Three golden tips on street photography by Eric Kim

Jazz Hands

Yesterday, Eric Kim, one of my favourite international street photographers, published a list of 102 thing he learned about street photography. The three following ones are my favorites:

21. Post-processing your images digitally should never take more than a minute

Spend more time shooting rather than working on photoshop. Save your post-processing skills for your studio work. I used to spend too much time processing my pictures. I was straightening horizons, correcting perspectives, brushing away spots and glitches. Then I visited an exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresson and I realized that all the work I was putting on my pictures was totally worthless. The value of street photography is somewhere else. It’s out there, being at the right place, at the right time, shooting.

47. Always carry your camera with you everywhere you go. Everywhere

That’s why I decided to switch to a rangefinder (hybrid) camera and I bought myself the Fuji X100. I always have my camera with me and my Nikon D90+lens was definitely not handy enough. So it happened that I had to leave it at home sometimes. Guess what, every time that happened, a great picture was there, waiting for me. But I was not ready.

64. The best combo: one camera and one lens

Every time I went out shooting with more than one camera in the bag, I spent more time switching equipment rather than taking pictures. Same story when I took two or more lenses with me. Now I stick to one camera and one lens rule and the results are much better.

68. “Realize that most of your photographs are crap” – Charlie Kirk

Since I accepted this, I feel much better.

Improving my black and white workflow

I spent the last few days deeply inspecting my photographic workflow. I have a brand new preset for lightroom to process my BW pictures. My goal is to reduce the time spent in front of my computer, in order to spend much more time on the street with my camera.

I re-edited a few shots I published in the past, to have a clear comparison between my old preset and my new one.


OLDNEW
Lady with a Hat

OLDNEW
iPod

OLDNEW
Maybe

Have a look at the test set on Flickr and let me know if you like the change. Enjoy!

Amsterdam Street Photography Meetup

Today I had the pleasure to lead a workshop about street photography in Amsterdam. The meetup was organized by Irina from KGS Global.

Street Photography Meetup Amsterdam
Rain in Amsterdam

Let’s say that the weather was not on our side but we had some good fun.

I had the chance to share some of my tips on how to be creative, have fun and get some good picture to be proud about.

Creativity through constraints

Every time you feel a lack of creativity, give yourself a rule. Limits can help you to get creative, lern more and explore things that you would never try otherwise. For instance force yourself to shoot with a prime lens, or just use a specific focal length of your zoom lens. You can decide to spend the entire day at f2.8 or just shooting round objects.

Street Photography Meetup Amsterdam

Every time you narrow down your possibilities, you start to explore the niche and you will find new inspiration. Try out this trick, and let me know!

Forget your display

Even if you have a top camera, the LCD display sucks. I was really disappointed that even a super duper camera like the Leica M9-P had a pretty crappy display glued on their back. But why do we look at the display so often? To check our latest shot. We check the light, the colors, the composition, the exposure, etc etc. And then we take decisions. We decide to recompose the shot, to take another one, to try with another aperture, etc. So basically, we take decisions based on what we see on our display which, as mentioned before, is really bad in term of quality.

For this reason I strongly suggest to narrow down what the display is telling you: Shoot RAW and set your camera to BW. You will always be able to edit the pictures in full color but you visualize the picture in black and white. Then, if possible, put your histogram on.

This way you have all the information you need to take wise decisions for your next shot: composition and exposure. The only two things that you can really change straight away when you take pictures. Colors, white balance and contrast will be fixed later on your computer screen, that in the worst case scenario is at least a hundred times better in term of brightness and color balance.

Street Photography Meetup Amsterdam
shoot RAW + BW

Keep shooting

https://www.instagram.com/p/kzhaf/

Your camera is tougher than you think. Don’t worry about a few drops of water on it, you really need to get extremely wet to get troubles. Just take some plastic bags with you and keep on shooting even in the rain.

The full set of my pictures and the group pool are available on Flickr. Enjoy!

Shooting in the street – A day in Venice – part 1

Yesterday I spent the day in Venice with my friend Giorgio. Despite the fact that my hometown is just 150km far from one of the most amazing cities in the world, I hadn’t gone to Venice since I was a teenager.

The weather was not too bad, considering it was the second of january, it was freezing cold but not too rainy. It was cloudy, therefore the light was perfect for taking portraits in the narrow streets of the city center, and so I did.

I planned to use only two setups: Nikon D90+85mm f1.8 MF for close-ups and Fujifilm Finepix X100 for wider shots. I also had my Nikkor 50mm f1.4G with me, you know, just in case…

forget the gear and be flexible

The main trap when you have two cameras/setup or many lenses with you is to adapt your setup to the surroundings. It’s ok if you are shooting landscapes or nature. You put on your wide lens for a gorgeous sunset or you go telephoto for details. Same story if you are shooting with a model. You have time to adapt your gear to the light and the subject.

After the first hour I realized that I was spending too much time thinking about which camera was fitting the scene, rather than clicking the shutter to catch the moment. So I decided to apply a simple timeboxing rule: 30 minutes with a camera, 30 minutes with the other camera, adapting myself to the gear and not the opposite.

The result was much better. I took amazing portraits and great landscapes because I was focusing on how to deliver the best shot with the camera I was holding, rather than switching from one camera to the other.

Here three shots, with different setups, but with the same spirit.


Venezia
Nikon D90 - 50mm - ISO 400 - f2.8 - 1/250

Venezia
Nikon D90 - 85mm - ISO 400 - f2.8 - 1/250

Venezia
Fujifilm Finepix X100 - 23mm - ISO 800 - f4.0 - 1/280

The full set of pictures is available on Flickr and stay tuned because more stuff is coming!

Feedback is more than welcome, leave a comment or share this blogpost if you like.

How important are rules in Photography? Hipstamatic vs Instagram – The Sartonialist Podcast

This week on my podcast I talk about rules and photography with Teymur Madjderey @icedsoul. We also discuss about Hipstamatic and Instagram, traditional photography and MForMurder. I also picked a name for the podcast: “The Sartonialist”. Not sure I will keep it, but let’s see…

Enjoy!

Shodan – my first photo exhibition

After more than two months of work, tonight I will open my first photo exhibition: Shodan.

I didn’t blog too much about it because I was really busy unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, designing cards and flows. But definitely I will find a way to describe the overwhelming spirit of an exhibition, going from the digital form of my pictures to the real and concrete sharpness of the aluminium prints worth to be told.

 

If you want to follow the social stream, here you are:

As usual your feedback is more than welcome and the comment section of this blog is always there, waiting for your contribution.

Nikon D90 vs Fuji X100

I spent a few days in Cologne at Teymur‘s place and I fell in love with a new camera: Fujifilm X100 limited edition. So I decided, after a few hours out taking pictures in the street, to come up with this blogpost with the purpose to summarize my fresh experience with this new camera, compared with my trusty Nikon D90. There are many other blogpost about the X100 out there, so if you are interested specifically on that camera I strongly suggest you to have a look at the full review on DPReview and definitely at the complete review by Zack Arias.

Always with me

I always carry a camera with me, and when I say always I mean every single time I go out. Carrying a DSLR is not easy, even considering that my D90 is not a huge monster like a D3S. I don’t even use the additional battery grip, but it’s really tiring to hang around with such a camera all the time.
I wanted to find a camera much more handy to carry around and with the Fuji X100 I think I achieved my goal.

Prime lens

My D90 is always equipped with a wide prime lens during the day, like my 20mm f2.8, and a 50mm f1.4 at night; considering that the ISO performance of this 3 years old sensor are not so extraordinary, having a fast lens when it gets dark it’s very convenient. I definitely love prime lenses and I’m well use to them, so I don’t miss any zoom capability in my X100. It’s equipped with a 23mm f2.0 that becomes a nice 35mm equivalent in full format. The perfect lens for street photography.

Limited Edition

The X100 is beautiful by itself but I wanted to get spoiled a bit more and I bought the Limited Edition that comes in a gorgeous black wooden box, complete with it’s external flash and with a super nice leather pouch that gives the camera an additional retro kick. It’s really wonderful looking to carry around.

Let’s compare pictures

I dare you to guess which pictures are from the D90 and which are from the X100.

CologneCologne

CologneCologne

CologneCologne

You can find more comparison shots on my flickr set.

While I was struggling between my D90 and the X100, Teymur was having the same problem between the Nikon D3S and the Leica M9-P. So we decided to film some footage during our tests and this is the result, enjoy!

Postcards from Italy

I’m spending two weeks of vacation back in Ravenna, Italy, my hometown. I decided to spend my holidays here because during the last few months I travelled a lot, and once I’ll be back in Vienna my non-stop-travelling will start again. The plan was to come here, relax and spend some days with my family that I hadn’t seen for a pretty long time.

Being here on holiday is giving me the opportunity to see this city with a new peace of mind and the same streets I used to walk on during my childhood are completely different now through the glass of my camera. I’m unexpectedly surprised by the beauty of this place.

These are the postcards about my new experience, enjoy.

Another three pictures from San Francisco

I really love to take pictures in San Francisco. Here another selection of three pictures i took during the last days. I met so many people and so many things are happened that I will need weeks to wrap up all my ideas and describe the awesome experience in this city. In the meanwhile enjoy the visual part of my exciting adventure.

Trolley

Trolley
Enjoy the full size pic on my flashblog

Take-off

Alcatraz
Enjoy the full size pic on my flashblog

Ride

Ride
Enjoy the full size pic on my flashblog