Lips. Saigon, 2017.


Lips. Saigon, 2017.
Lips. Saigon, 2017.

You are a PHOTO GOD, you can CREATE pictures purely from your own skill, power, and your own control.



What is a Photographer?

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To be a photographer is to make pictures.

A picture is a visual representation of the world. Specifically, a picture is your interpretation of the world around you.

Be a biased photographer.

Hands of 92 year old woman in Hanoi, 2017.
Hands of 92 year old woman in Hanoi, 2017.

That means, you should NOT seek to capture an “objective” reality with your photos. Let Google Maps and Google Street View to do that.

Rather your job is to SHAPE, MOLD, AND TWIST reality and perspective, according to your own whims.

Photography is like playing with VISUAL LEGOS

Hands. New Orleans. I wish I were confident like him.
Hands. New Orleans.

Do you remember when you played LEGOs as a kid, and how you created your own universe and world? Photography is the same, except instead of LEGO building blocks, you have things “in real life” to play with.

For example, as a photographer… you have the control to re-order visual elements to your own delight.


Here are some practical ways to harness more control in your photography:

1. Control your POSITION

Flipped car. Orange County, 2016
Flipped car. Orange County, 2016

For example, you can control where to stand.

Assignment: 3D Body Scan

As an assignment, ask your friend to stand still in the middle of the street. Take 20 photos of them, like a 360 degree panoramic of them. Shoot them head on, from the side, and keep shooting around them, like a 3D-Body scanner.

This will help you better understand position.

2. Control your perspective and angle.

You can control what angle you shoot from… like a super low angle, from eye level, or from a higher perspective looking down.

a. High perspective

Castle. Portugal, 2015.
Castle. Portugal, 2015.

You can change your perspective by climbing on a ladder and shooting down. Or you can climb up stairs of a tall building or skyscraper, and shoot looking down.

Or you can tippy-toe and hold your camera very high, and shoot looking down. This is good when using an LCD screen or your phone.

b. Low perspective

Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM
Jazz Hands. Hollywood, 2011 by ERIC KIM

Shoot by putting your camera on the ground, shooting up. Or lie on your stomach, and shoot up. Or lie on your back.

Shoot from really weird or unusual angles, for more interesting photos.

Eric Kim shooting Jazz hands. Action photo.
Eric Kim shooting Jazz hands. Action photo.

Or just crouch down very low, until you can feel your butt (almost) touch the ground. Good photo assignment, and leg workout (who needs a gym when you got street photography?)

3. Control the light

Shaft of light. Portugal,2015.
Shaft of light. Portugal,2015.

You can control the light by:

  • Shooting with a flash
  • Exposure compensation (either + or -). To over-expose or under-expose.
  • What time of day to shoot
  • What direction to stand, to have the sun against your subject (making a silhouette) or with the sun.

4. Control your photographic apparatus

Paris, 2015
Paris, 2015

Or you can control whether to shoot digital, film, or monochrome, raw, jpeg, or whatever format. This will affect how the image looks.


In and Out. Cindy,
Cindy at in and out, 2015

You are a PHOTO GOD, because you can create reality how you would like to see it… in “your own image”.

So make your own reality with your photography.

Pointing fingers. Prague, 2015.
Pointing fingers. Prague, 2015.




Why do you make photos? Reflect in PHOTO JOURNAL:


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