Michael Rammell

Giveaways & Competitions

Win an OM-D E-M1ii and 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens With Olympus Magazine

Audio, Giveaways & Competitions, Olympus, PhotographyMichael RammellComment

I'm very humbled and grateful to have been asked to write another feature for the Olympus Magazine, particularly in this, the 50th Edition! As always, the magazine is bursting with features, including my contribution for '5 Of the Best'. Best of all, though, in this edition, you could be in with a shout of winning an Olympus OM-D E-M1ii + M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO. How about that for a giveaway!

Want to listen to this post instead of reading? Great! You have 3 options:

  1. Head on over to iTunes, Subscribe, Leave some feedback and a review
  2. Don't like Apple? Then check out the Stitcher Radio Podcast App!
  3. Listen right here on the blog: Click play below on the audio player. 

In my '5 of the best' feature, Olympus wanted me to share some of my thoughts on what it takes to be a wedding photographer as well as sharing my experiences in shooting with the Olympus range of cameras (hint: I love 'em! But you already knew that). I give a run-through of some of my kit and some tips on marketing and relationship building. So if you're thinking of getting started in wedding photography, this could well be the article for you.

The article features a picture of a rather chubby looking me too (of all the images OlympusUK had to choose from eh! ;) ) so if you want a laugh, be sure to stop by and take a look and have a read.

Oh, and whilst you're there why not enter the competition to win your own Olympus OM-D E-M1ii + M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

The UK Photography Show - March 18th - March 21st

This weekend (Saturday 18th to Tuesday 21st is) the UK Photography Show, the UK's largest Photography trade event. I will be there, of course. I'm heading up on the Tuesday to see David Alan-Harvey give his talk on the superstage. I'm excited about that! I will otherwise be having a mooch around the Olympus stand and the Guild of Photgraphers booth and getting my cameras cleaned for free :). I'll also be there to catch up with my good friend and fellow photographer Paul Griffiths. We'll be doing some blogging and vlogging.

It's become very much a social event too since it's inception. This will be the 4th time I've been to the show, missing a year.

If you want to meet up though and discuss photography, cameras or even cycling, then get in touch with me today by email: Michael@RammellPhotography.com. Or, use the contact form if you prefer

London Photo Walk - April 30th

Lastly, I just wanted to remind you that my totally FREE London photowalk is taking place this year on April 30th, starting out in Carnaby Street. Sign up now to make sure I have your details so that I can keep you posted about any possible changes to the plan or itinerary.

There isn't a limit to the number of people that can attend as it's a public place, however I would just ask that you register so I can contact you should I need to. You can register right here on the site 

On that note, I have had a few emails from people who have signed up asking when they would receive confirmation of their place on the photo walk. Well, if that's you and you've signed up and you're wondering if your place is secured - then yes! You're coming. Just turn up at the meeting place on the day and say hi, just so we don't leave you behind. Again, details on how to register, the route and the meeting place can all be found over on the events page

The Camera Aspects Show

Lastly, in my quest to produce as much content as time will allow me, I've joined forces with my good friend Paul Griffiths to get a project off the ground that we've been discussing for the best part of 18 months now. 'The Camera Aspects Show' is now live.

CameraAspects.com

If you're thinking you may have heard the name Paul Griffiths before, it's likely you've come across Pauls show and blog: Photography Live & Uncut

The idea behind the show is that Paul and I will meet on a weekly basis to discuss all things photography, from gear to business and everything in between. We'll be recording the episodes live on location in London, using the various bars and restaurants that we like. We've already recorded and posted episode 1 up online to YouTube. The audio version will also be available shortly through iTunes and Stitcher Radio too.

Don't worry though folks, the Camera Aspects Show doesn't mean that this blog is ending, it's just another feather in my cap.

Otherwise, that's all for now. Be sure to head on over to iTunes and Stitcher and subscribe, just search for my name 'Michael Rammell' or use the links right here in the post. Oh, and please do check out my YouTube channel too. I've finally got that into a decent shape and I'm posting VLOG's every couple of days, so if you want to know more about me and what I'm up to regularly, check out that channel:



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Competition Winner Announcement!

Giveaways & Competitions, PhotographyMichael RammellComment

Today we find out who has won my own personal copy of David Gibson's 'The Street Photographer's Manual'.

If you can watch the video below, great! If not, here's the audio: (failing that, you can read on below)!

First off though I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who entered. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and thank you for subscribing to the blog. Subscribing was a pre-requisite of entering and so I sincerely hope that you remain a subscriber even now that this competition has ended, not least because I do hope that you'll find my future posts of interest and value, but also because I will be running more competitions just like this one on a quarterly basis.

If you didn't win this time round please don't be disheartened, so many people entered and there could only be one winner after all. At the end of the day I ran this competition to give away a book that I purchased with my own money; the prize was not donated by some large company or sponsor and I shan't be exchanging or passing any of your details onto companies or third parties.

That said however, I am hoping to get some companies on board in future to contribute prizes that you can win. I will keep you posted on those efforts in future posts and hopefully I'll be able to put some big prizes up for grabs!


Now for the big announcement: The winner of the 'The Street Photographer's Manual' is...

JAMES MARSON!

Congratulations James, well done!

I'll be in touch with James within a couple of days to get his details and get that book sent out.

Please do note that the winner was chosen completely at random. If you must know I had all of the entries collated into a spreadsheet and them simply chose a number at random. That number was the row in which James' name was!

That's all for this week. Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox, I'll be announcing the next giveaway later in February and also some big new projects that I'm working on too, where you'll be able to see exactly how it is I post process my images and produce the work you see here on the website.

As ever, in the mean time if you have any questions for me or want to chat, drop me a line via email or connect with me on social media!



Subscribe to this Blog to receive notifications when new articles have been released

I don't ever send SPAM and you'll only get an email once every 2 weeks or so. Here's a sample of what you'll receive every now and then If you don't like it I make it very easy to unsubscribe! Come on, join over 600 other subscribers today!

Are you a photographer in business, like me? I've put together this massively popular pricing calculator for my subscribers. Download it today for FREE


Street Photography Tips (Part 2) & Book Giveaway

Audio, Giveaways & Competitions, MicroFourThirds, Tutorials & Tips, PhotographyMichael RammellComment

[To listen to the audio hit play and then give it a second to buffer. The audio is high quality]

Following on from last week's post where I shared a few of my top tips for improving your street photography, today is the promised second part of this little series. In part one, I also announced the book giveaway too, where you can be in with a chance of winning my own personal copy of David Gibson's 'The Street Photographer's Manual'. The winner of that competition will be announced on January 31st, so be sure to enter today. Details on how to enter can be found at the bottom of this post.

Before we dive into the tips in this post, let's briefly recap on the first 3* tips I gave In last week's post:

  1. Isolate & Simplify - Keep the frame clean and make it clear what your subject is
  2. Tell a story - Is your photograph engaging and interesting? Does it have a point?
  3. Get closer to your subject and be bold and brave! Fill the frame. 
  4. *BONUS TIP: Michael Pung - Street Portraits

If you missed that post be sure to check it out! 

Improve your Street photography in 2017 with these top Tips:

1: Hunter & Fisherman approaches

I've been asked numerous times how it is I actually set about seeing and making street photographs; do I spend the entire day walking or do I sit and wait for the scene? The answer is both!

It's fair to say that these two different approaches will yield different results. They will also suit different photographers too.

Let's start by talking about the method whereby we pound the streets, walk around, cover ground and find the moments. Or, the 'Hunter' method as I like to call it... 

As a hunter out on the streets, you'll find yourself spending the day walking. This can be great if you're able to physically do this, but you need to be conscious to keep your eyes open to the scenes around you, and your wits about you as you walk, especially on busy city streets. The idea of hunting for a scene and a subject offers us as photographers plenty of variety. As we move from street to street and district to district the backdrops will change dramatically.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1Lens: 25mm f/1.8 @ Aperture: f/1.8 Focal Length 25mm ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/3200th

As with many larger towns and cities you'll find that the architecture changes from one area to the next. Knowing London as I do for example I can tell you that you have the white rendered buildings, people in suits and cigar shops of St James', then the tourist parts of Leicester Square and Covent Garden, the colours and smells of Soho & the uniqueness of China Town for example. Whatever city you go to, you're likely to experience that same variety. As a hunter you'll sit at your computer later that evening and be welcomed by photographs that are very different from each other owing to the fact you saw different parts of the area. 

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1Lens: 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Aperture: f/2.8 Focal Length 25mm ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/2000th

Whilst that variety can be found by clocking up miles, what I often find some people struggle with is actually seeing photographically whilst they walk. By this, I mean; the walking itself can actually prevent you from seeing things. Either because you're physically tired, aching & thirsty, or just because your mind can wander as you get lost and explore new places. If that sounds like you, then the fisherman method may be something you should start out by trying...

The fisherman method, as you may have guessed, would see a photographer finding a spot or an area in which to roam. Perhaps a park area or a junction or cross section in the city? Again, thinking about London you could perhaps consider South Bank. Whilst the fisherman approach to street photography is less likely to yield the variety that hunting offers, there are areas, such as South Bank, where the variety will come to you! In a small stretch of 100m, where the walk way is not too wide that people can't really escape your range, you can photograph people discretely as they walk past. Whether they're a commuter on the way to work, a jogger keeping fit during lunch time, tourists with cameras or street performers or skateboarders. Finding an area similar to London's South Bank can very much feel like shooting fish in a barrel (metaphorically speaking of course). 

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1Lens: 25mm f/1.8 @ Aperture: f/2.2 Focal Length 25mm ISO: 4000 Shutter Speed: 1/15th

The intention and idea of the fisherman method however doesn't necessarily just mean you stay in one area. In an even more intentional way with even less movement required you can instead look for a backdrop or a stage for a scene first (again, metaphorically speaking) and then wait patiently for your subjects to walk onto the set. For example, finding an archway, a set of stairs or steps or a bench, to name but a few ideas.  You can position yourself and ready your composition and your settings and then just wait for something or someone interesting to happen. It could be that someone sits on the bench. It could be that a skateboarder jumps the steps or grinds down the rail. It could simply be a chef on a cigarette break in an alleyway behind a restaurant, cafe or diner. Whatever the case may be, you can start by readying the scene and waiting for the interest.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5Lens: 17mm f/1.8 @ Aperture: f/10 Focal Length 17mm ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/13th

Again, as the name suggests the fisherman method can very much be a waiting game, where the patience you invest is what will reap you those rewards.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1. Lens: 17mm f/1.8 Aperture: f/1.8 ISO: 800 Shutter Speed: 1/640th

So, as I say: choose a method that you think sounds more appealing to you and give it a try. But you never know, some 'hunters' may find the 'fisherman' method more rewarding than they think, and some 'fishermen' may find the occasional hunt for a subject an exciting experience!

2: Choosing a cameras & lenses for Street Photography

If you're reading this post, I'd say there is a relatively high chance that you have looked online as to what equipment is best suited to street photography, or, you've already formed your own opinion as to what you think is best. My opinion is that there isn't one good answer and there isn't one camera that is necassarily better than any other. A DSLR will have advantages over a compact or a mirrorless camera, and likewise a smaller, lighter camera has its obvious advantages too. 

Whilst there are cameras such as the brilliant Olympus PEN-F and accomplished Fuji X100t that are super small, lightweight and help you to look very incognito as if they're designed specifically for street photographers, I've heard some very compelling debates to suggest that having a DSLR out on the street can in fact help to convince others that you're just a tourist too! After all, it seems everyone is a photographer these days and more and more people are investing in 'big cameras'. I guess having a DSLR could in effect actually help you to blend in, in an odd sort of way. 

My own belief is that you should use the camera you feel most comfortable and familiar with, whatever that may be. You don't need to wait until you have that latest mirrorless camera and you shouldn't be put off by 'only' having a Full Frame DSLR. Both will get you results - it's you  that has to be ready to see the moment and capture it. 

Without sitting on the fence though and with all that said, let's consider the practical advantages of a smaller, lighter camera here: you are going to find that you need a smaller bag for it all, which means you are likely to be less fatigued by the end of the day. These mirrorless cameras often offer a totally silent electronic shutter mode and, arguably, in my opinion, you are less likely to be considered a 'serious' or 'professional' owing to perceptions alone. So if you can put your ego aside for one minute, it could be that on this occasion looking like an amateur or tourist is a good thing (I would say though for the record, I don't agree with the perception, but it is a hard one to argue. I wrote about my feelings on this in my 'Why Olympus?' Post)

So, whilst this section of advice isn't necessarily me telling you exactly what to carry and use, I would loosely suggest the following things to I think aid you physically and creatively:

  1. travel light.
  2. pack one camera & one lens
  3. pack a spare battery
  4. use as small a bag as possible

Travelling with one camera and one lens, whichever lens that may be, will serve to help you focus only on the scenes and the moments happening in front of you and less on the gear you have in your bag.  

3: Times, Locations & Days to shoot (Workshops)

Every time is a good time for street photography! It doesn't matter if it's a dark winter. It doesn't matter if it's raining! These elements are only going to provide an extra dimension and level of interest to your photography. Some of my own personal favourite images that I have made out on the street have come on late December and January evenings. I wrote a post back in 2015 that went on to be featured in the Olympus Magazine where I spoke about low light photography and how to tackle it (you can check that out right here on the blog). 

Whilst this answer is somewhat generic, I would personally suggest that you should look to book yourself onto a local photo walk or tour with an experienced street photographer. Whilst that person doesn't necessarily need to know the area (one could argue), I'd say that a local will be able to take you to the lesser known areas, which will definitely go some way to helping you to produce more unique images.

One man that can talk about this a little better than me is Paul Griffiths and so I've invited Paul to share his thoughts on what it is a Street Photography Tour or Workshop can offer you. For those of you that don't know Paul; runs the popular Photography Live & Unct Blog Video Blog over on YouTube. Paul is an accomplished Photographer who knows London like the back of his hand having worked in the city for many many years. Today though, when not interviewing some of the world's most renowned photographers for his show, you'll find Paul leading tours & workshops on the streets of London.

Here's what Paul has to say about the value of work shops: 

Setting targets, joining camera clubs and making New Years' resolutions are great. But ultimately, there’s nothing better than just getting out with your camera and ‘taking’ (or rather making) images.

Image used with permission of Paul Griffiths. Image Copyright by Paul Griffiths

For anyone that enjoys Documentary or Street Photography, you will likely be aware Photo walkabouts where a group get together and hit the streets together, but it could be argued that these are not necessarily the best means to learn when it comes to street photography. Sure, you can exchange ideas and talk about cameras all day, but invariably a walkabout typically starts off with a group sticking together and eventually disintegrating and becoming separated as attendees drop away, get lost or sometimes decide to go another route. 
It's not really the type of event to gain tips & skills from! 
"Practice makes perfect!" & "Your photography will improve if you practice!"; You've no doubt have heard these statements before? Well, they are true, but practice with guidance and the practice is improved!

http://www.photographyliveanduncut.com/aboutmecontact/

Rather than an unguided walkabout with a lack of intention, the ardent photographer should start to look for better options to learn and improve their craft. One such way is a structured Photography Workshop. 
Whether you prefer working indoors or outdoors, these days you're very likely to find one to suit you and your style of learning. The best workshops typically host not more than 6-8 people, offer a ‘hands on’ and experienced tutor who encourages and can demonstrate camera skills and who can take you out of your comfort zone in order to expand your thinking and widen your horizons! That's the best way to learn!
This is exactly what we at ‘Photography Live and Uncut’ offer: a workshop that will teach you new skills and enable you to try different ways to make photos and to get you out of that comfort zone. You may know your settings and compositions already (great!), but we'll start by helping you to see photographically - the art of seeing a scene and a story in front of you. We offer workshops that are both studio-based and out on the streets, depending on your preferred genre. We're here to share everything we know with you to ensure you gain the most from your workshop experience. Everything we teach and do is aimed and focussed towards improving your photography 

If you want to know more information about one of Paul's Workshops, made available through Photography Live & Uncut, simply check out his website. (Pssst, be sure to follow Paul on Social Media too if you want to be notified of the latest workshop dates)

4: Bonus Tip: Expectations of your own efforts

Looking at the portfolio's of some avid street photographers, who have galleries full of images from the street, it can seem that the expectation of an afternoon out on the streets is to come home with a dozen images that you think are wonderful. Whilst I don't want to suggest that your work isn't good and that you haven't got a dozen good images after a day of shooting, in reality, the chances are you'll end up with just 1 or 2...or possibly none! 

As photographer's we should only be showing our absolute best work. So, when you load your images into Lightroom, or Aperture or whichever is your preferred tool be selective, conscious and give thought as to which images genuinely have content, story, an interesting subject and are of a quality you are happy with. If you are able to honestly look at an image and say that it contains elements from each of the tips from these two posts that i've written (that being part one from last week and this post too), then go ahead and share it. But if, after mulling over an image you realise it doesn't have any 'Pull' or interest, then don't be disheartened.

You've probably heard people before say 'I make my own luck' and whilst I think there is something in this phrase, really, what luck is, is where preparedness meets opportunity. I guess what I'm saying is that it is your job to be prepared and to spot the opportunity. But, that's not to say that opportunity will always present itself to you in the form of an interesting scene to photograph. Sometimes, the interest is more subtle and as such you have to try harder to spot it.

The reason I'm ending this short series on such a note is because, in reality, all you are doing by applying all of your skills and possibly even by following the advice that Michael Pung, Paul Griffiths and myself have provided in these two posts, is increasing your chances of capturing something worth sharing. It's not offering you a guarantee at all.

In the first couple of paragraphs in the first post I did say that Street Photography can appear to be easy and simplistic. But I'm sure, after having tried it yourself or even just having been through my top tips, you'll appreciate that there is far more to capturing an image on the street that you had possibly considered.

Sure, you may have days where you come back with a bunch of great work, but others, you may come back with nothing. You will soon realise that not everything you capture, despite your best efforts, is actually as good as you may initially think. Don't think of this as a reflection of your overall skills as a photographer, but remember that capturing a quality, engaging and interesting moment on the street requires a lot of things to fall into place at the right time and that everything happens in the blink of an eye; press that shutter just 1 second later and the story inside the frame you just captured could be totally different.

Street Photography can be a funny old mistress that can reward you. Other days you'll return home with nothing to show for your efforts. It's cruel, but that's street photography.

...The End!


Book Giveaway

Okay, so if you're here for the book giveaway, look no further. I'm giving away my own personal copy of The Street Photographers Manual by David Gibson.

I loved this book so much that I felt compelled to write a review here on the blog (you can read that book right here). Coupled with this post, I thought that it would be a great companion for anyone looking to improve their street photograph and so, I'm giving it away for free!

Review Excerpt:

"Whilst the book itself may be called a manual and does offer instruction to help you create more thought-out and intentional street photographs, this is also a very impressive and vast study of street photography. This book looks at both various techniques and elements that contribute towards stronger imagery and makes use of examples by the greatest street photographers of our time such as; Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Gilden, Saul Leiter, Trente Park and more. These examples give the book's instructions conviction and only serve to show that this thorough - yet concise - book is something you can not only read for inspiration, but learn from at the same time. Within each chapter we are introduced to either another master of Street Photography or another technique of shooting on the street, each accompanying a sample of that master's work or an example of that technique in action to best explain and demonstrate the case in point"

To be in with a chance of winning my own, personal copy of The Street Photographer's Manual, subscribe to the blog using the form below and share this post on social media (be sure to include a link back to this post). If you're already a subscriber, just drop a comment below. I'll canvas all new subscriptions and comments and pick the lucky winner from those.

Good luck everyone!  Thanks for stopping by.



Subscribe to this Blog to receive notifications when new articles have been released

I don't ever send SPAM and you'll only get an email once every 2 weeks or so. Here's a sample of what you'll receive every now and then If you don't like it I make it very easy to unsubscribe! Come on, join over 600 other subscribers today!

Are you a photographer in business, like me? I've put together this massively popular pricing calculator for my subscribers. Download it today for FREE


Street Photography Tips (Part 1) & Book Giveaway!

Giveaways & Competitions, Tutorials & Tips, PhotographyMichael RammellComment

[To listen to the audio hit play and then give it a second to buffer. Alternatively,be sure to subscribe to the blog over in iTunes where you can listen on-the-go too!]

There's a lot going on today! In addition to my own 3 top tips to improve your street photography, I've invited the fantastic Michael Pung to offer a top tip of his own for street portraits too! In addition to all of that, I'm also running the first of my giveaways for 2017!

If you're interested in the street photography tips then just keep reading. If however, you're just here to put your name in the hat to win the book, skip to the bottom for entry information and terms & conditions. Good luck to you all!

Improve your Street photography in 2017 with these top Tips:

Perhaps you've just picked up your first camera for Christmas? Perhaps with some of the spare time you had over the festive period you ventured out into the street for the first time to try your hand at what can at first appear to be a very easy and simplistic photographic discipline - Street Photography.

Whatever the case may be, I've got a few tips to help you to produce stronger, more compelling images when in public spaces.

Now, I'm not suggesting that the tips in this post alone will transform you into a master Street Photographer overnight! There is so much more to Street Photography than can be condensed into 3 tips. In fact, I've got lots to say on the subject. That's why I'm going to actually split this post into 2. This is part 1 of 2. You can check out Part 2 right here

Today I'll start with the practical things; the things that you can practice and implement right now to instantly make stronger and more engaging photographs of life on the streets:

1: Isolate & simplify

I see too many street photographs with no clear subject! It's massively frustrating for me when I look through people's work and all I see are busy streets, without a clear point of focus, intent, story or subject.

Through use of light and shadows this image successfully leads the viewer's eye to the illuminated subject. Note however that the background is illuminated just enough to help tell the story, whilst at the same time is not too bright so that it is a distraction from the main subject.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1. Lens: 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @ Aperture: f/2.8 Focal Length 12mm ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/160th

Now, of course sometimes the subject in the frame can be the order among chaos, but unless it's easily identifiable or intentional the subject is often lost and the viewer is left confused as to what the intention of the image actually is! As such my first tip is to isolate your subject. By this, I mean make it clear what your subject is. This can be achieved by using contrasting colours; a lady in a bold red coat in a crowd of darker coats perhaps?

If you aren't able to isolate your image using contrast, colour or shadows & light, then go for plan B; simplify the contents of the frame.

This can be achieved by removing elements that are distracting, such as bright spots in the background (bright and bold colours as well bright lights). Text and writing in images can also be very distracting. Signage and shop fronts as shown below can often be distractions. (unless of course they add to the story as I discuss in my second tip). A commonly used method of simplification is to find a plain background to use as a stage for your subjects; brick walls for example can work quite well:

By putting my subject against a plain backdrop, I ensure that my subject is the only thing for my viewer to look at. Simple Framing. 

Camera: Canon 7D Lens: 85mm f/1.8 Aperture: f/4 Focal Length 85mm ISO: 1000 Shutter Speed: 1/400th

Another means to simplify is to use a shallow depth of field to remove or hide or reduce a distracting element of the background from a frame. Here for example you can clearly see the city in the background, however the use of depth ensures that the viewer's is drawn back towards the object in sharp focus; the musician:

  Camera:   Olympus OM-D E-M5.   Lens:    12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @   Aperture  : f/2.8   Focal Length:  31mm  ISO : 800  Shutter   Speed  : 1/2000th

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5. Lens:  12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @ Aperture: f/2.8 Focal Length: 31mm ISO: 800 Shutter Speed: 1/2000th

2: Tell a story

Before I photograph anything I subconsciously ask myself a few questions: Why are you photographing that scene? What's the point? What is the story? Will someone else see or get the story?

I don't literally stop and ask myself these questions, but over time this thought process has become very much part what happens before I press the shutter. As the photographer, we were present at the moment it all happened and so we have the added context in our mind to aid the story, things like how hot or cold it was, what the street smelled like, what sounds could be heard and what else was happening outside of the frame to inform the action happening inside the frame. All of those extra senses we have add more to the story for us. Instantly, that provides a different and perhaps more informed narrative for us when we view the image back. It makes us biased. So, unless we somehow capture more inside the frame to help put the pieces of the story together for the viewer, what we ourselves often consider to be a great image because of how we feel about it, is nothing more than a snapshot of someone on the street to someone else.

For me, this is why Street Photography in itself is an often-misunderstood genre: It appears easy to walk around and shoot all the interesting things you see on a busy street, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a compelling and engaging or even interesting photograph for someone else to look at.

A dark scene featuring a man smoking (the smoke is obvious) leaning against the front of a betting shop (bookies as we say in the UK). The text reads 'When the Fun Stops, Stop'.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1. Lens: 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @ Aperture: f/2.8 Focal Length 12mm ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/80th

Now, without all of that additional context provided by our own senses as I mentioned above, the story told within a frame can be left to the interpretation of the viewer, even if you have provided a lot of additional visual stimulus and a clear backdrop to the scene. This is absolutely fine. Often, it can be more interesting for a viewer to look at the image and begin to imagine and write their own story to bring the image to life. Don't be upset if the story that someone invents to surround your image isn't the story you saw at the time you made the image. Just be grateful that someone has taken the time to study your image enough to see a story within it!

3: Get Closer & Be Bold

This is something of an expansion on my point to isolate & simplify what is in your frame, but here I want to suggest that you get closer to your subject to make the image more engaging. This works particularly well when you achieve eye contact with your subject (if your subject is a person or an animal that is). For example:

Note that despite my subjects occupying a large proportion of the frame, I still have composition, isolation and a story being told in the background.

Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1. Lens: 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @ Aperture: f/2.8 Focal Length 12mm ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/160th

Standing at a red light waiting to cross the street I took a few side-steps to get closer to this woman. I waited for the lights to turn amber before raising the camera and making a frame. With so much going on around us all my subject could do was to throw me a glance before crossing. This frame would have arguably been too busy had my subject been farther away and occupied a smaller amount of the frame.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1. Lens: 25mm f/1.8 @ Aperture: f/1.8 Focal Length 25mm ISO: 320 Shutter Speed: 1/640th

Helping your subject to dominate the frame makes it immediately more obvious exactly what your subject is. Fact.

You will still of course have to keep an eye out for distracting elements, as always.

If you're shooting a street performer, get in closer to them (but be safe and don't invade their space). If you're shooting street, you're typically going to be in an open public space. As such you should have the freedom to move around - so do it! Don't just let life pass you by from one spot - go and get those images! That is of course, unless you're setting a scene and waiting for the subject (more on that part two though)

Don't be scared to raise the camera to your face to make a photograph of someone. Sure, this feeling will be worse if you're in a less densely populated area, but don't fear question or conflict; make the image and congratulate yourself for having done so later, because the alternative is missing the shot and kicking yourself for it later. Raising the camera up to your hip can be fine, but it will dramatically reduce your chances of getting the shot. It's also sneaky! So be intentional, bold and get closer to the subject!

4: Bonus Tip: Michael Pung Shares his thoughts on making strong Street Portraits:

I've got an entire gallery filled with Street Portraits, however, I have to admit that the street portaits made by Michael Pung are on another level. As such, rather than me offering my thoughts on street portraiture, I have instead invited Michael (Pung) to give you his expert opinion on the matter:

I love taking street portraits. There is something exhilarating about making the approach, forming that connection (if even for a brief minute or two) and capturing their photograph.

Image used with permission of Michael Pung. Image Copyright of Michael Pung.

The approach is quite possibly the scariest part of taking street portraits, but once you get past it, you will discover that it really is quite rewarding. I enjoy making that connection with everyone I meet. It really isn’t about what you say, but how you do it. Try not to hesitate and just be upfront with your intentions. I usually just introduce myself in a friendly manner and ask for their photograph. I like to gauge if they’re busy, and if they aren’t then I ask them some questions to get to know them better. Sometimes conversations can go on for 20 minutes or more! But if not, it’s still okay! And even if you don’t get the photograph, making that connection really is something special.

Image used with permission of Michael Pung. Image Copyright of Michael Pung.

As for making the portrait, here are a few of my ingredients! I enjoy shooting at lower apertures to make the backgrounds soft (1.2 to 2.0 aperture on a 56mm on an APS-C sensor). If you find it too soft, it is okay increase it a little to have more of their facial features in focus. In general, try to keep eyes in the top half of the frame and if this means cropping a little off the top of their head, that’s okay! There should be a balance in the shot and this varies from how close or how far you want to crop. The focus here is on the individual and you want to remove as much of the distractions away from the subject. The individual doesn’t need to smile usually and a neutral expression is better than anything forced. Make a connection, and once that is made, the other things come together to make a strong portrait! 

Image used with permission of Michael Pung. Image Copyright of Michael Pung.

For more of Michael's wonderful work, check out his blog at www.michaelpung.com/blog

Part 2 - January 2017

This post runs the risk of becoming way too long if I continue with the other tips I have, but I really do want to offer further advice. For now, I'll leave you with these things to digest and try out. I'll post part 2 of this next week. So you if want to receive part 2 of this post in your inbox, be sure to subscribe. In part 2, I'll talk about:

  1. Hunter & Fisherman approaches
  2. Choosing a cameras & lenses for Street Photography
  3. Times, Locations & Days to shoot
  4. Bonus Tip: Expectations of your own efforts

Part 2 is now available. Check it out right here


Book Giveaway

Okay, so if you're here for the book giveaway, look no further. I'm giving away my own personal copy of The Street Photographers Manual by David Gibson.

I loved this book so much that I felt compelled to write a review here on the blog (you can read that book right here). Coupled with this post, I thought that it would be a great companion for anyone looking to improve their street photograph and so, I'm giving it away for free!

Review Excerpt:

"Whilst the book itself may be called a manual and does offer instruction to help you create more thought-out and intentional street photographs, this is also a very impressive and vast study of street photography. This book looks at both various techniques and elements that contribute towards stronger imagery and makes use of examples by the greatest street photographers of our time such as; Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Gilden, Saul Leiter, Trente Park and more. These examples give the book's instructions conviction and only serve to show that this thorough - yet concise - book is something you can not only read for inspiration, but learn from at the same time. Within each chapter we are introduced to either another master of Street Photography or another technique of shooting on the street, each accompanying a sample of that master's work or an example of that technique in action to best explain and demonstrate the case in point"

To be in with a chance of winning my own, personal copy of The Street Photographer's Manual, subscribe to the blog using the form below and share this post on social media (be sure to include a link back to this post). If you're already a subscriber, just drop a comment below. I'll canvas all new subscriptions and comments and pick the lucky winner from those. 

Good luck everyone!  Thanks for stopping by. 



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