Recently I’ve been trying to add more complexity to my work— to shoot more layers. Shooting in layers is more challenging than single-subjects, and requires more visual gymnastics, and luck. Below is a brief guide on how to shoot layers in street photography — and why you might want to try it out:
I remember the first time I came across the work of Helmut Newton. I was in Paris, randomly walking around, when I saw posters for these huge nude photographs. I went to the exhibition, and was blown away by the powerful images of Helmut Newton. His photos of women showed them as powerful, assertive, sexual,… Read more about 7 Lessons Helmut Newton Can Teach You About Photography
Dear friend, I often get the biggest inspiration in my photography and life from non-photographers. Why? I feel that photography is such a tiny field of art, and we can learn so much from outside fields. As photographers, I think we are often constricted. I think to really self-realize your talents, skills, and visions in… Read more about 7 Principles Elon Musk Can Teach You About Photography
Dear friend, Sometimes you might feel guilty photographing your subjects. Sometimes it feels wrong. Sometimes you feel wrong and dirty. What is the most “ethical” way to shoot street photography? For a quick summary, I think street photography comes down to the golden rule: don’t photograph others as you don’t want others to photograph you.
Dear friend, If you’re reading this, you are probably either an aspiring street photographer, or a street photographer with some miles under your belt looking for some inspiration, direction, or motivation. To the best extent of my abilities, I have outlined my top street photography tips below. This is a culmination of the last 10… Read more about 70 Street Photography Tips For Beginners
The two things which I think make a great photograph: composition and emotion. There are tons of articles and videos online about how to compose and frame a good photograph. But how do we capture emotion and soul in a photograph?
Dear friend, I’m currently at “VPRESSO” (my favorite coffee shop in Hanoi), and it is storming outside. Seriously raining buckets, with thunder booming in the air.
I recently got my film Leica MP serviced at Steve’s Camera in Culver City, LA (highly recommended). I have also been focusing on shooting digital (on a Ricoh GR II) for the last 2-3 months. Before that, I was focusing primarily on film for the last 2-3 years.
If we never had any regrets in life, I think many of us would be a lot happier. Regret is the demon of the past which holds us back. Regret is fear that debilitates us from future action. Regret is letting the phantoms of past actions continue to haunt us for no good reason.
Do your photos bring you joy? Or do you shoot to impress others? My suggestion: focus on making photos that make you happy (not others).
When we read books, listen to podcasts, or learn about how to improve— feedback is always one of the key elements.
What are the best technical settings for street photography? Should you shoot fully-manual? Should you use “P” (program) mode? Should you zone focus?
I was going to write an article on the benefits of shooting autofocus versus manual focus— but realized that is kind of a waste of time.
Dear friend, If you’re new to photography, it can be quite daunting. There is so much information on the internet about photography, but a lot of “mis-information” as well. If I started photography all over again, this is the advice I would give myself.
Shooting Night Street Photography with Chu Viet Ha in Tuyên Quang for the Mid-Autumn Festival (Tết Trung Thu)
For this episode, Cindy, myself, Chu Việt Hà and our friend Duc jump on a bus for a day-trip to the province of Tuyên Quang (3 hour bus ride from Hanoi) to shoot the Mid-Autumn festival of Tết Trung Thu.
Dear friend, I think if you’re like me— you want to be “happy” in life. You want to be happy with your photography, with your friends, relationships, and creative endeavors.
Hey guys, just put together a fun little video with my GoPro on my daily morning routine. Wanted to do for 24 hours, but lost a bit of energy towards the end of the day, haha. Anyways, my morning is pretty much like this everyday (except we’re going to move into our serviced apartment in… Read more about Hanoi Vlog #14: My Daily Morning Routine in Hanoi
In this video, I hit the streets of Hanoi with Chu Viet Ha, one of my favorite street photographers from Hanoi. I get footage of him shooting, talk to him about his photographic process, and also share some of his best images. Follow Chu Viet Ha Flickr Instagram Facebook
One of the most Googled search phrases on the internet (regarding photography) is “How to take better photos.” Considering so many people search that phrase, I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on how to take better photos, and what does it exactly mean to take “better” photos?
Whenever I feel frustrated in life, it is because I have a feeling of inertia. I feel like I’m not developing or growing. This often happens in my photography. I keep taking the same type of photo over and over, and I become bored. I want to innovate, to create something new. I want to… Read more about How to Take Your Photography to the Next Level
Dear friends, If you’re interested in learning how to shoot film, start with this guide: Film Street Photography Manual Introduction to Shooting Film in Street Photography What I Learned Shooting 100 Rolls of Black and White Film What I Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year My Experiences Shooting Medium-Format Film in… Read more about Film Photography 101
We all have problems in life. Some of us are overweight, depressed, or tired all the time. Some of us lack creative inspiration, skills, or outlets for our work. Some of us lack motivation, willpower, and strength to take action in our lives.
There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to workout, to photograph, to spend time with your family, to write a blog post, or to read. I feel once we acknowledge this, we would get a lot more meaningful work done in our lives.
We all impose limits on ourselves. We lack faith in ourselves, or make excuses. But ask yourself: “Can I go higher? Have I really hit my limits yet? Can I push myself harder?”
Editor’s note: Last time Stephen was on the blog was over 5 years ago. So it’s nice to welcome him back! This time he shares with us his latest work,a photobook titled Sparks. He also shares with us a very interesting short story at the end. Give it all a read. All photos by Stephen Leslie. Interview… Read more about Mixing Prose and Pictures: An Interview with Stephen Leslie on His Latest Photobook, “Sparks”
Dear friend, I’m currently at the “Kafe Village” and wanted to share some current meditations I’ve been having on life here in Hanoi:
Cindy and I would love to share with you our latest creative collaboration: “The City of Angels” by Eric Kim, Haptic Press limited edition art portfolio.
Pushing Belgian Photography Forward: Interview with BSPF 2016 Head, Daniel Oshi (and BSPF contest reminders)
Editor’s Note: Today we have Daniel Oshi of The Brussels Street Photography Festival. It promises to be a great Photography event highlighting the beautiful city of Brussels and a special insight to Belgian Photography. I talk shop with Daniel and he invites us to join in their contest (more info at the bottom of the… Read more about Pushing Belgian Photography Forward: Interview with BSPF 2016 Head, Daniel Oshi (and BSPF contest reminders)
Dear friend, I wanted to write you this letter in terms of how to have unshakeable confidence in yourself. The problem that I see is that there are so many talented people in the world, yet their talents come short because they lack the confidence in themselves. They expect other people to believe in them—… Read more about How to Have Unshakeable Confidence in Yourself
Keenan Rivals is a street photographer and blogger hailing from Detroit. I’ve been very impressed with his hustle, his passion, and dedication to street photography and the community. Learn more about Keenan and his creative process below:
You were put on this earth for a reason. You have a gift to share with the world. Whether that be your artistic skills, your interpersonal skills, or your idealism. Don’t hold back and waste your potential.
I genuinely believe that creativity isn’t something that is born within us — rather it is a skill we can cultivate. We can cultivate our creativity by “cross-pollinating” different fields of interests, by following our curiosities, and also by setting “creative restraints.” Know that no matter where you are, you can be creative– no matter… Read more about Video: How to Be More Creative in Your Photography
I once read some advice that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dad gave him: “Be useful to others.” I think it is one of the best ways to find “success” in your life, and to contribute value to the rest of humankind.
Life is short and cruel if you don’t follow your dreams. It is easy to be stuck in the cubicle and work a job you hate for 40 years, to await retirement (that might never come), in the hope that “happiness” will happen in the future. My suggestion: don’t give up on your crazy dreams… Read more about Don’t Give Up On Your Dream
In this video, I walk around with my GoPro mounted on top of my Ricoh GRII, and shoot a little street photography in Hanoi. I try to work on layers, and “working the scene”, and even taking some photos of people shooting selfies of themselves. More videos to come!
I’m sure you had this experience before— you’re in class, taking a multiple-choice test. You think the answer is “C”, and you circle it in. Then a second later, you second-guess yourself, and circle “B”. You get the test back in a few days, and you find out the correct answer was “C”. You kick… Read more about Follow Your Gut in Photography and Life
Lately I’ve been studying a lot of fashion photographers. Why? I love how many of them started off as painters— having a concept in their mind, and being able to execute them in real life.
If you want a quick introduction how to shoot better composition in street photography, check out this video. I distill 3 main street photography composition techniques: Leading lines Depth/Layers Triangles You can also watch my longer more in-depth composition presentation below: For an in-depth look, download my free e-book: “The Street Photography Composition Manual.” Street… Read more about Street Photography Composition 101
Dear friend, I am currently at the J.W. Hotel in Hanoi, one of the most ballin’ places I’ve been here so far. Cindy is here for an orientation meeting for her Fulbright scholarship, and I’ve just sat at the cafe all day, reading, writing, and reflecting. I just finished an (overpriced, but delicious) bowl of… Read more about Hanoi Diary #4: Learning How to Speak Vietnamese
If you want to learn how to be more low-key and “invisible” when shooting street photography, here are some tips: Click, pause, move on Click, take a step closer, click, repeat Don’t make eye contact Pretend like you’re shooting something behind them Pretend you’re recording a video Know that being “invisible” in street photography is… Read more about 5 Tips How to Be Invisible When Shooting Street Photography
I have a lot to thank to social media for my “success” in photography and this blog. But what is social media good for, what is it not good for? How do we get more followers, but why do we need more followers?
If you’ve ever wanted to shoot a photograph on the streets, but was nervous or hesitated, try these practical tips and techniques out: What is the worst case scenario? Assume everyone is your friend Convert fear into excitement Ask for permission “Pretend like I’m not here” Photograph their hands Compliment your subject For a more… Read more about 7 Tips How to Conquer Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography
You have an inner-potential that you’re just waiting to unlock. Don’t wait for others to give you permission to fulfill yourself creatively. Start today, and know that you have no limits.
I think as photographers and creatives, we can learn a lot from scientists. Scientists, when trying to discover “truth” — they experiment. They don’t always take conventional wisdom for granted. They challenge pre-existing beliefs, and see whether it is correct or not.
Dear friend, I wanted to give you an update about life in Hanoi, after about 4-5 days of living here, and some random meditations about life.