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Dear friend,

I am fresh off a plane (after being in Mexico City for two weeks, and in Cuba for a week) and back home in (cold) Providence, Rhode Island.

I wanted to use this opportunity to essay some thoughts on composition, street photography, and art.

Composition is something to be conquered

After spending much time thinking — this is what I realized about photography and composition:

To frame a scene is to appropriate reality.

We take building-blocks from reality and we desire to make beautiful art from it.

Is composition something to be conquered?

To conquer composition is a fun idea for me. To be a conquerer is far more interesting, active, and fun than to be a passive receiver.

In photography, our goal is this:

To make beautiful compositions in the streets.

And street photography composition is the most difficult of them all. Why? We deal with real human beings– the most difficult subjects to photograph!

Furthermore, street photography is chaotic, random, and crazy. It is easy to spend an hour to photograph a plant next to a window. It is very hard to super-impose great compositions when you’re shooting on the streets.

The fun game of street photography

If street photography were fun, it wouldn’t be worth doing. Thus, let us remember:

When street photography gets boring for us, the best way to make it more fun is to make it more difficult!

Street photography composition ideas

Some ideas for your street photography composition:

  1. Don’t center your subject: Shoot all of your street photography compositions with your subject either on the extreme far-left of the frame, or the extreme far-right of the frame. Generally speaking, when you make “asymmetric” compositions, your photos will have more energy, zest, and life.
  2. Get super low: Crouch down very low when shooting and get close to your subjects. You will make your subjects look “larger than life”.
  3. Make yourself visible: Your compositions will be more interesting when you make eye contact with your subject. Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to “disturb” the scene. By being an active participant in your photos, you will make better photos!

Take your best street photos and upload them to arsbeta.com for some real feedback, and also give some real feedback to other streettogs on arsbeta.com


Super pumped to share that I just got the details for my new CHICAGO Conquer Composition Workshop (April 25-26th, 2020). If your want to take your street photography composition to the next level, secure your spot now!

If you want to escape the cold and discover a unique and vibrant part of the states, join me at my upcoming NEW ORLEANS Street Photography Experience (Feb 29-March 1st). New Orleans is one of the most under-rated places in the states. If you love great food, jazz music, vibrant people, chicory coffee (and deep-fried powdered beignet donuts), you don’t want to miss this chance.

If you’re on the East Coast, I recommend attending my BOSTON Discover Your Unique Voice Workshop (March 21-22nd). This will be a great opportunity for you to focus on discovering what makes your street photography style unique, and how to best represent/publish/showcase your work on a larger scale. This workshop will be focused on building projects, personal photography, as well as practical entrepreneurial strategies to build a stronger following in your photography.

Lastly, I am currently building a new Havana, Cuba Street Photography Workshop experience. I am still working out the details, but it will probably be for around a week (in November or December). You can register intent for the Cuba Workshop in this Google Form here.

For any questions regarding workshops, please email my manager Neil at neilta@gmail.com

New Turbo Thoughts

  1. What Do You Desire to Become?
  2. Don’t Strive to Make Good Photos
  3. The Eternal Creative Loop
  4. What Do I Want from Technology?
  5. How to Retire

See more on blog >

Street Photography Starter Kit: Everything you need to know to conquer street photography >

Free PDF’s

Some new free PDF’s for you (all are direct downloads to the PDF documents):

  1. PHOTO POWER (ideas, thoughts, and tips on improving your photography). More info here.
  2. CUBA 2020 (my offline thoughts while in Havana for a week)
  3. Robert Capa Composition Studies (see as a blog post format)

See all books >

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