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Street photography and getting started.

You would think walking around taking photos of random people in the the streets where you live would be easy. Well for some photographers it is, but for the majority it can be a bitter sweet experience.

Just the thought of walking around the streets with their camera can be reason enough not do do it.

If you do not do this type of photography at least once, I feel you are missing out on a great experience and a chance to meet new people and collect great photographs in the process.

So what is Street Photography?

Some would say it is about capturing the moment that tells a story on some poor unsuspecting person that had no idea you took their image. Others would say it is about the interaction with people and places and trying to capture a moment in time, again trying to tell that story in your image. Walking around the streets looking at the architecture, shadows, lighting, the unusual, using what is around you to create imagery and not interacting with people at all.


There are lots of theories about what street photography is and I am sure everyone will tell you something different. But for me it is about getting out there and having fun.

For the majority of us it can be stressful and quite a challenge, especially if you are on your own and carrying an expensive camera in unfamiliar places and this results in images that we are never really happy with and an adventure we wish we had not taken.

Making Street Photography Fun

This is how I started to make what was a difficult task easier. I always liked the thought of taking so call street photography images but in the back of my mind there was the thought of being confronted by an angry individual asking why I was taking their picture, was always there.

To get around this I started going to a location where cameras are not an issue, places where everyone is carrying one and happily taking images. Going with a family member or friends and making it apart of my sightseeing day out worked well for me.

I found that street markets in London were great places to take images. The store operators were used to having their image taken, people photographing their food and the people walking around were used to seeing cameras.

Events and Carnivals are also good places to get the human interest story, this is still taking images on the street.
When taking images of people close up, just ask if that is OK nearly all will say yes and once you have taken their image do not just walk away, say thank you and show them what you have taken.

Many street photographers will have you believe that that amazing image was taken on the spur of the moment but they are usually staged with the subject’s permission and the image presented may not be the only image taken.

My take on getting started in Street Photography is, if you are new to it then treat it as part of your day out. If you work in or around a tourist area then take the camera to work and on your way in to work or at lunchtime and even the evening just go out and take image of the life going on around you.

Finally

Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if possible, respect people’s privacy and most of all make it fun.

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Stop The Selfie

As the holiday dates draw ever closer and I start thinking about the places I am going to visit and imagine the sights, the food and most of all what awaits for me to photograph.

My thoughts then drifted to our previous holidays and the people we saw with their long selfie sticks. Holding them high in the air with the phone balancing, just waiting for the moment when it was high enough to pop out of it’s holder and land face down on the floor with a crash followed by the screams of horror as their only means of communication had just turned into a piece of broken plastic and glass.

Its seems that social media has taken the place of those very boring photo albums we ( or those old enough to remember ) use to force our guests to wade through after the holiday. The only difference really is that we now can do this immediately with the press of a button and an internet connection.

We are capturing the moment, or that’s what we say, but what happens after the moment has passed and your up-loaded image is now so far down the list of other moments that no one actually sees it, unless they happen to follow you, in which case they will automatically press the like button and continue scrolling.

Above is the moment that would have been lost if the image from the phone was all you had.

Tony Lewis Photography.

So what do you have left? Maybe an out of focus image of yourself or a friend somewhere on a beach or in a bar and you too will forget about the moment and the images ends up in the cloud never to be seen again.

I have taken a few of these myself.

Why not try this the next time you are holding your selfie stick or just thinking about taking a random image… STOP…. look around at where you are, think about what you would like to remember about this moment, does it hold a memory you want to keep and frame or just rather see disappear into the cloud.

After all it has got to be better to have a photo you can look back on and share time and time again, rather than an image you are quite happy to forget.

Remember it’s not always about the equipment, composition or mega pixels but just about the thought that went into capturing the moment.

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Pet Portraits

Making memories

We often forget that our pets are an integral part of our family and that they are with us for only a short time. We take photos of our family, selfies for our social media, but do we take images of our pets or animals we care for. Your pet is important, especially if you have young children as they learn how to care and look after another living creature. Besides playing with them, they may tell their pets all their secrets or just use them for a hug when they are sad. There is nothing better than having a nicely framed image of your pet on the wall or table.

Focus on the eyes

Some people say that the eyes are the gateway to the soul, but in our case an out of focus eye is the difference between a great pet photograph and one that gets deleted. When photographing your companion, always focus on their eyes as this can make or break your photo. Set your camera to spot focusing and place the indicator on their eye, make sure you have a good depth of field so that their head is in focus, especially when taking the photo directly toward the front of the animal as their nose could be out of focus and could be a distraction.

However…
Those quiet times

Sometimes the best image is the one when your pet is quiet or at rest, because you will find that you can take your time in generating that great composition without your subject wanting to play or seek attention.

A good tip…
Be on their level

Make sure you are at their level when taking the image, Shooting from a higher position or standing will distort the image and make it look unnatural and less engaging. Whereas, bending down, kneeling or even laying on the floor can improve the image as the camera should be at their level. Remove any clutter or unnecessary objects from around and behind your pet, make sure there is enough light and if using a flash be extra careful not to aim it directly into their eyes.

What equipment should I use?

This depends on what you are going to use the image for. If using just for social media then maybe your phone is all you need, but for larger images then a DSLR is definitely the way to go. Using a DSLR will give you a sharper ,clearer image. The type of lens will determine the image you can take, from action shots to portraits.

For a sharper image

A higher shutter speed may be required for animals that are constantly moving, or if you are capturing your pet running or jumping.
An off-camera flash (Speed-lite) is essential for indoor or low light photos as the on-camera / popup flash gives you very little control and could hurt or damage your pets eyes if the camera is pointed directly at them.

You do not always have to plan to get the perfect image, just have your camera to hand. Whether out walking, playing or just chilling in your house there will always be an opportunity to take impromptu images of your pets.

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