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Thread: Advise

  1. #1

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    Kartik Kaushik

    Advise

    Hello everyone....
    As I told in my last post I am travelling to north Italy end of this month....
    I really want to take some nice pictures.
    I want a general advise on street photography and any special tips on getting everything right.
    I will be using a D90, 18-105 and a 35 mm.
    All advise is most welcome....
    Kartik

  2. #2

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    Re: Advise

    Welcome to Cic, Kartik! Though it's not your first post, I see that you are relatively new here.

    Your question is so wide open that I wonder if you wouldn't get more helpful information if you would provide some specific concerns or questions that you have in mind. I don't do street photography, so be very glad that you won't be hearing from me.

  3. #3
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    Hi Kartik,
    have a look at this web site.
    There are 3 e-books well worth down-loading, and to make it even better they are free. No details or email addresses needed, I hope they are of help.
    Regards
    John
    http://www.thomasleuthard.com/Book/

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    Some of the best advice for street photographers is to be familiar enough with your equipment that you can shoot quickly and accurately. Street images are often fleeting in nature and the good street photographer not only needs to recognize what makes a good shot but be able to capture that shot before it disappears.

  5. #5
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    For general advice –

    You will need to be confident in your carriage; your presentation and especially your non verbal interactions with people and skilled at verbal communication, especially if you are challenged.

    Knowledge of Local Laws and especially LOCAL CUSTOMS, is invaluable.

    Good Street Photography is NOT a result of (always) standing back, using a longer lens and ‘sniping’. This is especially so if your desire is for “Street Portraiture”. Many excellent Street Portraits are taken using a wide lens. An often favoured Lens for Street Portraiture, is a fast 35mm Prime Lens on a 135 format camera (aka “Full Frame” camera).

    Good Street Photography will have: some engagement; or a point of view; or an irony of predicament; or humour etc. It will have elements which focuses the Viewer on a situation or on a person, he might see any day: but makes the Viewer look at that small moment in time, from a different angle or a very close perspective.

    I’d also suggest that good Street Photography is usually quite compact, in so far as there is (usually) very little image real-estate used as: a background; a palette or negative space. Many attempts at Street Photography are spoiled by vast expanses of inconsequential space which are distracting as they are only vying for the Viewer’s attention.

    ***

    Technically –

    Based upon the most technical errors I have seen in attempts at this genre, I suggest these technical elements are basic and integral to good street work:

    • You always have you camera set at an ISO which will allow you:
      1. to render the Subject Still
      2. to make the shot without any camera movement
      3. to have sufficient Depth of Field
    • As you may often be working at high ISO - always expose the main subject correctly: do NOT underexpose.
    • You need to be both alert and also quick on the shutter – the moment is often: fleeting.


    ***

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  6. #6
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    Hi Kartik

    Firstly, where in Northern Italy are you travelling to/through? I have visited many times (last visit was last month) so I may be able to give you some pointers.

    D90 and 18-105 is what I started out with. Many of my shots from Vietnam and Cambodia are with this combo (I'll post a few in this thread if you don't mind). You won't have a problem of equipment letting you down - in good light. In evenings and lower light, you have the VR on the 18-105 but you will have a slow shutter and people will blur. You're better off with the f1.8 that the 35mm gives, but that focal length wasn't my favourite on a crop sensor body.

    So in lower light, with people, you're better off raising your ISO to give you shutter speeds of around 1/80th to 1/100th when using the 35mm or 18-105mm. Be careful though as the D90's not the best at high ISO. ISO1600 or 3200 at an absolute push should give you acceptable results. If the colour desaturates in the image, consider converting to black and white where this becomes less of an issue and grain can be an added bonus.

    Street photography is a many varied thing. Some people like to get up close, some people shoot from further away. Where possible I like to watch my backgrounds as much as the subject. If the background is not giving anything to the image then I may try to blur it out by shooting with a shallow DoF. This again is where the 35mm may be helpful.

    With practice you will develop a style. That style will depend on how you approach your street photography. My better work takes me time to acclimatise with the location and people, let the people get used to me being there and blending in, and letting things just happen around me. Steaming in with a long lens and clicking away like a madman may not help you much! Similarly, vacations don't often lend themselves to great street photography as you don't often have the time to blend in, become a known non threatening face, and balance family commitments at the same time. If you have the time, you're very lucky!

    Often the easiest places to shoot street life and scenes while on vacation are markets. There is always lots of interaction, you have captive subjects (stall holders) who don't generally mind too much if you don't get in there way, and you're capturing the local culture, foods etc. Depending on where you are Italy there will generally be a local market in the area each morning.

    So I'd advise to just enjoy the vacation, don't let the camera take over your trip but always have it with you, have your 35mm on at night, and shoot away as much as possible. And check your LCD for blown highlights and dial in some -ive exposure compensation if required. In the far better light of Europe and the Far East (compared to Dubai) I virtually always had around -0.7EV dialled in as my D90 tended to over expose a little.

    And shoot RAW if you're processing images through Photoshop etc.

    Or shoot RAW plus JPG is you're not currently processing images through Photoshop etc. I have revisited images from past vacations several times, and shooting in RAW had helped to create nice images from original shots where I didn't have the processing know-how at the time.

    And now for some D90 and 18-105mm VR love (I really enjoyed this camera - it scares me how much I miss the functionality and ergonomics of the D90 an upwards bodies in the Nikon range whenever I come across someone wanting me to take their photo with a D5000/D3000!)

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  7. #7

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    Re: Advise

    Some of the best advice for street photographers is to be familiar enough with your equipment that you can shoot quickly and accurately. Street images are often fleeting in nature and the good street photographer not only needs to recognize what makes a good shot but be able to capture that shot before it disappears.
    rpcrowe

    Miss a shot because of slow shutter speed blur? Use ISO Sensitivity (Nikon) This sets your camera to automatically raise your ISO if your shutter speeds falls below a speed you decide on. You choose and preset a minimum shutter speed. If your camera ies to go below that, the ISO will bump up to increase the shutter speed

    Hang out in one spot for awhile at a busy place. Just sit in one spot and wait. For example, you might want to add some contrast to a street scene that interests you, so sit and wait until someone with a red shirt walks by into the scene, or maybe it's a colorful umbrella, or maybe you sit idle until a street vendor in front of you makes a sale, etc...etc. (Thanks to author Scott Kelby and Scott Dussa for these tips. Digital Photography Part 4, pp.111-113)

    Don;t miss Cinque Terra if near Tuscany!

  8. #8

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    Re: Advise

    Italy is such a rich spot for photography of all sorts you will not be wanting for subjects. I do not consider myself a street photographer, but taking shots of locals and tourists in around the streets of Rome and Florence is just a natural sort of thing. The streets always seem full of people. Siena does not even allow cars. The historical buildings lining the narrow streets makes for amazing opportunities. In fact, some of the classic shots such as a sole old woman in a narrow street are so available you might start worrying about cliches! My only advice is to be friendly and talk to your subjects. Show them your pictures. That is, after you got a few candid snaps.

  9. #9

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    Re: Advise

    Hi again,
    Thank you everyone for such nice advise. I hope I can put it to practice. And some very nice pictures u guys have posted.
    I have a few more questions, while taking pictures of huge buildings, I find it very difficult to get the whole thing in frame, and when the whole thing is some how in one frame they look horribly 2 dimensional and boring. How can I take photos of interesting building without making them incomplete or boring.
    Also I have seen a lot of street Photos and a good percentage are in B&W, i must ask, is it predecided that the pics will be B&W or it is solely a postprocessing decision.
    Kartik

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by kaushikkartik View Post
    . . . taking pictures of huge buildings, I find it very difficult to get the whole thing in frame, and when the whole thing is some how in one frame they look horribly 2 dimensional and boring. How can I take photos of interesting building without making them incomplete or boring.
    Look at the light: dimensionality and depth can be created with light and shadow:
    Advise
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    The widest lens you have is 18mm on a Nikon APS-C. If you can step back, then you can often correct convergence in Post Production. Convergence was corrected in Post Production:
    Advise
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    If you cannot step back then, often looking up make life interesting:
    Advise
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    Get out early, when there is no clutter:
    Advise
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    Get high and far and use a telephoto lens:
    Advise

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaushikkartik View Post
    a lot of street Photos and a good percentage are in B&W, i must ask, is it predecided that the pics will be B&W or it is solely a postprocessing decision.
    Have a read of this.


    WW

  11. #11
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    As William mentioned, you can:

    Use the converging verticals to your advantage, to add some drama

    Correct in Photoshop/Elements (but you need to leave some space above the building to stretch, otherwise the building will appear shorter and more squat)

    Shoot with the camera level with the ground. You'll have a lot a empty space in the foreground at the bottom of the image, but can crop this out

    Try panoramas

  12. #12
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Advise

    Hi Kartik – let me throw some other thoughts at you.

    One thing that I notices about my own travel photography was that my pictures tend to get better as the trip goes on. I attribute that to the fact that while I do try to pick up the camera at least every couple of weeks, I don’t get anywhere near the intensity or practice that I should. I have now started to do what competitive athletes do; start training.
    I will try to figure out what I expect to be shooting on the trip and will try to get out and practice shooting and working in post (which helps tune my shooting style). As an example; we went on a long trip to Namibia about 18 months ago; so I started shooting landscapes around town and got out to a nature reserve about 20 minutes out of town to start shooting wildlife a few weeks prior to the trip. Canadian animals may not look a lot like African ones, but at least I got to practice shooting animals, with a long lens, sitting in a car. I’ve also headed out into the country and shot farm animals.

    You might want to consider doing something like this. Get out where you live and take the kind of shots you expect to be taking. Building exteriors and interiors, people on the street etc. Play with your camera settings to see how you might want to tackle ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Look at them when you have finished and figure out how you might improve.

    I’m doing something similar myself right now. I am planning a driving trip by myself to the east coast of Canada in about 3 weeks, so I go out and shoot wilderness, city scenes, waterscapes (using the Ottawa River to stand in for the Atlantic Ocean) etc. Just to hone my skills. I want to try shooting some fishing docks and equipment using a particular fashion technique with studio lights outdoors, so I am using small trees and rocks around the house as a proxy for this type of shooting.

    If you do this right, you will be a lot more comfortable and get a lot better shots when you travel.

  13. #13

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    Larry Saideman

    Re: Advise

    Shoot sections of buildings and use the angle to your advantage.
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