ERIC KIM

25 Zen Street Photography Tips

Kyoto, 2015


DOWNLOAD PDF: 25 ZEN STREET PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS


  1. When you’re out on the streets, don’t seek to add to the frame, seek to subtract from the frame.
  2. When in doubt, shoot closer.
  3. Don’t aim to make good photos, aim to make personal photos that you like.
  4. Photograph faces in objects you see on the streets.
  5. Shoot like a child— whenever you shoot on the streets, treat it like you were seeing the streets for the first time.
  6. Shoot with your camera in program (P) mode, ISO 1600, center point autofocus, so you can focus more on shooting and getting in the zone and not worrying about the settings of your camera.
  7. Shoot in JPEG, don’t worry about processing your RAW photos. It will simplify your shooting and workflow process afterwards.
  8. Don’t upload photos that you personally don’t like.
  9. When you shoot street photography or travel, only shoot with one camera and one lens, to be less weighed down by your gear, and also less distracted.
  10. Shoot on the streets with your phone off, or in airplane mode.
  11. Treat street photography like walking zen meditation — walk 25% slower than you normally do when you’re on the streets.
  12. Shoot your own city like you were a tourist— the best way to find the beauty of your own “boring” city.
  13. Shoot from a child’s view, shoot from a very low angle, crouching very low, like a child, looking up.
  14. To be more creative, don’t allow yourself unlimited freedom— give yourself “creative constraints” (only shoot one square block from your home, only shoot with one camera and one lens, only shoot black and white, or only shoot one subject matter).
  15. Realize as a photographer, you’re constantly in a state of becoming — you will never be a “perfect” photographer, nor do you desire to become a “perfect” photographer. Rather, we seek to be lifelong amateurs; lovers of photography, with a beginners mind.
  16. When shooting color, limit your color palette — integrate 1-3 primary colors in your frame. Subtract the superfluous and distracting colors.
  17. “When in doubt, click.”
  18. Give yourself permission to make a million bad photos.
  19. Better to find inspiration from 3 master photographers, and get to know their work very very well, than to know the work of 300 photographers superficially.
  20. Don’t just take 1-2 photos of the scene, aim to take many photos of the scene (50-100) to get 1 good photo.
  21. Integrate active negative space in your frame, to let your subjects breathe.
  22. When selecting your photos, only pick the photos that are a “fuck yeah!” (Don’t choose lukewarm photos. Also, follow your gut, only choose photos that excite you).
  23. Everyday, treat it like you had no portfolio or past work. This emptiness will allow you to constantly create new photos and new pictures.
  24. Your goal is to become a master photographer — a master of yourself, your own aesthetics, and your own attitude and approach to photography.
  25. There are no rules in photography or street photography. Only you create the rules.

ERIC


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