7 Things I Have Learned About Shooting Street Photography in Color

1x1.trans 7 Things I Have Learned About Shooting Street Photography in Color

(Above photo: From my newly published “Downtown LA in Color” series)

I have always shot street photography in black and white. After all, it is what all the classic street photographers did. Whenever looking at famous photographs shot by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Garry Winogrand, and so forth they were always black and white.

The last 6 months or so I have shot exclusively using color film (Portra 400). After about 5 years of shooting mostly black and white and now shooting mostly color I have learned a lot about the benefits and the difficulties of shooting in color. I have also discovered many influential early color photographers who have had a profound impact on myself.

Curious? Read on.

Black and white as art

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Mumbai, India 2011

“There are four simple words for the matter, which must be whispered: Color photography is vulgar. When the point of a picture subject is precisely its vulgarity or its color-accident through man’s hand, not God’s, then only color film can be used validly.” – Waker Evans

It is the general trend that fine art photography has been shot in black and white. After all, black and white was the only easily accessible film from the beginning of photography for many decades.

Once color film hit the scene, people weren’t quite sure what to make of it. Photographers who shot with black and white their entire careers saw color as something that only amateurs used.

However in the next following decades, more photographers started to experiment with the medium. Stephen Shore, Fred Herzog, William Eggleston, and Joel Sternfeld were a few of the early color pioneers.

Below is a quote which initially drew me to black and white in street photography:

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph theirclothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”  – Ted Grant

I always loved shooting street photography in black and white. I loved how black and white was much more simple than color, and helped me focus on composition, light, silhouettes, and the overall mood. Ever since I started street photography, I was also drawn to the gritty black and white work of Daido Moriyama and William Klein- and preferred the high-grain and high contrast post-processing (which I used Silver Efex Pro 2 to re-create a similar look).

Shooting color was frustrating to me. It was quite distracting, as the color would always fight for the attention in the photograph, sometimes drawing the attention away from the subject in the photograph (and causing the viewer to focus on something in the background).

At the time, I was more interested in capturing the soul of people, not their clothes. But what if it was their clothes I was interested in?

My transition into color

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Singapore, 2011

One thing I hate about shooting in RAW is that the initial files are very dull and flat. Especially in color, you need a considerable amount of post-processing to make the photographs look good in color. Not only that, but it was a pain in the ass for me to do color-correction as well as white-balance. Black and white was much more straight-forward and easier for me.

When I was in Singapore last year, I was shooting a mini-project on capitalism in Singapore. I was fascinated by the shopping-culture there, and a focus on material goods (BMW’s, Mercedes, McDonalds, Starbucks, Louie Vuitton, etc.). It reminded me much of the states.

Therefore I started shooting the project with my Leica M6 in black and white film (Tri-X). However I became very disappointed in my images, as black and white didn’t seem to be the correct medium to capture capitalism.

I took a photograph of a Coca-Cola machine that glowed crimson red at night, illuminated by the backlight inside the machine. I took a photograph of it, and was dismayed to see that shooting it in black and white stripped it of much of the meaning.

After all, is Coca-Cola truly Coca-Cola without the red?

The turning point was when I decided to experiment with a roll of Superia 1600 (that my friend Ryan Cabal gave to me when back in Korea). I ran out of black and white film one day, and decided to shoot with the color film.

When I got the film back, I stumbled upon a photograph I took of a little girl. She had polka dot sunglasses on, and was eating a McDonalds ice cream cone. The photograph popped out at me, and had so much more vitality, life, and description than the black and white photographs I had been taking prior.

If I shot the photograph in black and white, I wouldn’t have noticed the subtleties in the photograph (the polka dots in her sunglasses) nor would I have spotted that her ice cream cone was from McDonalds (from the yellow and red on the wrapper).

After coming back home to Los Angeles, I decided to experiment with color film.

Shooting Downtown LA in color

1x1.trans 7 Things I Have Learned About Shooting Street Photography in Color

Downtown LA, 2012

I wanted to experiment shooting street photography with color film, and looked online for some recommendations. Nearly everyone recommended Kodak Portra 400 to me, as it gave fantastic skin tones, had nice saturation, and wasn’t too difficult to find (I have discovered B&H Photo to be the cheapest place to purchase it online at ~$7 a roll).

Before shooting Portra 400, I was shooting TRI-X pushed to 1600. I heard that Portra 400 pushed nicely to 1600 (I have tried it and yes, it does look lovely) but the problem was I didn’t know any local labs that could push C-41 color film to 1600 (for a reasonable price).

Around the time I discovered that my local Costco in Los Angeles (Marina Del Ray to be specific) processed C-41 color film and gave you high resolution scans (~3500px wide) for only ~$5 a roll. Not a bad deal. The only problem was they couldn’t push film nor develop black and white film (unless you are using C-41 black and white film).

I bought a bunch of color film to shoot, and headed to my usual stomping grounds, the fashion district in Downtown LA. Except for shooting black and white like I usually did, I would be shooting in color.

The Fashion District – in Black and White

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2011

The fashion district is one of the most colorful places in Downtown LA, with vendors selling all sorts of things. Clothes, fabrics, hats, sunglasses, toys, and so forth. There are store merchants constantly chanting and advertising their discounts, signs abundant, and narrow alleyways where you can purchase whatever you want.

A year ago I helped host “YOU ARE HERE” which was a project conceived up of Jacob Patterson and Nima from the ThinkTank Gallery in Downtown LA and sponsored by Leica-Camera USA. The concept was that many photographers from Los Angeles (and outside) to participate in a week of photographing the fashion district (in one square block) for a week. There was then an exhibition sponsored by Leica-Camera in which each photographer showcased their 3 strongest images.

For the exhibition, I ended up sharing 3 photographs (all in black and white). I was engrossed into focusing on faces, light, shadows, as well as patterns and contrast.

Shooting in color forced me to see the world and shoot in a different way. I had to focus on looking specifically for color – namely the colors of people’s shirts, their sunglasses, pants, shoes, the patterns of fabric, and the different hues of ice cream that people would eat.

The Fashion District – in Color

1x1.trans 7 Things I Have Learned About Shooting Street Photography in Color

The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

For the next few months (on and off in-between my travels) I shot the Downtown LA Fashion district (and beyond) in color film. I reckon I must have shot around ~30-40 rolls, (~1080-1400
photos). I embarked on this project with no special theme in mind, except I would try to showcase the Color in Downtown LA.

Although in the beginning it was difficult to see in color, after the first few weeks I felt that a veil was lifted off my eyes. I started to see the world differently, and was filled with excitement with what the medium of color could bring me.

I shot the project with my Leica M6/Leica MP and with my Leica SF20 flash (mounted on the hot shoe). I did the majority of my shooting during the day in the shade, shooting at f/8, 50th of a second, and flash at minimum power to draw them out of the shadows – as well as further saturate the colors.

Whenever I would get my film processed and scanned, I would try to do some rough edits on Lightroom, and then would export the “maybe” photographs to my iPad. Then during my travels I would carry around my iPad and ask for editing suggestions from my fellow photography friends & acquaintances for their suggestions.

I have now a final edit of around 10 images (thanks to Cindy for the final editing suggestions) that I feel best showcase the color work I have done in Downtown LA during the last several months. 10 shots of 1400 shots (~40 rolls) is a keeper rate of .7%, which equates to having roughly one keeper per 4 rolls of film (1 photo per 144 shots).

I wish I had more time to work on the project (I cannot as I am moving to Michigan at the end of August when I come back from my trip).

Practical tips when shooting color

Above I talk about some of my personal experiences shooting street photography in color. Here are some practical advice I would give to those of you who want to shoot more color street photography (based on my experiences):

1. See the world in color

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

When you go out and shoot street photography in color, see the world in color.

When I was shooting black and white, the world looked like a different place. I was focused on looking at expressions, shapes, lines, forms, shadows, and light.

When shooting street photography in color, I would (of course) look for color.

In Downtown LA in the fashion district, I would let my sense of color guide me. Whenever I saw something that was bright red, yellow, blue, green, or pink – I would be immediately drawn to it. When shooting in color, I would also try to consider what other colors would be in the scene, and if I could create any sort of contrast or juxtaposition using it.

What I used to do far too much when shooting RAW in digital was to decide after taking the shot to either keep it color or to convert it into black and white afterwards.

To sum up, when you are out shooting either see the world in black and white or in color – rather than deciding what looks better afterwards.

2. Sequence your photos accordingly

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Broadway. Downtown LA, 2012

When I got down to my final edit for my “Downtown LA in Color” series – I had a final of 10 images.

What I tried to do in my series was to space out the different colors and sequence them.

For example, I start off with the guy in the red suit with the yellow sunglasses, then try to transition into the color cyan (kid with the sunglasses), into the color blue and red (the kid with the power ranger toys), then into a more dominant blue (guy with the strawberries), then into yellow (baby with sunglasses), into pink (lady with belly), back to blue (kid with pink gum), to red (girl in the dog leash), back to cyan and pink (lady with sprite can), and finally with the color pink.

I tried to avoid having two colors that were too similar to be next to one another. Rather, I tried to have the colors in the sequence to contrast one another – and have some general sense of flow.

To show it simpler, this is how I saw the main colors being sequenced:
Red > Cyan > Red/Blue/Green > Blue/Green/Red > Yellow/Cyan/Pink > Pink > Blue > Green > Cyan/Green/Pink > Pink

3. Think of the meaning that color adds to your photos

1x1.trans 7 Things I Have Learned About Shooting Street Photography in Color

Broadway. Downtown LA, 2012

Colors have strong symbols and emotions associated with them. For example:

Red: Power, lust, danger
Yellow: Caution, Energy, Light
Green: Envy, life, nature
Blue: Calm, peaceful, water
Pink: Childish, flowery, feminine
Purple: Royalty, respect, religion

Therefore think about the emotional aspect your colors have in your photograph. For my man in the red suit, I see him as someone who wants to be flashy, be seen as different, and powerful. The child at the end of my series with the ice cream cone looks innocent yet so powerful and feminine. I feel the color pink adds to that effect. One photograph that I love by Jesse Marlow is mostly green, which I feel a sense of gloom, envy, or darkness behind it.

The colors don’t always have to have some sort of symbolic meaning behind it, but it can add to the power and impact of your photograph.

4. Is the sky blue without the blue?

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

This is one question that John Skarkowski mentioned when talking about the work of William Eggleston.

Sometimes color is inextricably linked to and is a part of what you are trying to portray.

For example is McDonalds really McDonalds without the yellow arches and red background? Is coffee really coffee without the deep shade of brown? Can the American flag truly be represented without the red and white stripes?

Shooting in black and white strips photographs of the detail inherent in color. Certain subjects demand to be in color when color is a part of its existence.

5. Consider the project

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

I feel that certain projects work better in either black and white or in color.

For example, when I was shooting my series: “Dark Skies Over Tokyo” it was a dark and gloomy look of Japanese society. Color would have added too much life and vitality to the images – which would have detracted from my central message. In my
“Korea: The Presentation of Self” project, I focused on the question of identity for Koreans, and wanted to make the photographs more ambiguous and emphasize a sense of anonymity.

Generally in the majority of projects I have seen they are all either shot in black and white or in color. Rarely do projects or photo books mix both. Some exceptions I have seen is if a book is separated into two parts (black and white in the beginning, and then color in the end). Also if the majority of the series is in color, some photograph could be added strategically in-between at certain intervals.

However I feel that a project is more powerful if you keep it all in black and white or color.

Why?

I like to use the analogy of a book. If you are reading a book, the look and the feel of the book is consistent. The pages are all white, and the text is black. The font is the same size on each page, and the pages are the same size as well.

Imagine if you read a book in which some of the pages were red (while others white) and in some of the pages in which the font changed or the size of the paper changed. That is kind of like creating a series or photo-book that mixes black & white and color, as well as photographs that are cropped inconsistently.

Of course there are always exceptions, and I think that it comes down to intent. If you want to be inconsistent purposefully (when it comes to black and white vs. color) that is okay. But I strive to you if you choose to go down this route, be inconsistent consistently. If you are going to have color and black and white mixed in a series, space it out evenly (don’t have different colored photos randomly scattered everywhere). Have a black and white photo amongst color photos perhaps every ~5 photos or so. If you are going to mix vertical and horizontal photographs in a series, try to space them out (or clump them together).

6. Look for the light (or create it)

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

I feel when you are shooting in color, looking for the light is even more important than when you are shooting with black and white.

If you are shooting during mid-day (noon) when the light is harsh it will look even worse in color. Your highlights will be blown out of control, and there will be little dynamic range. Black and white makes this look not as bad (but shouldn’t be used simply as a cover-up for poor lighting).

Therefore when you are shooting in color, try to wait when the light is good to start shooting. This includes sunrise and sunset (during “golden hour”).

Another strategy is to use flash during the day. For my “Downtown LA in Color” series I shot with my flash in the shade, which gave my subjects some fill and helped separate them from the background. It also made the colors in the photographs pop more. I also prefer shooting flash during the day because your subjects barely notice it (whereas if you do it during the night you can freak them out.

For those of you who are curious, for this project I shot with my Leica M6/MP, at f/8 (for subjects at 1.2 meters) and f/16 (for subjects at .7 meters). I used Portra 400 film and shot it at 400. The flash I used with my Leica SF 20 (shot at minimum power at 1/8th output).

If you want to use flash during the day in the direct sunlight, make sure to have a nice balance between your flash output and exposure settings. Generally this will mean you will have to shoot with a low ISO (50, or 100), with a high F-Stop (f/16-22), fast shutter speed (250ths/sec or faster), and with a higher flash output. This will give you a proper exposure for the background, and your flash will have to be strong enough to properly expose your subject.

7. Research color photographers

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The Fashion District. Downtown LA, 2012

When I was learning more about shooting street photography in color, I started to do a ton of research on color street photographers and started to buy a bunch of books.

Some books by photographers I would recommend you check out:

William Eggleston: Chromes

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This one is expensive but one of my favorite color photography books. It is a 3-book series published by Steidl and shows unpublished color slide film by Eggleston over his career. The color print quality is phenomenal (any book published by Steidl is superb) and will easily be a collector’s item in the next 5-10 years. Thanks to Charlie Kirk for the recommendation.

Bruce Davidson: Subway

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One of Bruce Davidson’s best work, also published by Steidl. It is about him shooting the grimy subways in NYC in the 80’s, where graffiti, violence, and grime in the subways run rampart. He used a flash in the project, and really brought out an incredible source of energy in the photographs. Another of my favorites with amazing photographs, great sequencing, and print quality.

Martin Parr: The Last Resort

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This book is considered one of Martin Parr’s best books. He shot the sleepy beach town of New Brighton – of working-class families on vacation. Although the book was quite controversial, the photographs he captured were breath taking. Not only were the colors deep and vibrant, but also the photos were full of life and intimate. He also shot this project on a medium-format camera, which gives the photographs great details.

Martin Parr: Common Sense

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After publishing “The Last Resort” – Parr ditched his medium-format, and instead switched back to 35mm film and used a SLR camera, macro lens, and ringlight flash. He shot the photos with a cheap amateur color film, which made them look ridiculously over-saturated and quite cheesy. However it makes the photographs all that much more powerful.

Fred Herzog: Photographs

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Fred Herzog was one of the earliest street photographers shooting in color, but hasn’t received international recognition until the last several years. His Kodachrome photographs in Canada show a colorful and changing neighborhood, and the energy and soul of his neighborhood. A definite must-buy.

Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects

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Good luck finding this book. It is mostly out-of-print everywhere I go, and haven’t been able to purchase my own copy yet. But if you can find it in your library, it will blow you away.

Sternfeld captures fantastical scenes that are exploding with color, on a road-trip across America with a large-format camera.

Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places

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Shore was also one of the early pioneers of color. He too traveled across the states with a large-format camera and started to shoot the American urban landscape in deep colors. Another great resource to have.

Joel Meyerowitz: Cape Light

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Meyerowitz was one of the earliest practitioners of street photography in color. Not only did he create a solid body of work in color, but he also experimented using a large-format camera and shot one of his seminal books: “Cape Light” which really focus on the beauty and quality of the light. Not street photography by any regards, but essential for anyone studying color.

Zoe Strauss: America

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With signs, portraits, and architecture – Strauss created an incredibly intimate look into the American landscape. Having lived in tough neighborhoods her entire life, she was able to build rapport with people she found in her every-day life and travels who also were having rough and tough times. Her hard work and efforts have awarded her dearly, with an invitation into Magnum, one of the most prestigious photo agencies in the world.

Alex Webb: The Suffering of Light

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Currently one of my favorite color street photographers. Incredible light, layers, and brilliant colors. Check out some of my thoughts about his book here.

Zona: Siberian Prison Camps

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Siberian Prison camps, in color? Check out my review of Zona here.

Conclusion

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Broadway. Downtown LA, 2012

Color is still a medium I am experimenting with, and a medium I still have much to learn about. It has been difficult for me to transition into black and white into color for my photography, but I am excited for all the new possibilities it will inject into my work. Shooting color has also helped me see the world in a new and refreshing way, which is also much more colorful (pun intended).

I don’t think that street photographers should become pigeonholed into feeling that they have to only shoot black and white or only in color. I feel that both mediums should be used when necessary. However my humble suggestion is when you are working on a project, try to focus on having the project entirely in black and white or entirely in color.

I feel that color in street photography shouldn’t be used as an after-thought. We shouldn’t simply keep our photos in color (because they “look better” than in black and white). We should see the world in color, have color inject meaning and purpose into our photographs, and have a statement.

I hope this post has helped inspire you to perhaps start experimenting more street photography in color. Just because all the masters shot street photography in black and white, it shouldn’t mean that we should only shoot in black and white as well. After all, for many of them black and white is the only medium that they had for several decades!

What other advice would you have about shooting street photography in color? Leave your thoughts/feedback in the comments below!

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  • Hasi

    So happy to see you finally shooting in color. Keep up the good work. I look forward to many more blog entries about shooting in color ( now that you have the b/w medium nailed). I’ve been shooting b/w for more than 40 years, and still have much to learn. Hopefully, one day, I’ll graduate to color film.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Cheers Hasi. I’m still learning a lot- but having a ton of fun while doing it. Got some new color projects to be released soon – stay tuned ;)

  • ILPARM
    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Haha oh yes!! Refreshing to see how much has changed in such a short period of time :) Thx for digging this one up Adrian

  • Matt Obrey

    Great blog post Eric, cool to see you experimenting so much and passing your knowledge on.
    great work nailed in bw and colour!
    Look forward to future projects

  • Juliette Mansour

    Well done Eric. I believe that color adds its own perspective and singular character that can NOT be found in black and white. I shoot both. If color is important to the story, it’s going in!! I keep my B&W and color portfolios separate too.

  • Juliette Mansour

    Well done Eric! I believe that color lends a unique element to the story as its own character and perspective. When color is essential to the story, I will use it, no hesitation. I keep my B&W and color separate on my portfolio – http://www.juliettemansour.com Cheers!

  • http://twitter.com/CarlaD carla drago

    Hey Eric, nice to see some colour work. It’s really nice. You mention you have your flash set to low, but what are your settings exactly? I find it really hard to get the right level of fill flash when shooting during the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.ellis.9237 John Ellis

    Thanks for your thoughts, photo’s and recommendations. Nicely done Eric.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liane.hubbins Liane Hubbins

    The Subway book is one of my favourite photography books, the image of with man the gun in it is incredible. I love the lighting and tonal range in your photos, really nice work. Good to see the article about you in Black and White photography magazine this month, too!

  • Ken

    Eric, is the shot of the guy in the cowboy hat at the top of the page shot with Portra 400? I’m amazed and impressed with the fine detail. I love the shot by the way. I’ve just bought a batch of Portra 400 but have not used it yet. I’m just finishing a the batch of Superia before loading the Portra into my M6. I’m excited to see the results now if this is what is achievable.

    Regards, Ken.

  • T.Page

    Color or B&W, film or digital, cameraphone or rangefinder… It all seems like sugar coating to a body of work, that in my opinion is not that compelling. Honestly the images really and truthfully say nothing to me.

    Who cares what camera, film or famous photographer you try and copy if the result is on the bottom end of average. Might it be that by talking about everything that surrounds an image (you know how it goes… iso, lens, camera, film vs digital) you avoid the discussion of the images. An honest and informed discussion about the images you produce and were you are going to go next.

    At the end of the day the image is what counts, not the camera, lens or if you have a great personality. That is the feeling I have on this blog and many other street photography blogs. Which brings me to a couple of conclusion.

    One is the lack of critical analysis by the audience (obvious if people contact the author of this blog for learning purposes, no offence intended to the audience) as it is a lot more difficult to have an opinion based on a contextual analysis than it is to have one on i.e. gear or iso settings. The former takes a lot more work. You have to read, understand, justify your ideas, rework some of them to be able to formulate it and be able to write it. The latter is based on some assumptions/facts about a technology, this case photography. Why do you spend so much time talking about the tools and not the resulting work you produce with these tools? Why do most self proclaimed street photography blogs talk about the same? or what surrounds the image in a technical sense? In this case “colour”, which by the way, says very little about the image, the intention or even the purpose.

    Anyway I guess it is true that In the land of the blind the man with one eye is the king!
    Enjoy!

    • Mergatroid

      I’m guessing you were abused as a child? Or maybe your penis is small?

    • chrisgachot

      I would like to see some of your work. You sound like you know what you are doing. Maybe you could teach everyone here how to be as great as you. Have a link?

      • T.Page

        My intention is not is teaching. That would be pretentious from my part, not many people are able to teach. What I can do is raise some questions on why nobody is talking about what really matters, or at least what I think is slightly more important than film vs digital kind of dialogue. You want to stay on that level in the dialog, please do not let me be the one holding you back. As I said above nobody on these self proclaimed street photography blogs talks about the bigger picture of what creating an image represents.

        As to showing my work. I do not have any to show. Having said that I am sure you are able to make the distinction between a house built by “Mies van der Rohe” and your local architect. You will surely have an opinion on both of them, right? Well show me the house you designed and built before I even consider listening to what you have to say about either.

        My point being that I do not need to make a house to know what a great house looks like, or what an average house looks like. I think this also works for photography. But if I did have some work/link to show, I am sure the remarks/comments would be not about the ideas behind it, but over some insignificant technical detail.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I did take the time to look at your images. I did enjoy your street work. The energy the images convey, the sense that you truly captured some moments in an almost universal city, populated by everyone and no one at the same time. The lost looks and postures of your subjects. Anyway nice photos.

        Sorry if you found my comment offensive or rude. Which I do presume you did for the manner of your reply. Not my intention.

  • Mike

    I think you are missing one vital book on colour photography, and that is from the king of colour – Alex Webb and his book ‘The Suffering of Light’

  • Tobias Weisserth

    Hi Eric,

    due to your hands-on approach, your self-taught “career”, your ambition, your claimed expertise and the fact that you draw a lot of traffic to your blog, you gather a lot of negative feedback on principle. There are your blog posts and then there is your photographic work. I still think that many of your posts are not exactly mature or fail to be as academic as you would like them to be. But that’s OK. Your photography however has definitely matured over the last year and it’s not because you have switched medium from digital to analog or black and white to color. I don’t subscribe to all of your images and photographic ideas, but you are generally “on to something”. With all the negative feedback that your endeavors attract, I wanted to leave some sincere positive feedback.

    Keep doing what you are doing.
    Tobias

    p.s.: talking about color street photography without mentioning Saul Leiter is kind of weird. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nsusatyo Nicholas Susatyo

    Thanks a lot for this Eric – it is a tremendously useful guide! I myself have taken up colour recently as it is more suitable for my current project. Keep up the great work dude! :)

  • Michael Barkley

    This is very helpful, I just started shooting in colour on a project. Switching from BW to colour can be tricky. I have been getting inspiration from Alex webb and Fred Herzogs books. Thanks for posting this.

    Cheers
    Mike

  • http://twitter.com/50mm_Streettog DipayanBhattacharjee

    Hey Eric…
    Cool pics… And a nice shift… I personally started shooting a little bit of color with the recent few projects that I have started to work on… And the person who inspired me to do so, is someone I’d suggest you to check out too… Though he’s not a straight forward street photographer and more of a photojournalist, for me personally, I haven’t seen anyone’s color photography as powerful and as awesome as that of the incredible Steve McCurry…

  • http://www.followtheboat.com/ Jamie Furlong

    Great article and love your usual analytical style of blogging, it’s a useful way for us to learn too.The colour you’re getting out of that Portra 400 is sublime and I’m glad you’ve started posting up your images once more. Keep it up, Eric.

  • Jon Poon

    i think photos of children show more life when in color

  • http://twitter.com/TenchouJoe Jonathan

    Haha, never expected to see a photo from Singapore here. Nice to see you try color films, I recently went into film with my Fm3a and my first few rolls were the Agfa Vista 400 which I find gives a very balance of grains and color.

  • Disraeli Demon

    I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from the work of Magnum member Carl de Keyzer – he shoots primarily colour using medium format rangefinders and flash. His website – http://www.carldekeyzer.com/ – contains galleries showcasing the whole of every major project he’s ever done, so he’s a cheap date as far as getting to know his work goes :-)

  • John Kim

    Eric, glad to see your on-going experiment with color films! Nice works!
    Would you try different color slide films and let us know your thought as well?
    Although slide films are very expensive, these films are fastly disappearing nowadays.
    Even B&H sells only E100VS from Kodak for 35mm slide film now and other slide films are not
    available. I guess slide films from Fuji would be the similar story.
    Nowadays, I am experimenting different kinds of slide films available,
    not easy to do that due to my limited budget as well. :(

    Since you are using more films than ever, it would be nice experiment to do before those films are gone soon.
    Like Alex Webb and Steve McCurry who used slide films a lot and long time. :)
    To start with, I suggest Fuji Provia 100F to start with since you seem to like Portra 400.
    To me, Provia 100F provides good enough skin tone and more natural colors compared to
    Fuji Velvia or Kodak 100VS films which show strong, saturated colors.
    Looking forward to seeing your next experiment. :)
    Cheers,

    • John Kim

      For films of ISO400, I guess Fuji Provia 400X is the only option at this moment.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Nevinlim Nev Lim

    Please come to Singapore again! :D

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  • Chris
  • Joe

    When you shoot your street photography do you get releases from everyone? What about taking photos of kids?

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  • Yoiii

    Just the other day I was indulged in a rather lengthy argument with some friends over color v/s b/w. One of them who was all about b/w then, showed me this link. Your paper is great. And I would love to add my 2 bits here.

    1. As human beings we can not naturally see b/w and “seeing a frame in b/w” is easier said than done. Also our vision is not highly contrasted. We see things is a massively dynamic range. A direct interpretation of which is a very gradual & subtle b/w , which 99% people wont accept. The expectation is to see rich blacks, heavy contrast, blown out whites. But thats not how we see it really is it?

    2. Secondly when its a graduate shift of colors in the same seen, like 3 layers of green or 5 layers of beige with a macaroon on it. They b/w would look the same for various colors, and that is almost robbery.

    I agree with you on braving the world with color and using the b/w filter when there is a need for it.
    Thanks again for sharing this.

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