Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spring Arrives - And so returns Street Photography!

The biggest problem with taking photos of complete strangers without their permission (non needed btw) - is confidence! There are two ways to accomplish this task:

1.  You can trick yourself into thinking you have unlimited confidence: Imagine you are someone else, it can be an imaginary super hero such as The Punisher or even something simple like "I'm invisible". It will work if you believe it. I've used this scenario in many situations, but mostly when I have to wend through a large crowd of people and I'm trying to take a shot of certain people or situations. This approach is actually preferred over the ninja approach (which I also use). Key steps of doing this is to start SMALL. Make a goal of taking ONE picture when the person knows it. Most people will smile and ask what's up. 99.99% of the people I talk to are easy going and dont' give a rats ass about a picture. My only exception was a homeless guy I met on 11th avenue last year, he actually refused my offer to take his picture. I simply walked away - no biggie. It goes like this:

Day 1: Take 1 picture of a stranger when they are aware of it
Day 2: Take 2 pictures
Day 3: Take 3 pictures
etc... Until you get to a 30 set & after 30 days of concentrated effort, you will have NO problem taking pictures of ANYONE. The only scenario I think people should not use this method is against Children. When you take photos of children like this, it can sometimes be seen as creepy or weird.  Everyone has heard the horror stories of child predators and there are some seriously sick fucking people out there. Be respectful. Don't take photos of women wearing super tight clothes or upskirt shots. That's just horrible. Would you take a picture of your sister or mom doing that? I fucking hope not. If you do, then please get the fuck off my web site and find another place to learn shit street photography. Are you located in Calgary? Do you work downtown and can walk during the lunchtime? Ping me on twitter: and send me a message - I'd love to help you for free. I talk lunch walks all the time through downtown and I ALWAYS find something to take a picture of, even on dark gray days like today. 

2. Another way to take street photos without actually giving away your presence is to use the Ninja method. If you own a massive DSLR or Mirrorless Camera, this type of photography will be difficult to achieve. Because the size of the camera is a limiting factor on success, I highly suggest you buy a Ricoh GR 2 or Nikon compact camera for these types of pictures. Or even use your cell phone, but programm the power button to be your shutter. I use the method of "Shooting with my arms". By this I take the camera, pre-focused to a set length (10ft), or I will use quick autofocus with burst mode. The GR2 will do about 6 shots a second with JPG and RAW format. I keep the RAW shots for my archive and use the JPG's for the website. The Ricoh Silkypix software is pretty good and I can hammer through some RAW images if I need to touch up the contrast, brightness, or even sharpness. It'll even allow me to add effects like glow or high dynamic range. So while walking down the street, 


I will hold the camera close to my body and only when I'm ready to take the shot do I "Aim" at my subjects. Like the person above, I shot 12 pictures of him and picked the best one I could use. The shot above is unprocessed and a simple JPG. Had I worked on the image with Silkypix I would have brought up the tone a bit and evened out the orange (which really pops because I had the camera on "Vivid" mode). By using ninja method, you avoid confrontation and embarassment. If people catch me taking their picture I always smile and say "hey!". Most of the time people will respond in kind. If you appear evasive and creepy and avoid eye contact, people will get upset. 

The only scenario you should never use this method is in a ghetto or to gang members. Eye contact and photos will cause a riot of violence and you'll be leaving in a body bag.

Good luck and get shooting!

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