireworks & Lightning in the Same Shot?

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Photography Project: Clouds Indoors

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 01:25 PM PDT

Dutch artist, Berndnaut Smilde, has created a new project in which he takes an element from the natural outside world and introduces it to the artificial inside world. His subject: the cloud. Smilde is interested in capturing the temporary form of the cloud outside of its natural context to exaggerate its being (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):

“I’m really interested in work that exists in between reality and representation in a way that it doesn’t really function in the end. So as for the clouds their just there, they’re building up but at the same time they’re falling apart.”

Though his cloud making may be something new, pairing subjects with uncommon backgrounds is not. The juxtaposition between the two can emphasize the subject, background, or both. These contrasting subject/background scenes can come in many forms. Here are a few:

  • Color and Black & White - Whether it’s a colored subject against a B&W background, or simply one color against another color, different shades, hues, and saturations can set your subject and background apart. The color wheel is often used in art photography for this purpose. Complementary, supplementary, and triadic color schemes can be a useful tool in creating an image.
  • Smooth and Textured - Placing these opposites against each other can set them apart dynamically. This is often used in portraiture when a photographer will place their subject against a solid colored background or very textured background, such as a barn with paint peeling off.
  • Busy and Empty - Perhaps for this one it would be easier to say negative space. To accentuate a subject, photographers will often surround that subject with a great deal of negative space. Negative space can be a clear blue sky, a solid white wall, or anything that’s mostly plain and homogeneous. Since there’s nothing much to look at in the negative space, the viewer focuses on the subject.
  • Light and Dark - This is another one that’s used a lot. Bright objects will attract the viewer’s attention first while dark objects will often be glanced over or looked at later. Even if the subject is prominent in the photo, if there is a bright spot in the background, it will distract from the main subject.
creating clouds indoors

Cloud created from a remote smoke machine

Go to full article: Photography Project: Clouds Indoors

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Make Your Own Light Panel for Portrait Photography

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 11:53 AM PDT

Let's face it, lighting equipment can be pretty expensive once you add up all the power supplies, light stands, light modifiers, power packs, slaves and whatnot. This is where DIY and nice guys like Kevin Kubota come in. The video below explains how to make your own lighting scrims inexpensively with a quick trip to the hardware and fabric store (for those of you reading this by email, the tutorial video can be seen here):

Light panels are great for diffusing light both indoors and outdoors. Position it outside to maximize the effect of sunlight of your subject, or use it with a speedlight for a soft window light effect.

What You'll Need:

(3) 10-foot sections ¾" PVC Pipes
(4) Elbow ¾"
(2) T-fittings ¾"
White ripstop nylon 60" by 2 yards
Elastic cord ¼" by 10 feet


Small hacksaw
Marker pen
Tape measure
Instant glue
Sewing machine

Step 1:

Measure the pieces and cut the PVC pipe. Divide one 10-foot PVC pipe, into two 34-inch sections and one 36 1/2 –inch section. This makes half of the frame.

DIY light panel

Step 2:

Lay out all the pieces so that you'll have a general idea of what everything will look like once assembled.

light scrim DIY

Step 3:

Glue one side of the pipe to the T-fittings to make it easier to dismantle. Mark which sides to pull apart.

marked pvc pipe

Step 4:

Run the elastic cord through all the pieces to help hold it together.

elastic through pvc pipes

Step 5:

Stitch/sew the elastic pieces onto the corners of the nylon fabric.

elastic on nylon fabric

Step 6:

Set it up!

soft window lighting portrait

Go to full article: How to Make Your Own Light Panel for Portrait Photography

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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