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.
Archives for September 2016
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 what.
More articles on creativity
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 you had when you were younger and in college. Stay hungry, stay foolish, and don’t give up on yourself.
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 yourself in the butt, and you swear that you will always go by your gut-intuition next time.
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
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 photography composition articles
More in-depth composition articles below:
- Composition Lesson #1: Triangles
- Composition Lesson #2: Figure-to-ground
- Composition Lesson #3: Diagonals
- Composition Lesson #4: Leading Lines
- Composition Lesson #5: Depth
- Composition Lesson #6: Framing
- Composition Lesson #7: Perspective
- Composition Lesson #8: Curves
- Composition Lesson #9: Self-Portraits
- Composition Lesson #10: Urban Landscapes
- Composition Lesson #11: “Spot the not”
- Composition Lesson #12: Color Theory
- Composition Lesson #13: Multiple-Subjects
- Composition Lesson #14: Square Format
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 Beef Pho, and I just had an idea for a letter— talking about language acquisition and how it has been for me to learn a foreign language (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 a bit overrated. Don’t be afraid to bring the camera up to your eye, interact with strangers, and chat them up. However there are certainly times you want to be more covert– especially if you’re shooting somewhere you shouldn’t be shooting. Regardless, always have a stout heart, don’t hesitate, and make the photos you were destined to shoot!
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 in-depth lecture on how to conquer your fear of shooting street photography, watch the video below:
Articles how to conquer your fear of shooting street photography
- Shoot What You’re Afraid Of
- You Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
- How to Channel Your Fear into Bravery in Street Photography
- Don’t Be Afraid
- How to Overcome Your Fear in Street Photography with “Rejection Exposure Therapy”
- How to Harness Your Fear to Become a More Confident Street Photographer
- How to Avoid Paralysis by Analysis in Street Photography
- How to Become a Fearless Street Photographer
- How to Become an Invisible Street Photographer
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.
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.
Matter lays inert if an outside force doesn’t act upon it. If you want a ball to roll, you need to push it.
How do you expect to unlock your own potential, and set your ideas in motion, if you don’t give it an outside push?
There are no “rights” and “wrongs” when it comes to defining “street photography.” It is your definition. For me, street photography is documenting humanity. It can be done in a public space (subway, mall, park) or can even be done in indoor public spaces.
There are a lot of different styles in street photography (candid, street portrait, witty observations, urban landscapes). Find the style that best fits your voice, and shoot from the heart.
Many of us have creative ideas. But complexity is what gets in the way.
I recently did my first fashion shoot, with the help of my good friend Bil Brown. Here is some GoPro behind-the-scenes footage, shot by Cindy.
If you haven’t read the article, read: 7 Lessons I’ve Learned Shooting Fashion Photography For the First Time.
I read an article recently about James Altucher— in which he shared the secret of becoming a great DJ is knowing how to “clear the dance floor” — meaning, you choose a song that isn’t popular, which causes everyone to stop dancing and leave. Having the courage to play a song that you like (but you know that everyone else hates) takes courage. It takes guts.
Currently at “The Coffee House” in Hanoi, and really caffeinated (just had a double-shot of espresso, and some of Cindy’s iced coffee).
Being here in Hanoi is absolutely wonderful. We are currently staying at the Hanoi Palace City Hotel (which we thought was a 4-star, but more like a 2-star), but still the place is clean, has great service, and in a great location.
I just want to use this diary to share some of my first impressions of Hanoi, and how daily life is here:
I was recently thinking about what my purpose in life is. And I think I got it (for now): “My purpose in life is to empower others.” Pretty simple, huh?
I’ve thought about it a lot— and also the more I’ve given, the more I’ve received. It is a positive feedback loop. Help others to the best of my extent, and then all of my needs are taken care of.
How does your photography empower you, and how can you empower others?