Street Photography – What to Look for When Out on the Streets?

Welcome back to our second article on street photography! Last Monday we promised you we would take a more in-depth look at street photography, and that time has come! Today we’re going to talk about what to look for when out on the streets to serve as inspiration.

So, you’ve got your camera with you and you’re out on the street, but you can’t aimlessly walk around holding your camera until you see something impressive and worth shooting. Or can you? Well, if you’re just starting out in the street photography field, then I’m afraid you are going to do a bit of wandering about until you start to see the street with new eyes. Because basically, that’s what you need to learn to do. You’re no longer a simple walker of the streets, you’re an observer and one needs to learn how to observe.

Put your most comfortable shoes and clothes on and walk the streets! Take a seat somewhere where there are a lot of people and start observing. People watching can really be an interesting thing and you can end up getting lost in it, which is a wonderful thing.

Almost all street photographers are talking about the decisive moment, a term coined by one of the earliest street photographers in the world, Henry Cartier-Bresson. That decisive moment is the moment when you know that what you’re seeing needs to be captured on camera. It’s when everything just comes together to create a close to perfect moment; it’s about timing! There may be many decisive moments when you’re out on the streets and that’s OK. Take out your camera and snap pictures every time you feel you’re having one of those moments. You’ll find out later if the moment gave you a good picture or not.

street photography ed peters

Ed Peters

The decisive moment usually comes from facial expressions, gestures, movement and action, so make sure you snap more pictures so that you have where to choose from.

The capture of emotion is mainly what drives the photographer to become a street photographer. Isn’t this what photography does best? Show us who we really are?

Strong emotion will give you the best photographs, but strong emotion is really hard to come by and harder to capture. Do you really have what it takes to go to a man who is crying on the street and take his picture? Can you do it? You’ll have to, if you want to be a street photographer!

Another fun and great tool for capturing street photography and creating amazing shots is juxtaposition. This refers to contrasting elements in your frame. Think about a man carrying a yellow umbrella in a crowd of people with black umbrellas. This is a perfect example of juxtaposition.

street photography Maria Serban-Temisan

Maria Serban-Temisan

Take the above photograph and see how much more powerful this image is thanks to the red background the soldier happened to walk by. It singles out the soldier, it makes him the star of the shot.

If you’re looking for using juxtaposition in your photographs, then you should start off by searching for an interesting background. Billboards and building walls make great places to start. What you could also do is juxtapose emotions. Go to a playground and capture the only crying child among the sea of laughing children. You get the idea!

Not all street photography needs to focus on emotions! You could find interesting shapes and shadows and play with them until you get something interesting and worth shooting. You need a bit of a trained eye to get the perfect angle, but practice will get you there!

street photography christophe agou

Christophe Agou

Another great tip for doing street photography is to focus on details. This will increase the mystery and will offer a clean and fresh view of objects and body parts. Sometimes we forget to look in people’s eyes or look at their hands and a photograph of those bits and pieces can really shake us up.

Also, don’t just look at the people when out on the streets! Look to the ground and see what you can find there. Again, use common objects to achieve uncommon photographs. Take them out of context, juxtapose them, do close-ups, play with them and with the camera until you get something good.

Do you have any more tips and tricks for getting out there on the streets and taking the perfect street photograph? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Create Great Wedding Cinemagraphs in 15 Steps

create-great-wedding-Cinemagraphs

Image via PhotoJojo

What are cinemagraphs, you ask? Why, what a question! Essentially, they’re Graphics Interchange Format files, better known as .gifs. You’ve seen them all over your favorite entertainment websites online and you can even make them with nothing more than your smartphone these days, since, of course, there’s an app for that. However, there’s also a professional way to create great wedding cinemagraphs that will bring those unforgettable moments to life.

How to create great wedding cinemagraphs: A checklist

You’re going to need a camera that shoots video, a tripod, a video editing program and one version or another of Adobe Photoshop. And, of course, props, a model or several, and, most importantly, ideas for cinemagraphs.

#1. Plan out your scene. Shoot for subtle motions, moments and movements. In contrast, the rest of your scene should look great when still. Finally, aim for something that looks good when looped.

#2. Set up the camera as solidly as you can on its tripod and shoot away. You need 10 to 20 seconds of video tops.

#3. Make sure you’re shooting in the right format for Photoshop, i.e. either MOV or AVI.

#4. Import your video into Photoshop. You’re going to import the frames of the video into layers, and while more layers make for a smoother animation, anything above 100 layers is probably too much to work with.

#5. Check out the video frames, now imported into separate layers. Make sure you have all the layers you need.

#6. Go to Windows/Animation, to see the layers as actual frames in an animation. Play the animation to identify the moment you are going to be animating next.

#7. Once you’ve found the frames that display the portion you want to see animated. Bear in mind that some of the smoothness of the end .gif is going to be lost after you’ve deleted some of the layers, so choose them wisely.

#8. Choose your Alpha layer. That’s going to be the one layer that stays unchanged in the end .gif. duplicate it and place it over the other layers in the Layers window.

#9. Next, start creating movement in order to actually create great wedding cinemagraphs. This means that you need to start editing the Alpha layer with the aid of vector masks. These masks will effectively do away with the elements that are still in the Alpha layer, but that you want animated in the final version.

#10. Test out the animation, after you’re done masking the portions you want animated. Set the animation to loop Forever, then press play. Make note of any further edits you need to make, so as to make the movement as smooth as possible.

#11. Make sure your loop is smooth. There are several ways in which you can achieve this. One is by adding the Alpha layer plus the very first animation layer, right after the very last layer in the animation. Simply duplicate the last layer, then change what layers appear in it in the Layer window. For more complex animations, you’re going to want to loop some very specific frames in your Animation, that will help make the motion transition smoother.

#12. Color your .gif. .gif files unfortunately can’t hold as much color information as regular pictures, so you’re going to want to use an effect that works well with less data. You can either use a preset Photoshop action for a specific color effect, or colorize all the layers with a specific Photoshop mask.

#13. Save your final .gif in a resolution that’s suited for the web, i.e. not very large. You’re going to want your clients to show it off online and you’re also likely to showcase it in your portfolio. The typical resolution is 72 pixels/inch.

#14. Save the PSD project of the cinemagraph, then Save for Web & Devices.

#15. Enjoy the fact that you now know how to create great wedding cinemagraphs and don’t forget to show off your work!

The Code For Blocking Pinterest … And 12 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use It

There are a lot of photographers out there up in arms over Pinterest.

Pinterest allows people to create visual pin boards by finding things online and “pinning” them to a board on their Pinterest account. Because Pinterest is a visual social site, what attracts you to click on things is the photograph. Yet you can look through the images on Pinterest without having to go back to the site of origination to view who’s images they are. Which means there are many photographers upset by copyright infringement – can people really “move” your images around and share them in a variety of ways without crediting you, the photographer?

Dig Deeper: How To Boost Your Photography Business With Pinterest
Dig Deeper: Get Creative With Your Marketing: How Others Are Using Pinterest

Like any good business, Pinterest heard what people where saying and decided to offer a solution. So if any photographers are out there and upset by the way Pinterest lets you use images, you can now stop people from pinning your photographs and images.

Head over to Pinterest and copy the code for disabling the pinning technique. Then when anyone online tries to pin from your site, they will see the message:

Sounds great, right? After all, you wouldn’t want people sharing your photographs all across the web for free, right?

We started our Pinterest account less than two months ago. In the past 30 days, almost 2 percent of all of our online traffic has come from Pinterest. Which means we’ve gained well over a thousand views to our VirtualPhotographyStudio site in a way that wasn’t available to us back in 2011. We would have missed those connections without focusing our efforts on connecting with people through Pinterest.

Reason #1 Gain traffic to your site

Why are you online in the first place? If its simply to have an online brochure to send people to, Pinterest might not matter. But if you are trying to attract new people whom you wouldn’t have met any other way, Pinterest is a great way to do so. Remember, Pinterest is heavily weighted towards women. If you are targeting women, Pinterest holds their attention.

Reason #2 You can share posing ideas

With Pinterest, you can build as many boards as you choose, and can label them in a way that makes sense to your followers. Why not create a posing board. Then your clients can find images they love and ask you to duplicate it with them.

Reason #3 You can share location ideas

Do you shoot all over town? Why not highlight the best locations with a pin board. Many clients have a hard time understanding the difference between locations. Showcase urban scenes and park settings. Let them find something that suits their lifestyle.

Reason #4 You can collaborate with a client

Is a client putting together an event they would like input on? Start a pin board just for them. You can change the setting to allow others to have access to a board. Then you can post ideas on it together. That way they can share ideas with you, and you can counter with your own ideas. Your client will be super excited by the day of the event.

Reason #5 You can learn your clients’ style

Instead of building a board yourself, turn to your clients and have them start a board.

Ask them to build boards to showcase their style. They can put together color ideas, location ideas, even different clothing choices.

Reason #6 You can increase your exposure

Photographers worry about other photographers stealing their ideas. Yes, you will have the photographers that linger and “stalk” without doing anything themselves. But the more you share, the more you will receive recognition for what you are doing. Who has a bigger business, someone with lots of exposure or someone who keeps their ideas to themselves?

Want even more? The Photographers Guide To Pinterest is now available in PDF and Kindle format. The perfect step by step guide to help you join Pinterest and use it to bring in traffic…and clients.