Street Photography opinions please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by CrackedButter, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    51st State of America
    #1
    I'm in the early stages of a street project in my city, it is about urban youth/fashion and I will be doing casual interviews and taking more pictures soon because the government officials in this city want to move them away from the city centre due to fights with other youths not affiliated with their culture and because of the fear of having so many youths in one area by other everyday citizens.

    Every Saturday these youth travel from surrounding towns to meet up in the city square outside MacDonalds and share their interests. Some dress up while others are casual and some more will find inspiration from Harajuku girls and try to best emulate them here.

    Curiously enough, some have modeling contracts while others are making it into the music world with singing contracts. Here is a few of the images for you to give me your opinions on if you so wish. I'm using a 12-60mm Zuiko lens but deliberately using the 25mm focal length with the E420.

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  2. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

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    #2
    I would make the people in the background more out of focus. Interesting subject though.
     
  3. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #3
    This is the trouble with a zoom lens because so would I, its just when the aperture is at 25mm it won't go any lower than f3.4. I'll have to put up with this until I get a new prime lens.

    I had a 5D with the 50mm f1.4, 2 months back and those images were beautiful with the tight focus I employed. I've added a few actually for comparision (same project):
     

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  4. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #4
    I think they are great - you've captured their youthful spirit and I really like the two with the couples in - I guess most of us wanted to be loved.
     
  5. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #5
    I have the E420 as well. The 50mm f2.0 macro is my favorite portrait lens. For street photography I use my 25mm f2.8 pancake lens. That is an amazing lens to walk around with. I'm considering the Sigma 30mm f1.4 when I get some more money.
     
  6. bootedbear macrumors 6502

    bootedbear

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    Austin, TX
    #6
    Good start. I like the shots with the people not looking directly at the camera. They look less posed and more natural.
     
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #7
    To the OP: this is probably your biggest weakness. When I think "street photography," I think candid--not posed. However, if you're shooting for mug-shot styled photos throughout, and that's the common thread in your project, then carry on!
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #8
    I happen to like the portrait-style shots, especially when they're tightly composed. Environmental portraits. Lots of photographers doing street photography try to sneak shots because they're afraid of being seen taking the pictures, and perhaps are to shy to engage their subjects. Just interact, and the candids will also present themselves... naturally. :)
     
  9. pinktank macrumors 6502

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    Apr 5, 2005
    #9
    it looks like you would gain a lot from a flash unit and try to be a little more creative with your crop
     
  10. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #10
    The thing I have to mention which explains the types of shoots I have presented so far is that some of these youths are aged 13,14 and at the moment I want to gain their trust, just simply posing is going to be easy for them since they do it with their friends.

    When I first started it was just straight landscape portraits, shooting landscape deliberately as I've gone back I've met and made friends with individuals who are well known and respected in their social circles. I'm using them to breakdown their comfort zone so they get use to me so that I can pull out the candid style shots and see if I can capture any action.

    For the moment however, I like the controlled portrait style because the viewer can focus on them for longer because they are interesting to look at especially the couples.

    I'm hoping to write a journalistic style story and make a book about these youths and about their environment, this is a project I will keep going to. The local council want to get rid of them because while they don't cause trouble they attract it.

    Flash is a definite and I have one, just haven't used it because I like naturally lit pictures and again I don't want to scare away these kids with a big setup. It takes a bit of convincing for some of them to give me their time and already feel intimidated when I seperate them from their friends to do the portraits. To gain their trust I grant them group portraits so as to not come across serious and demanding, I let them demand something of me.
     
  11. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #11
    Using the 25mm pancake instead of the 12-60mm zoom will help making people more comfortable when you are waling around taking pictures.
     
  12. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #12
    True, I don't have a prime lens, but I've just bought the Leica 25mm instead. The fact the Olympus is a smaller camera than the 5D I started with is already a great help to me.

    How would you improve on the way i've presented the images as they are? I'm talking about cropping.
     
  13. danco macrumors newbie

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    Aug 10, 2008
    #13
    To be honest, none of these images should make your final portfolio...there's a lot that's just not technically great for posed shots. I would look at these images as just what you had to do to break the ice until you could get some nice candid, story-telling shots. It's OK not to use flash...it looks like there is enough light not to need it, but the natural light isn't being used very well here.
     
  14. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #14
    I didn't think any of these images would be going into my portfolio, I see them as a beginning though I am fond of a few of them. Any suggestions then? You're telling me they are not quite there so I would like to know a bit more so I can make them better please. How would you use the light for example?

    I shot yesterday actually the same subject and I will upload them
    soon.
     
  15. danco macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    #15
    The first set of photos lack "pop" as far as good contrast...things are just kind of flat and in a shadow...I don't know if that's a function of a bad time of day (noon) or what, but if that's the case, then you should try some fill or off-camera flash.

    I think them looking into the camera isn't particularly interesting...and in the first set of photos, there's just too many random blobs in the background, but I'm sure you'll get a better idea of what will work as a backdrop as you progress.

    For couples, I think a far more interesting pose would be to have them at least look at each other and catch the emotion in that.
     
  16. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #16
    How about some of these which I shot over the weekend before I read your comment? I did the last one in Black and White thinking it might look better, still undecided whether to shoot in colour or not.

    If I am to tell a story I would only use 1 of them anyway so any considerations of tonality or colour not being the same shouldn't be applied because they wouldn't be seen together outside this forum unless they were being discussed in a lecture, which they will be come October.

    I like the last one in Black and White merely because of the shadow going across the girls face and there is a tiny speck of white in her darker eye and her gaze is a little less forgiving.
     

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  17. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I prefer the B&W, but it'd be nice to see you continue to try the non-posed shots (i.e. not looking at the camera).

    I guess I'm in the minority, but I like your work insofar…
     
  18. AlexH macrumors 68000

    AlexH

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    Mar 7, 2006
    #18
    I'm a big fan of B&W, but I actually prefer the color shot in this instance!

    And you're not alone, I like CrackedButter's shots a lot. I'm just starting to experiment with street photography myself, and it's good inspiration. Street photography isn't always an exact science, but it sure is fun. :cool:
     
  19. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #19
    Thank you, as you can see I'm gaining trust amongst the youth, the 3rd shot out of the 4 is of course the posed one. The girl who was doing the face painting I had already known and she didn't mind me getting real close on Saturday, I shot with a 50mm equivalent right next to them. None of the other 3 images were posed including the last one no matter how it comes across!:) She just looked at me, I liked the shadows and instinct told me to take the picture, I hadn't come across that girl before during my visits either.

    Thanks for saying that, very kind of you.
     
  20. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

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    Oct 26, 2007
    #20
    I really like the first of the "make-up" shots, although the one thing that ruins it is that the girl's arm is in focus, and not the subject's eyes.
    Just make sure you focus on the subject's eyes, and shots like that will look much better.
    Also, how about the idea of doing a series of maybe 4 or 6 pictures of each person/shot, just slightly different each time. It adds interest if each shot varies a bit, and keeps people looking between them.

    Good luck on your project!
     
  21. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    #21
    In the first set, the hands holding the heart is a strong image. The people staring into the camera don't work for me - plain lighting, cropped in too close. If you're going to do that, you might try pulling back for full-body environmental portraits. That should let you play with their position in the frame and the mise en scene a bit more.

    The girl laughing with her eyes closed and the last set of five 'makeup' shots work as well.
     
  22. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #22
    I know about focusing on the eyes. It is good advice but as her eyes were closed I focused on the hand, what details would I be missing if I had? But saying that, I should have done 2 shots focusing on each the hand and the eye. In this case I thought the hand was more interesting because she has bullets wrapped around her arm and we use them to kill and main people but I've photographed her face painting in order to play with her friend. The aim was to point this out, War and Childhood innocence.

    I totally agree, the hands shot is the stronger image. The portraits are deliberately shot like that, up close. Other people on my course have suggested I shoot portrait but I don't think it works and for this project there is a point to shooting portraits in landscape orientation and choosing a tight focus to bring them out of their environment.

    If I was to use them I'd use very few as I want the more candid shots now I'm very good terms with them, the posed shots were just the beginning.
     
  23. carlgo macrumors 68000

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    Dec 29, 2006
    #23
    I like your work. Very nice and the subjects are interesting. The main thing is that you have done the hard part: getting onto the street and clearly developing a rapport with the people you photograph. Not many can do that.

    Sure, you have to work at some of the technical stuff people here have mentioned. Get whatever lens works for the backrounds and go for it. Street work isn't judged for the technical quality as much as scenic or studio work is, but the best street photographers are always very proficient at the technicalities.

    It is hard to succeed in the arty world, but I think you can have a fine future.
     
  24. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #24
    Encouraging words thank you. I noticed you don't post much either, thanks for taking the time to do so. I'm going again tomorrow and hopefully I will post some more and we'll see if I've learnt anything.
     
  25. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #25
    Some new images

    I've gone back like I said and taken some more images, same place similar crew. The best part of some of these people change their styles so much I can take their picture again!

    Let me know what I you think please, and I've added 1 candid this time :). Sadly I can't recover the detail in the hair either, it's far too over exposed to save in LR2.
     

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