Free E-book: Learn From the Masters of Street Photography

Cover - Learn From the Masters of Street Photography

Check out the updated book: “100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography.”

Dear streettogs,

I am excited to announce my new free “open-source” e-book: “Learn From the Masters of Street Photography.” This book is a compilation of all the lessons I’ve distilled from my “Learn From the Masters Series” on the blog, in a convenient PDF for you to read, learn from, edit, remix, and share.

This project is very close to my heart, because I think it is my greatest work to date. I have poured my entire heart, blood, and soul into this work (along with drinking close to 100 espressos in total). I truly hope that this book helps stimulate some new ideas, helps push you outside of your creative zone, and for you to embrace these timeless lessons from the masters of photography.

Travel Update: My Experience Shooting Street Photography in Paris, Getting My Backpack Stolen, and Free Composition Ebook

I’m on a train to Aix en Provence, to the south of France and wanted to share my experiences shooting street photography in Paris.

If you read on the internet, apparently there are more strict regulations about image copyright and street photography in France. To my understanding, you can take a photograph of anybody in public, but there are restrictions on publishing a photo of a stranger.

I have a mantra in life: “It is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” So generally speaking, I don’t worry much about image copyrights and street photography.

Shooting street photography has been an absolute pleasure in Paris. Despite the fact that a lot of people say that Parisians are mean and rude, I have found the opposite to be true. I know a tiny bit of French (Cindy is fluent), and whenever we went to restaurants and spoke French, they didn’t default to English (only at a few touristy food stalls near landmarks). People were friendly helping us find where to go, with food recommendations, and great service in general.

When taking photos of strangers, it was totally fine too. After shooting when I smiled and said “merci beaucoup”, most people smiled back and said no problem. I also asked a lot of people to take their portrait while here, and 90%+ of people said yes.

I had one experience when I was in a more “ghetto” part of Chatlet and took a photo of some rough looking kids after they asked me not to (my fault). The kid (around 16 years old) approached me and tried to take my camera for me and got a bit aggressive (he had his posse with him). He kept asking me in French to delete the shot, and I tried to explain I shot film. He didn’t understand and was quite angry and refused to let me leave.

Fortunately there was an onlooker who told the kids to back off in French (once again the friendly French). The kids finally relented, and one of the kids gave me a light backhand to the face and walked off.

Getting my backpack stolen


Another fun story: the other day I got my backpack stolen in Republique during the gay pride parade. I finished a super fun day of the workshop and was with my students at a cafe having a beer. We were all laughing, having a good time, and I had my backpack literally right next to my seat. But suddenly I turned away and it was gone. I guess somehow a thief took it while all of us were distracted. None of us saw the thief. We only saw that one of the pins I had on my backpack (a silver airplane pin my friend Jonathan gave me) was on the ground (with a wing bent).

What did I get stolen in my backpack? Fortunately I had my passport, film, and other valuable belongings back in my airbnb apartment. I lost my laptop (2012 macbook air 11 inch), 3 rolls of film I shot that day, my Leica sf20 flash, some batteries, and not much else.

Thank God my students jumped to my rescue. Emmanuel, one of the workshop students (who speaks French), took care of me and Cindy by taking us to 3 police stations to file a report, and paid for our uber taxi rides. Unfortunately that day (because of the terrorist bombing in Lyon) we couldn’t file a report. But the next day we did successfully.

Other good news? I have travel insurance (covered up to $10,000 with GEICO and only pay around $20 a month), and my stuff is covered.

Honestly I am surprised it took me this long to get my stuff stolen considering how careless I am about my stuff, and how much I travel. I’m just happy I didn’t lose my passport, wallet, and smartphone (I’m typing this out on my phone in Evernote).

What about my data in my laptop? 95% of my photos and video is backed up in dropbox (premium membership FTW), and 99% of my other data is backed up in the cloud (Gmail, Evernote). I lost some gopro pov films I shot in Paris, but the next day I was inspired to shot more footage (will upload soon). I also changed all my passwords and reset my laptop remotely via the apple “find my phone” application.

I hope the guy who stole my laptop uses my laptop, maybe learns how to code, and is able to stop his life of crime.

For a new laptop, I might buy the new MacBook 12” retina (90% of my laptop work is writing and blogging), and I don’t need much speed (I shoot mostly film). Also I think the gold color is pretty sexy haha. Plus the retina screen should be nice for photos. And the weight is super light (.5 pounds lighter than my 11 inch). So perhaps getting my laptop stolen was a blessing in disguise.

Morale of the story? If you’re traveling, keep your bag or backpack wrapped around your leg or under the table. Always have your important documents back at your hotel or apartment, always backup your files (both to an external hard drive and to the cloud). Also have an extra photo or photo copy of your passport (if it gets stolen, this makes it easier to get a new copy). Also be careful of scammers, and when your intuition says someone seems or looks fishy, follow your gut.

If you’re traveling, just assume sooner or later you’re going to have your importance stuff stolen. So be prepared in advance what to do if it happens.

If you shoot digital, buy lots of SD cards, an extra external hard drive, and keep your photos secure (you can always buy a new backpack, laptop, camera, but you can’t recover your photos).

Thank God I didn’t get my Leica stolen.

Places to shoot in Paris

If you’ve never been to Paris, the best places to shoot aren’t in the city center, but around the edges.

For my airbnb I stayed in both Place d’Italie and Bercy, both great places to shoot street photography (fewer tourists). In Bercy there is a cool Park (bercy Park with a skatepark inside), and the “bercy village.”)

Near the Gare de lyon train station is good and also inside the station (lots of interesting characters).

Favorite neighborhoods : the marrais (Jewish neighborhood with the best fallafel and trendy stores, go to las du fallafel), the canal saint martin (cute boutique and bookstores with a beautiful view of the canal, go to “chez prune” for food).

A bit outside of Paris, highly recommend going to “la defense”, where there are mostly businesspeople and an epic cube arch. Great for architecture street photography.

Also for architecture and composition, go to the French National Library (BNF).

For a lot of people, go near the Lafayette gallery, Chatelet, or near Opera.

My favorite photo gallery? The polka photo gallery (they have a Bruce Gilden exhibition going on, and a great bookstore).

Favorite meals in Paris (not expensive): Auberge Saint Roch, “cafe constant”, chez Lili et Marcel.

My shooting

For this trip in Paris, I shot some for my “Suits” project near la defense, but most of my shooting was on my film Leica on tri x pushed to 1600 with a yellow filter (from my friend Karl Edwards from

I don’t know why, but suddenly this trip I was inspired to shoot more gopro pov videos, hope you enjoyed them. I plan on doing more of them.

Most of the shots in black and white are just random photos of interesting things I saw for fun.

I’ve also been shooting a lot on my smartphone (Galaxy s6), and processing them in color (Vsco a6 preset). Actually really love the colors that come out, they look like portra!

Honestly, traveling with all this film is kind of a pain in the ass. When doing the gopro video with the Ricoh GR, I fell in love with that camera again. I thought how nice it would be if I did all my traveling with the Ricoh GR (and just leaving the Leica and film at home). Maybe next trip.

Books I’ve been reading

I’ve recently become a huge fan of Matthieu Ricard, French scientist turned into Buddhist monk. On my kindle, I’ve read his book “Happiness” (great book that taught me true happiness is serving others), and a new book “Altruism” (inspiring me to devote my life to help others as well).

Krishnamurti’s “The first and last freedom” was recommended to me by a friend, and his philosophy on creativity and the mind is fascinating.

Reading “the magic of thinking big” (for inspiration), and for health I read “brain maker” (learned the importance of a healthy stomach).

My life purpose

The biggest thing I’ve been meditating on this trip is how to live a meaningful life. My new favorite quote:

“To live is to be useful to others.” –  Seneca.

I am fortunate that now through my workshops I’m doing comfortably well financially. Of course I still stress out about money, my future family, security, etc, but I have faith that as long as I keep working hard, helping others, everything will be taken care of.

I don’t want to die the richest man in the grave. I want to continue to contribute to society, and devote my life to “be useful to others.”

“The Street Photography Compositional Manual”

I’ve finished a new ebook on street photography and composition that I was tempted to charge money for. My problem is that 95% of my income is dependent on traveling and teaching workshops, and I wanted to create a new income stream that could allow me to spend more time at home with Cindy, my loved ones, and my future children.

But then this goes against my philosophy of “open source”, and I need to practice what I preach.

So upon much deliberation, the book is going to be open source. A suggestion that someone gave me: “Why not make it a ‘pay what you want’ model or accept donations?” I think this is much better.

I personally feel information should be open, free, and used to empower people.

You can download the pdf for free below on Dropbox (you don’t need a Dropbox account to download it, just click the download icon from the top bar):

The Street Photography Composition Manual” (pdf direct download)

So read it, take a look, and you can pay what you think it is worth here via PayPal:

Donate via PayPal

Or you can use this fun form below to help support me and the blog!


I wrote the book all from scratch, and distilled all of the lessons from composition I learned. I had a ton of fun writing it on the Apple iBooks author platform, and I hope to write more books with it.

When you download the book, feel free to share it with anybody you think it will help. Also feel free to change it, remix it, translate it, or whatever you think will benefit others.

Upcoming travels and workshops

The week long workshop in Paris was awesome. I loved getting to know all the students personally, showing them to areas “off the beaten path”, all the good food, beer, wine and coffee, fun laughs, daily critique sessions, and their improvement! I like the more relaxed pace of a week long workshop, plan on doing more of them in the future.

So I’m heading down to aix en Provence with Cindy (she’s going to study at the archives there), then off to Lisbon with my mom and Cindy’s mom. In aix I hope to do more writing (doing a new book on the masters of street photography). Lisbon is to have fun with family (I’m excited, it’s my first time!)

Then off to Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, London, and Stockholm for more workshops!

There are still a few spots open, don’t miss out! Spots are quickly selling out, and I won’t do workshops in Europe for probably another 2 years (next year is focused on America and Asia).

You can see my upcoming street photography workshops.

Thank you

I’m forever grateful for your love, support, and continued dedication to this blog and the street photography community.

What else would you like me to work on to help out? Share some ideas thoughts, feedback in the comments below!

Free E-Book: Zen in the Art of Street Photography

zen in street photography cover-SMALL

Dear streettogs,

I hope you enjoy a new free ebook: “Zen in the Art of Street Photography.” This is a compilation of all of my favorite articles on Zen, Taoism, Buddhism, gratitude, and other random philosophical musings.

There isn’t a “correct” order to read this book. You can skip around the chapters, and read the book out of order.

I personally have faced a lot of discontentment in my photography and life, and writing these articles have been a form of self-therapy. I also hope these articles helps shine some light and insight into your life and photography too.

Eric Kim
June 9, 2015
Compiled @ Vivace Cafe in Seattle

All of the content in this book is “open source”— meaning you can edit, translate, remix, or distribute it openly and freely however you would like.

Direct Download:

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: How to Become Indifferent to Criticism
  • Chapter 2: How to Free Yourself from External Validation
  • Chapter 3: Nobody gives a shit about your photos
  • Chapter 4: How Many “Favorites” or “Likes” is Enough?
  • Chapter 5: My Top 10 Sources of Discontentment in Street Photography
  • Chapter 6: How to Be Grateful For What You Have
  • Chapter 7: On Jealousy and Street Photography
  • Chapter 8: On Failure and Street Photography
  • Chapter 9: In Praise of Slowness in Street Photography
  • Chapter 10: How to Be Mindful in Street Photography
  • Chapter 11: Zen in the Art of Street Photography
  • Chapter 12: Lessons Taoism Has Taught Me About Street Photography
  • Chapter 13: Lessons Life Has Taught Me About Street Photography
  • Chapter 14: How to Prevent Regrets in Life
  • Chapter 15: Shoot Every Day As If It Were Your Last
  • Chapter 16: On Legacy and Street Photography

To learn more, see all free books >

FREE EBOOK: Street Portrait Manual

the street portrait manual cover- small

Dear streettogs, I am excited to announce my new free book: “The Street Portrait Manual.” If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to build your confidence approaching strangers, how to direct your subjects, and not make photos that look “posed” — I think you will enjoy this one!


You can download this book for free below in the following formats:


This version has all the pictures and examples:

  • PDF (direct download, 24MB)
  • PDF (small size, 7.5MB)


This version has only text, no images. Use these files if you want to read the book on a Kindle, e-reader, or if you want to edit, change, translate, or modify the text (as this book is “open source“).

Read more if you want to read the full text online (or save it to a service like Pocket or Instapaper):

Free E-Book: On Being an Artist and Photographer

on being a photographer and artist cover

Dear streettogs, I am excited to share that I have a new free e-book to share with you guys: “On Being an Artist and Photographer“. The chapters include:

  • Chapter 1: How to Succeed and Survive as an Artist and Photographer
  • Chapter 2: The Role of the Artist and Photographer
  • Chapter 3: How to Express Yourself as an Artist and Photographer
  • Chapter 4: How to Have a Creative and Flexible Mind as an Artist and Photographer
  • Chapter 5: How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone in Art and Photography
  • Chapter 6: How to Be Self-Compassionate as an Artist and Photographer
  • Chapter 7: Conclusion

This free e-book is a compilation of all of the previous blog posts I’ve been writing on the book: “Akademie x Lessons in Art and Life“. I know the blog posts are a bit difficult to download and access, so I put them together in an easy-to-access free download file.

Free download:

This book is “open source” meaning you are free to distribute, edit, change, remix, or share this with your friends (freely and openly). Enjoy:

  • PDF
  • Google Doc (please help me edit this text with your suggestions).

If you want to read the full e-book on this blog, “read more”. You can also save the book to “Pocket” and “Instapaper“.

Other free e-books:

Here are some other free e-books on street photography you might enjoy:

  1. Street Photography 101: An Introduction to Street Photography” (translation into Portuguese here)
  2. The Street Photography Project Manual
  3. “31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography
  4. The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
  5. Letters from a Street Photographer
  6. Street Photography Aphorisms, Heuristics, and Sayings

Free E-Book: “Street Photography 101: An Introduction to Street Photography”

Street Photography 101 - cover

Update: I re-edited this book with new images and design / April, 2016

Hey streettogs, I am excited to announce that I’ve finally published my free e-book: “Street Photography 101. If you’re new to street photography, want to learn the fundamentals, or refresh your existing knowledge– check it out. As always, this book is “open source” — meaning you can freely edit, remix, and distribute this information as you would like.

Below is an overview of some of the chapters I will cover:

  • Chapter 1: What is street photography?
  • Chapter 2: Why street photography?
  • Chapter 3: What to look for when you’re shooting street photography
  • Chapter 4: How to overcome your fear of shooting street photography
  • Chapter 5: Lessons I’ve learned from the masters of street photography
  • Chapter 6: Street photography equipment, technical settings, technique
  • Chapter 7: Street photography exercises
  • Chapter 8: Conclusion

Free Download

PDF (Normal/91MB)

PDF (Small/15.9MB)

iBooks Author (353.MB)

If you want to edit, translate, or remix the book, below is the original “iBooks Author” file (free to download for anyone with a Mac):

Also check out the Portuguese translation.

You can also “read more” to see the full text of the book below.

Free E-Book: The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers


Hey streettogs, I just finished writing a little mini e-book titled: “The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers“. I have been thinking about distilling a lot of my thoughts on social media and photography– and I hope this can be a helpful resource to you. A lot of the thoughts in the book is just my personal take on social media and how it can benefit you as a photographer. Here is a brief overview of the contents of the book:

  • Chapter 1: Why social media?
  • Chapter 2: What is social media?
  • Chapter 3: The importance of creating value in social media
  • Chapter 4: How to gain more followers
  • Chapter 5: The importance of engagement in social media
  • Chapter 6: Common mistakes in social media
  • Chapter 7: Social media strategies, tips, techniques
  • Chapter 8: Conclusion

This e-book is open-source (share, distribute, re-mix, translate, or do whatever you want with it). You can download it for free below:

Download English

Download Spanish

Thank you to Minerva Romay for translating this into Spanish:

You can also read my other free ebook: “31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography

Read more to also read it directly on this blog:

FREE EBOOK: 31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography

Around a year or two ago I had this idea to write a free e-book on street photography, particularly one that was focused on overcoming your fear of shooting street photography. Over the course of that time, I have written a substantial amount on the topic, yet it sat in my folder on my computer. It simply felt too overwhelming in terms of how much I needed to edit the text, how to format the e-book, as well as what images to include.

However when I was in Berlin, my friend Andreas Weeber mentioned the book – and when I was going to release it. I stopped dead in my tracks, and thought to myself: “Oh yeah, what ever happened to that book?”

On my plane ride home, I then started editing it down further, and trying to prepare around an 80% completed project that I would simply share with others. After all, I think perfection is the enemy of getting things done.

Info about the book

As a disclaimer, the bulk of what I wrote for the book was several months ago – and some of my opinions have changed drastically during the time. However, I still think it will be a helpful resource to anybody who is having a difficult time overcoming their fear of shooting street photography. It is also unedited, full of typos, and grammatical errors.

What I ask for you guys is if you could help me edit the book, make some suggestions, and leave them in the comments below. Also if anyone is interested in helping design a pretty-looking PDF version of it, please leave a comment below!


These are the rough cuts of what I have available so far. I am releasing this content as open-source, free for you to pick apart, edit, and distribute freely. However what you are not allowed to do is to charge money for any part of the content in this book. Also I kindly request if you post any part of this book anywhere, please mention my name and link back to my blog.

Below is the text of the excerpts of the book, in-case you don’t want to download the Doc file or the PDF file: