OK so you’ve been thinking about doing some Street Photography but never got round to it, I don’t blame ya as it is not a genre typically embarrassed by many especially if you’re only just getting into Photography. Hopefully, these 5 quick tips will help you in your transition or if you’re already an aspiring Street Photographer these will help improve your game while out on the streets.
This is a quick post on my recent travels to Hong Kong and my experiences while exploring this urban jungle. Known for its dense urban environment, hidden alleys, tight laneways and busy streets, it is obvious why Hong Kong is a haven for street photography. I traveled with my wife and together we visited a close friend of ours who was also kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule to take us around and point out some hot spots in Hong Kong.
I’ll be honest and say that I was reluctant to bring my zoom lens (16-55mm f2.8) and instead use the two primes (14mm & 27mm) however as it turns out I found myself reaching for the zoom lens a majority of the time. Given that both the primes had the same aperture of f2.8 and that the zoom lens only looses 2mm over the 14mm and combined with the weather resistance seals, it was obvious that the 16-55mm was more suited for the streets of Hong Kong as well as its unpredictable weather (similar to Melbourne). Despite the hefty weight behind the 16-55mm, the versatility and weather resistance outweighed this and there were a few occasions where I found myself shooting in light drizzle and just knowing that I can continue shooting without worrying about my gear is a great feeling.
Disclaimer: This is not a review, in fact, it probably shouldn’t even be called First Impression granted that I’ve only had it for approx 20 mins of solid use. So if you’re expecting fancy charts and mathematical equations please stop reading.
Fujifilm Camera Australia and DigiDIRECT held a workshop that showcased the highly anticipated X-Pro2 and X70. The people at Fujifilm Camera Australia were also kind enough to share the full range of XF lenses to try from the 10-24mm through to the 100-400mm. Unfortunately as there was only 1 unit of the X-Pro2 we had to share it around so most of us only had a good 20 mins or less of solid use, so this is purely my impression of the camera after 20 mins.
While holding the unit my first thoughts were its size, it felt big in my hands compared to the more familiar X-T1. Unfortunately without having used the X-Pro1 I cannot compare their sizes, it feels bulky and solid like a miniature tank. Personally, I prefer the DSLR-like style and design (hence the X-T1 is my preferred camera) just a personal preference.
One of the great features with all Fuji X Series cameras is the ability to apply various Film Simulations. However when shooting RAW and importing in Lightroom, the Film Sim effects are not carried across. Fortunately Lightroom has added Fuji profiles to allow you to apply these Film Sims in post production.
For those new to Lightroom simply launch LR and go into Development mode, from the right-hand editing pane scroll down to the bottom until you see the Camera Calibration module.
All the Film Sims can be found under the Profile menu, simply select the desired Film Sim and the image will apply the selected effect.
I’ve been asked a few times what my camera settings are so I thought I’ll just share them with you here. Just remember that these are settings that work for me and my style of shooting and may not appeal to you. I’ll also try and explain where I can what some of the settings actually do so here we go…
SHOOTING MENU 1
Bracket Settings: As I shoot JPEG about 90% of the time, I’ve set my bracketing mode set to Film Simulation. The three Film Sim brackets I have set are Std, Classic Chrome and B&W+R.
Focus Area: The focus frame has 5 sizes with 1 being the smallest and 5 being the largest, I have mine set to size 3 and positioned to the center of the screen. The size of the focus frame has an impact on the AF speed. Example if you’re shooting a portrait and fill the frame with the subject’s face, you’ll set the size to its smallest point and focus on the eyes. The camera will easily focus on that point, however if you’re about 10 meters away the subject their eye’s become more difficult to focus on, therefore if you have it set to its smallest size and try to focus on the eyes the lens will often at times hunt back and forth on the focus frame. You’ll also run the risk of blurry images as the camera may focus on the nose or cheeks over the eyes. Therefore setting the size to a slightly bigger focus frame will increase the speed AF and reduce the chance of blurry images.
Release/Focus Priority: I have both AF-S and AF-C set to focus priority. If you’re all about capturing the moment and not worried whether the shot is in focus then set it to Release priority.
Instant AF Setting: This settings allows those shooting in manual focus mode to still use the auto-focus functionality by simply pressing the AF-L button. I have mine set to AF-S.
AF Mode: I’ve got mine set to Single Point but switch to Zone when shooting street photography especially when shooting from the hip.
Face Detection: On only when shooting portraits otherwise I have it switched off to save battery. This works well in conjunction with Eye Detection AF.
Eye Detection AF: This allows you to set the priority between right eye and left eye. I have it set to Auto
Pre-AF: All this does when switched on is constantly focus at the focus point regardless if the shutter-release button is pressed. This is heavy on the battery, I recommend disabling this feature.
AF Illuminator: OFF unless you’re in a pitch black room 🙂 If you’re taking candid photos I recommend turning this off, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.
One thing to be mindful when traveling to places like Bali is the humidity level. The humid environment will easily fog up your lens unless you exercise some precautions. Although the X-T1 is weather resistant I noticed that the on/off switch would stiffen up making it difficult to switch it to the on position.
On this trip, I only had 3 lenses with me however whenever I’m out shooting the streets I ever only select one and leave rest behind. It’s difficult to do I know but what usually happens when you’re carrying multiple lenses is the urge to change lens, when you see something unique your brain will automatically start telling you things like “oh that would look good with an ultra-wide angle lens”. Not only is it going to add to the weight you’re carrying around but in humid conditions such as Bali, changing lens will risk trapping moisture between the sensor and the rear element of the lens which increases the chances of fungus.
After hearing the announcement that Adobe has made their Lightroom app on Android free, I decided to give it a go. Mind you I have other apps which I use to edit my photos such as Snapseed, VSCO and Pixlr each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
The Lightroom app has a nice clean interface, those who are new to lightroom will appreciate this. One thing to note however is that it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that the desktop version does (such as healing or cloning tools). However it’s easy enough to pick up and work out the settings and editing tools, unlike Snapseed, which is probably the least used editing app my phone right now purely due to the complex menus and settings. In Lightroom the tools are broken into 3 main menus:
Here are 10 quick tips to help improve your shots (in no particular order).
1. Move your feet
Instead of just snapping away where you stand, get in close or take a step back, you’ll be surprised at how it can change the look and feel of an image. Try and imagine how the shot will look up close or a little further back, if the background is too noisy/busy then isolate the subject by stepping in closer. If you want more in the frame, take a step back.
2. Try different angles
This works best when combined with point 1, don’t just take shots at eye level, try different angles. Depending on your subject or the type of feel you’re trying to invoke onto the viewer, certain angles work better than others. For example photographing toddlers or young children you should get down low to their level, same applies for pets. For portraits it is almost a sin to shoot from bottom up, instead, shoot top down as this produces a more flattering look for the subject, after all, it hides the double chin :))
This one’s for all you Android users out there, Adobe has finally made Lightroom for Android FREE! They’ve scrapped the subscription based however you’ll lose the sync functionality, if you wish to keep this feature you’ll have to have a subscription.
This probably won’t win over the hearts of other editing apps out there such as snapseed, pixlr or vsco, but it’ll certain appeal to photographers who are Android devices. For those who exclusively shoot using their phones, you can now finally edit those .DNG files.
If you’re use to using other editing apps, I still recommend at least giving this a try. I’ll be writing up a short ‘First Impressions’ post on the app soon enough so stay tuned.
If you’ve operated a camera in full manual mode then you already know what the ‘Exposure Triangle’ is.
Those of you who are familiar with the Fuji X-T1 and the XF lenses are aware that the ISO and Shutter settings are located on dials on top of the camera body, while the aperture is controlled on the lens. Now if you assign all settings to ‘A’ (automatic mode) and connect the A’s together, you get the shape of a triangle. Coincidence or clever design on Fuji’s part?