Abstract leading lines

You can make epic night and winter street photographs, just remember to go out and shoot!


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STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual

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1. Leading lines

Abstract leading lines

Use compositional leading lines at night, to draw your viewers eyes to the main subject.

In this scene, I was going downstairs to the bathroom at Ippudo ramen restaurant in London, and I saw these vibrant red leading lines. I waited a second, and was lucky enough to have a waitress walking up the stairs that made this shot:


2. Evening melancholy mood

Man in office building at night. London, 2018
Man in office building at night. London, 2018

I’ve been inspired a lot by Edward Hopper, and love his melancholy mood of his paintings and especially his evening pictures. I was inspired to make the above image just walking around at night before dinner with my RICOH GR II and ERIC KIM NECK STRAP, in Program mode, ISO 1600. Below are some paintings from Edward Hopper that allowed me to see the scene, and thus shoot:

Here is the office worker painting by Edward Hopper I particularly love, because of the sense of isolation, yet hope.

Edward Hopper office worker

Lesson: Study paintings and shoot at night

Study the work of Edward Hopper or other painters and artists. Find the inspiration from their pictures, and shoot more at night!


3. Shoot into windows at night

Contact sheet. Man at night through glass. London, 2018
Contact sheet. Man at night through glass. London, 2018

I love shooting through windows at night, with the condensation on the windows. Get close, and try to get eye contact with your subjects.

For this scene, I got close, and started to shoot. He noticed me, and then I smiled and waved through the glass. He also smiled. And I kept clicking.

Assignment: Shoot into windows at night

Shooting into windows at night. London

Don’t be afraid of photographing into windows. Look for bars, coffee shops, restaurants, or any places open at night. Try to photograph the mood, with the obscured glass windows, and any blurry surfaces, with condensation.

When photographing people through windows at night, try to get eye contact for more intimate and connected photos.

Abstract blur at night. London, 2018

Also experiment just shooting random stuff through windows, and capture an emotion or mood.


4. Shoot with a flash, pretend like you’re shooting something behind people

Night street photograph with flash. Lisbon, 2018
Night street photograph with flash. Lisbon, 2018

Shoot with a flash at night in crowded downtown business areas, and just pretend like you’re shooting advertisements behind people. This will allow you to have more flexibility to shoot at night, and also make more interesting photos with better exposure.

Lisbon flash street photo

Also when shooting with a flash at night, try to shoot your subjects off-center (either on extreme left or right of the frame), to add more dynamism to your composition, and also try seeing if your photos can follow the “Golden triangle” composition.

“Golden triangle” composition overlay outlined in red
“Golden triangle” composition overlay outlined in red


5. Shoot a street portrait at night with permission

If you’re shooting at night, stop someone, ask for permission to make their portrait. Use a flash or with natural light, with a high ISO like 1600-3200.

You can find lots of great subjects to photograph at night, and the worst when you ask for permission is that someone will say “no”. Often they say, “yes!”

eric kim street photography - the city of angels - black and white-4-street-portrait-hearts-tattoo-downtown-la
Hearts. Downtown LA, 2011. Street portrait with flash and permission.

Some pictures below from my “Old Colony” project shot at a bar at night in Provincetown:

Provincetown, 2015. Shot with permission. I asked the woman to stand in front of this poster.
Provincetown, 2015. Shot with permission. I asked the woman to stand in front of this poster.

Provincetown-The-Old-Colony-3

Provincetown-The-Old-Colony-5


Conclusion

Mannequin flash Lisbon

The secret to happiness as a photographer is just to shoot more, with less restraint. Shoot all the time, no matter how shitty or cold the weather.

Treat every opportunity as a good chance to make photographs, and also always expand your oppportunities to shoot street photography, whether during the day during your commute, or in the evenings at night after work, or when it is dark in the winter.

JUST SHOOT IT.
ERIC


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