Video: How to Overcome Photographer’s Block

Inspired by the recent free e-book I wrote: “How to Overcome Photographer’s Block,” I also made a video (for those of you who prefer audio as well).

For audio, you can listen below:

Podcast links

Here are some topics I cover in this video:

  1. How to overcome perfectionism
  2. On giving yourself permission to make bad art
  3. How to overcome paralysis by analysis
  4. Thinking “Life-photography integration”
  5. The best camera bag is no camera bag
  6. The importance on focusing on the process, not the outcome in photography
  7. The importance of going to random places in town, traveling, and injecting more novelty into your life
  8. Experimenting with film, medium-format, color, or digital
  9. Sticking with one camera and one lens
  10. Buy books, not gear
  11. The importance of connecting with other photographers
  12. Pick up a different art
  13. Have caffeine
  14. Publish your work
  15. Ask for critiques
 Lastly, here are some specific assignments you can try to overcome photographers’ block:
  • Assignment #1: Shoot a roll of film everyday for 30 days
  • Assignment #2: Don’t upload your photos for 6 months
  • Assignment #3: Start a photo blog
  • Assignment #4: Shoot an entire day without film or a memory card
What are some tips you have for overcoming photographer’s block? Share them in the comments below!

“Photography is Photography, a Photo is a Photo”: Interview with Neil Ta

I just had a recent chat with my manager and good friend Neil Ta. Neil is a professional photographer based in Toronto (shoots wedding and commercial work), and his passion is photography. He has dabbled in many different genres of photography, including “urbex” (urban exploration), “rooftopping” (getting to really high places), documentary photography (he is working on a long-term project on “Alexandra Park“, a public-housing complex for low-income families which is being gentrified for expensive condos), and street photography.

In this video interview, we delve deep into lots of different topics. Neil shares how he first got into photography, why he decided to quit his job and travel the world for 6 months+, how we met, not being pigeon-holed in photography, his love (and hate) relationship with film, and why he is currently shooting on a Hasselblad Xpan.


You can listen to the audio podcast below:

Read more to see the topics we covered in the interview, and lots of inspirational links:

[Read more…]

Video: Why I’m Switching Back to Black and White Film for Street Photography

In this video I talk to Karl Edwards from StreetShootr on why I plan on switching back to black and white film (Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600) and we just geek out about black and white film in general, enjoy!

If you want to learn how to shoot street photography on film, I recommend reading these articles below:

  1. Introduction to Shooting Film in Street Photography
  2. A Guide on How to Shoot Street Photography on a Film Leica (or Rangefinder)
  3. What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year
  4. Why Digital Is Dead For Me In Street Photography
  5. The Benefits Shooting Both Film and Digital in Street Photography
  6. 10 Tips on Shooting Street Photography on Film

Interview with Karl Edwards on Starting StreetShootr, Street Photography as a Harmonica, and How to Shoot with a Leica

I just did a fun interview with my good friend Karl Edwards (he runs StreetShootr) and has a blast chatting about his start in street photography, his tension between shooting film and digital, practical tips on how to shoot with a Leica, his favorite photography books, and why he likens shooting street photography to playing a harmonica. The format is similar to when I “ambush” interviewed him in Provincetown as a part of the Magnum workshop.

You can see Karl’s work on Flickr and his Website. Make sure to check out StreetShootr and to follow on Twitter.

Photos by Karl Edwards

16317987818_d0675dbe2c_c 16506888265_825a18819a_c 16969030255_fda8b5508c_c

Show notes

Here are some photographers Karl recommends checking out on Flickr:

And a few photobooks Karl recommends:

I also have an upcoming interview with StreetShootr soon, stay in the loop!


Video Lecture: How to Shoot Street Portraits

Dear streettogs, if you want to learn more of how to shoot street portraits, I just put together a 47-minute video lecture for you! In this lecture I cover what “street portraits” are (and how they differ from “street photography”), how to approach strangers, how to overcome the fear of rejection, as well as practical tips for shooting street portraits.

You can see and download all the slides for free on Slideshare or on Google drive.

To learn more about street portraits, check out my Chicago Street Portraits POV videos on YouTube.

30 Tips When Shooting Street Portraits

Below are some of the tips I included from the presentation on how to shoot street portraits (and a few extra freebies):

  1. Keep working the scene until your subject forgets about you
  2. Ask your subject to move to an interesting background
  3. You don’t need to photograph your subject’s face
  4. Take a photo of your subject looking at you / not looking at you
  5. Focus on the edges
  6. Ask your subject to look down / look up
  7. Provoke a response
  8. Remember you’ll never see them again (don’t miss out on the opportunity)
  9. Be genuinely interested in your subject
  10. Compliment your subject
  11. Talk to your subject before asking to take their photograph
  12. Realize that just because you had a good interaction doesn’t mean it is a good photograph
  13. Look for dramatic light
  14. Ask your subject: is it okay if I move you?
  15. Slightly touch your subject to change their posture, direction, or position
  16. Ask your subject not to smile
  17. Shoot both landscapes/vertical photos
  18. Shoot from different perspectives
  19. Get close, then get closer
  20. Talk to your subjects while photographing them
  21. Realize a posed photograph can look candid
  22. Capture the “unguarded moment”
  23. Try to shoot with / without a flash
  24. Capture hand gestures (get their hands close to their face)
  25. Shoot the same framing more than once (realize that their face direction might move, or facial gesture)
  26. Look for the surrounding environment (environmental portraiture)
  27. Realize a street portrait is more about yourself, not your subject
  28. Try to capture an “authentic” look that doesn’t look too posey
  29. Focus on details (use macro mode)
  30. Don’t feel guilty about “wasting your subject’s time” (they love the attention)

What are some tips you have when it comes to shooting street portraits,  or any questions you might have? Leave them in the comments below!

Free E-Book: How to Overcome Photographer’s Block

BIG - How to Overcome Photographer's Block - Cover

I am excited to announce that I just finished writing a new book titled: “How to Overcome Photographer’s Block“. If you have ever felt lack of motivation, inspiration, or direction– this is the book for you!

If you’re in a creative rut, learn how to break out of your “photographer’s block” with this comprehensive and practical manual. In this book, I share practical tips, guidance, and assignments to break out of any creative barrier you have with your photography, no matter how severe.

You will learn how to overcome perfectionism, “paralysis by analysis”, giving yourself the permission to make “imperfect photos”, learn how to integrate your life with photography, how to focus on the process (not the outcome), how to add more novelty and randomness to your life, and more.

The book is “open source,” meaning you can share it, remix it, and do anything you want with it for free. Feel free to share it with a friend, print it out, or even translate it into a different language!

You can download the book for free in these formats:

Enjoy :)

Other free ebooks:

  1. Street Photography 101: An Introduction to Street Photography (translation into Portuguese here)
  2. The Street Photography Project Manual
  3. 31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography
  4. The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
  5. Letters from a Street Photographer
  6. Street Photography Aphorisms, Heuristics, and Sayings

You can also read the full book for free below, and you can save it to Pocket or Instapaper:

[Read more…]

Eric Kim Life Diary #4: Switching to Black and White Film, What I’m Reading, Random Life Musings

Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600, locked and loaded.

Kodak Tri-X pushed to 1600, locked and loaded.

Dear streettogs,

Life is good in Berkeley! Just finished a fun 1-day intensive street photography portrait crash course workshop in SF, and after meeting all the great students, I’m more pumped up to write articles, produce content, and share what’s in my neck of the woods!

[Read more…]