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Posts tagged ‘camera’

UfD: 10 Things I Can’t Live Without in My Kit

If your photography kit is anything like mine, you have a bit, but there will be pieces that you can’t live without.  So today I thought I would share with you my top 10 things that I couldn’t live without.

1/ My Camera

What would a photographer be without their camera.  I don’t think I am alone in my feelings towards it.  I have a Nikon D800 and it has been the most spectacular camera I’ve ever had. I couldn’t be happier with it.  It is something we all have to do is to get a camera that we love using and one that will do what you want it to do.

2/ My 24-70mm LensLeanneCole-banyuleflats-20140525-9353

I first got the Nikon 24-70mm lens because I thought it would be a good portrait lens and that sort of thing for doing cycling.  I did have plans for doing some portrait work, but didn’t do much. When I got it I was using my Nikon D300s and I was a bit disappointed with it.  I found it wasn’t as wide as I had hoped, so I thought I had made a massive mistake.

Then I got the D800 and it was perfect for that camera.  Now I use it all the time and I am so glad that I got it. It is my go to lens.

3/ My Macro Lens

This is a new lens foflower-garden-show-macro-edit-1042r me.  I got the Nikon 105mm Micro lens at the end of last year.  I was lucky with having an opportunity to try out some other macro lenses during the year, most notably the Tamron 90mm macro.  So when it came time for me to get my own macro I had a very good idea about what I wanted.  I did get the grant for the book, so I was able to get the Nikon macro. I have used it a lot and I am enjoying where my macro images are going.

4/ My Tripod

I got my first tripod over 20 years ago and it served me well.  It was a Manfrotto and while it wasn’t fancy, it did well. The aireysinlet-milkyway-lighthouse-stars-astrophotographyonly reason I decided to replace it was because the screws that I had to use to tighten the legs weren’t working too well and the legs would sink.  So it became time to get a new one.  Who doesn’t want a Gitzo tripod, but it was too expensive for me, so I decided I would stick with Manfrotto. I got a carbon fibre one with a ball head.  I have used it so much and it has fabulous. I couldn’t live without it.

5/ My Remote Shutter Release

It is an underrated item, but I am glad I got it.  It has been so useful in so many situations.  I was also delighted to find out last year that it was also an intervalometer.  That has been fantastic for doing long exposures and astrophotography.

6/ My Computer

emu-flat-church-colourA couple of months ago I upgraded my PC and have been so happy with it.  I think any photographer these days understands how important having a computer that can keep up with you and what you are doing is an absolute must.

7/ Adobe Photoshop

There are so many different types of software for working on photos out there.  I don’t know them all and some I will never use, but I do love Photoshop.  I love what I can do with it and what it can do to my images.  There isn’t anything I don’t like.  It is great to experiment and find out new tools and see what else I can do.  The learning never stops.

8/ The Lee Big Stopper Filterpinnacles-phillip-island-victoria-578

I have a few filters, and a few more on order, so I don’t know if this will remain my favourite filter, but right now it is.  I enjoy doing long exposures and I know I haven’t experimented enough with them, so will be working on that in the next few months.  If the weather of late is anything to go by there will be lots of opportunities to practice.

9/ The Lowepro Flipside 15L Bag

I have three bags, but the Lowepro is by far my favourite and the one I use the most.  It doesn’t stop me from changing lenses and it isn’t too big to carry around.  My tripod fits on it nicely and well, I think it is so comfortable, so I am never tJonesy-camp-night-sky-milkyway-105ired of wearing it, well almost.

10/ My 80-200mm Lens

I have lots of stuff, and this last one was hard to work out.  It was a toss up between this lens and my really wide, the 14-28mm, but in the end I thought, what would I want if I could only have one of them, and in the end I decided I wanted the 80-200mm.  It is a good option and I can also use it for long exposures as my adaptor ring for the Lee Filter holder will also fit it.

So there are my Top 10 pieces of photography kit that I really couldn’t live without.  So what are you favourite items and what couldn’t you live without?

The photos today reflect the images that I was able to get because of my top 10 favourite pieces of kit.

Introductions: Six Pixx

One of the things I love about Monochrome Madness is that I get to meet lots of new people, but I’m also introduced to lots of new blogs.  Today I am introducing you to someone who participates on a regular basis in Monochrome Madness and it has been wonderful getting to know her through it.  Maxine has the blog Six Pixx, and I am sure many of you are already very familiar with her work.  I’ve been watching what she has been doing for a while and decided it was time I asked her if I could feature her and her blog on my blog.


I’ve noticed that over time her work has been catching my eye more and more and now I’m finding I am starting to recognise her work before I see the name.  There is something that she is doing that is making her work her own.

I asked her what in the world she was.

I’m in Hastings, on the south coast of England. It’s in 1066 country where William the Conqueror landed his invasion. We’re very lucky to have some beautiful historical sites and green scenery (it rains a lot) and yet, be within distance for a day trip to London, Brighton and even Paris with the high speed train.


I like her compositions, she has a good eye, and she also takes images that are a little different.  You can see thought processes and how she is thinking about what to take.  I like that, I like it a lot, it is what I try to do.

The next question, when did you start taking photos and why.

I’ve always taken ‘snaps’ but was never very enthused by them until 18 months ago when my eldest son ‘lent’ me (he never got it back) the digital SLR he received for his 21st birthday present. My long suffering partner and I were heading off for a holiday of a lifetime to Cuba – the poor boy probably thought, if he had to look at a load of holiday snaps when we got back, he’d rather they might be worth looking at – most of them weren’t. That’s when I decided to start looking at how to make a decent photo.I’ve had such an exciting journey in the past 18 months starting at ‘auto’, passing through shooting some film (I must do that again soon) and doing a developing workshop in the darkroom to now, making (semi) conscious decisions about aperture and shutter speeds and editing my raw files in Lightroom and Photoshop. Sometimes, I even produce an image that I’d envisioned at the point I pressed the shutter release.

Very lucky there Maxine, that rarely happens for me.


There is a lot of experimentation happening with her work as well which is really interesting to see. I like experimenting as well and trying different shots, seeing what I can get. It is through experimentation that great discoveries can be made and I think it is wonderful that Maxine is doing lots of it as well.

I asked about inspiration.

My inspiration? Everything! It’s a bit of a problem to me because it makes the learning curve that much steeper. I love landscapes, I really enjoy a good abstract, I admire those who do street photography well, and much to my own detriment…. I love shooting straight into the sun. I think I am most affected by weather (we have quite a lot of grey days which I find difficult in life generally, let alone for photography) and I’m extraordinarily drawn to water. But, more than all of that, it has been having a public platform to post images and look at the wonderful images of so many talented others (especially that Leanne person) that has probably been my biggest inspiration. Becoming part of the blogging community and making connections with like-minded people has been a hugely rewarding part of my photography journey and is probably the main contributing factor to how my photography has progressed.


I love the colours in her work.  they are often soft and I guess reflect that English countryside that I envision it to be like. There are strong colours, but the colour I think is most dominant is the colour of sunrise or sunset, very warm, and something I don’t really associate with England.  I think we Australians have always thought England to be a cold place.  I like seeing the warm colours in the images.

I asked her if there was anything special about the way she worked.

Apart from not actually knowing what I’m doing most of the time, I don’t think there is anything particularly special. I love trial and error and I take a lot of images that are doomed to sit, ignored, on my hard drive for the rest of their days. Should I delete them?

No, I wouldn’t delete them, you might go back to them one day and decide they are worthy of some attention. I only delete photos that I know I can’t fix, blurred, too over or under exposed, that sort of thing.



For someone who has been serious about her photography for such a short time it is amazing what she is doing.  Her trial and error is paying off.  I can’t imagine what she will be doing 5 years or 10 years, I am looking forward to seeing her work develop.

My final question, as always was about gear.

I recently upgraded my son’s Nikon D5000 to a D5300 – I could have kicked myself because the intention was to buy a D7000 but I got distracted. Never mind, as they say, it’s the camera you have in your hand. I have a Nikon 18-105mm kit lens (I think that’s what distracted me) and a Sigma 70-200mm lens. I have just invested in a wobbly tripod and some cheap filters because I want, one day, to take some beautiful long exposure shots of the sea. They’re OK – I’m not a professional and I can’t justify spending too much money on kit when I’m not sure what use I will get from it. The next time I have a lump of money burning a hole in my pocket, I think I’d like a fast, prime lens – then those seagulls better look out!

I have to ask Maxine, “did you give your son’s camera back to him”?

I would like to thank Maxine for giving me permission to feature her work here today on my blog.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her even more through this process.  For those of you who have never been to her blog, Six Pixx, I would invite you to do so, there are many more great images there, and for those that do know Maxine, I hope you will go and say hello.  I have a gallery of her images now, some of my favourites, though I think I might have done overboard, couldn’t stop picking them.  A big bunch of photos.

Weekend Wanderings: Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

This last week I had an opportunity to go into the city and take photos of the Christmas decorations.  I wasn’t alone, there is a woman who does Social Snappers and her 5 year old daughter who keeps wanting to come with her camera and take photos as well.  I love to encourage anyone who wants to take photos, so I sent her a special invitation and last Wednesday I want into the city with Lola and her mum.

We had a great time wandering around taking photos of everything that we saw.  She was using a small Crayola camera that her parents had given her, one that could handle dropping.  I was so impressed with how she took photos, she would compose them carefully before taking them. It was obvious that she knew what she wanted to take.  Her mother has given me permission to show you her photos,

Lola’s images of Melbourne.

Didn’t I say she was good, when you consider the camera she was using and being five years old, the photos blew me away.  Certainly someone that I hope doesn’t stop taking them.  It was great fun seeing the Christmas Festival through the eyes of a five year old.  My daughter came as well, my eldest Briony, but she has grown out of this sort of thing.  It is always nice to see things like Christmas through the eyes of a child.

I took lots of photos as well, but no where near as many as Lola, mine are pretty boring compared to hers, but I will show them to you anyway. Christmas is very close now and we have a tree up and there are presents under it, so I guess Christmas is going to happen here this year, whether we are ready for it or not.  Here are my photos, I have kept a couple to myself for the MM splash of colour, is yours ready?

Introductions – Mike Powell

With all the talk that has been going on about Macro lenses and how I have a loan of one at the moment, the Tamraon 90mm Macro, I have noticed that I have been gravitating towards other blogs that have macro images.  When I was trying to decide who I would ask about todays Introduction post, Mike Powell’s name came to me. Mike Powell, and his blog, by the same name, have some amazing macro images and I wanted to share them and introduce him to you.


There were some things on his blog I couldn’t show you, but you will see them when you go to over to take a look for yourself.  There is an abundance of insect life over there, and I am in awe of it.  I see insects in my garden, but they never stay still long enough for me to take photos of.  When I am out with the camera, they never seem to be around either.

When Mike explained where he lived, that helped to explain why he can get so many insects.

I have lived in Northern Virginia in the greater Washington D.C. area for just over twenty years in a suburban townhouse community. This area is blessed with an abundance of gardens and parks that let me indulge my passion for nature and wildlife photography, generally without having to travel more than about five miles from my house. We are on the migration pathways for some migratory species and are a migration destination for some others, so there is always lots of interesting animals, birds, and insects to see and to photograph.


As he just said, about the birds, there are birds on his site, some amazing photos of them.  It isn’t all insects, but there is a lot of nature there.  It is something that I never thought I would be interested in, but in the last 12 months my interest has grown a lot.

I asked him why he take photos for how long he had been doing it.

Photography allows me to experience the world in a different way. It has had a transformative effect on the way I look at my surroundings, and not just when I have a camera in my hand. When I was in college, I majored in French language and literature and spent a year studying in Paris. Several of my friends noticed that my personality and even the tonality of my voice changed when I was speaking in French. At that time I was quiet and introverted, but when I switched languages, I somehow felt freer to express my emotions and grew to love 19th century romantic poetry, for example. Over the years, my personality has shifted and I have become more like that original French personna. I sense that a similar process is taking place with photography, as my senses become much more attuned to the natural world and I am experiencing life in a deeper, more self-aware way.

Most people in the Washington D.C. area are incredibly career-oriented and define themselves by what they do for a living. They rarely look at each other when they are in public, with their heads often buried in their electronic devices, and are often obvious to the natural beauty of their surroundings. Three years ago, I decided to step off that treadmill and retired from full-time work, having spent twenty years in the US Army and an additional fourteen years in the federal government. Those jobs had been marked by a sense of stability and security, but I felt a need to experience something more, to rediscover the idealistic side of myself that had been buried for many years.

To celebrate, I spent two weeks in Paris and had a kind of photographic rebirth. Although I already owned a Canon Rebel XT DSLR, I had rarely used it, but somehow I decided to take photos every day that I was in Paris and to post ten of them every day in Facebook account. That experience rekindled my love for photography and I started taking photos regularly, particularly since July 2012, when I started my photography-oriented blog.



While I tend to think of Mike’s blog as mainly nature photographs, there are other images on there, and you will find a mixture, though I do think Mike does concentrate more on the natural world, rather than the man made one.

I asked Mike what his inspiration was.

The single greatest inspiration for my photography is undoubtedly my dear friend and photography mentor, Cindy Dyer. Cindy is an amazingly talented free-lance photographer and graphic designer and is one of my neighbors. Over the past three years she has been a continuous source of instruction, encouragement, and inspiration for me. I was particularly struck by a photographic exhibition that she did in early 2012, entitled Garden Muse, A Botanical Portfolio. I was blown away by the quality and beauty of the photographs and I wanted to be able to shoot images like that.

Cindy took me out shooting with her on numerous occasions and taught me many valuable lessons. More importantly, she sat down with me after many of those sessions and went through my images with me. Most of us are more comfortable sharing our images only after we have selected them and processed them and cropped and adjusted them. Cindy was willing to take the time to look at my raw images, to see how I was composing in the viewfinder, and to make suggestions.

Over time, we have ventured off photographically into somewhat different areas. I started off shooting her preferred subjects, flowers and the occasional insect, but gradually migrated to primarily insects, with the occasional flower. She still shoots primarily botanical subjects and five of her fern images appeared on US postage stamps this year.

Cindy and I talk regularly and shoot together occasionally, but I feel her presence and her influence whenever I am taking photos–she is my photographic muse.

I am also inspired by a wide range of photographers that I have met through my blog and who I consider to be my friends, despite the fact that I have never met most of them. These friends include Lyle, Sue, Allen, Ed, Gary, Phil, and Walter.


This image seemed a little out of place, but you know I love cats, so I couldn’t leave this one out.  I loved the intensity in the eyes, I know that look, I’ve seen it many times on my own cat.

I asked Mike if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I consider myself to be an opportunistic shooter. I spent a lot of time wandering through the back trails and the unmarked areas of my favorite marshland park, Huntley Meadows Park. I never know for sure what I will encounter and try to be alert at all times. I’ve been fortunate to see bald eagles, a river otter, a banded juvenile hawk, a family of beavers sleeping outdoors, a beaver breaking through the ice, and an amazing variety of colorful birds and insects, particularly dragonflies.

I shoot almost exclusively in RAW and currently process my images in Photoshop Elements 11 on a relatively old Macbook, though I am planning to migrate soon to Lightroom. I feature some of my favorite shots on my WordPress blog, which serves as my primary creative outlet. I’ve discovered that I enjoy writing my postings as much as I do taking the photos and try to inject my somewhat personality into those posts.



Recently I was on my way to a place to take photos and as we headed up this road, there were dragonflies everywhere.  The friend I was with was so excited, she wants to shoot dragonflies, but when we got to our destination there wasn’t one to be seen anywhere, she was so disappointed.  I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed myself. I thought perhaps there were very hard to do, but then I see Mike has lots and lots of photos of them, and they are so beautiful, so I want to know how you did it Mike?

The last question is always about gear.

I enjoy being on the trailing edge of technology and use a somewhat outdated computer and camera. I now shoot primarily with a Canon 50D DSLR (and will be moving soon to an original Canon 7D and shot for the first year of my blog with a Canon Rebel XT. During much of the year, I enjoy shooting with my macro lenses, the Canon 100mm and the Tamron 180mm, and when the weather turns colder and I focus more on birds than insects, I tend to shoot with my Canon 70-300mm zoom lens. On certain occasions, I will use my original Canon kit lenses, the 18-55mm and the 55-250mm zoom lenses, and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.

In addition to my camera and lenses, I tend to have a tripod with me most of the time and frequently a collapsible diffuser and reflector. I am not very experienced in using an external flash and tend not to carry one with me. This winter I hope to learn more about using external flashes and plan to add one to my camera bag soon.

Thank you Mike for giving me permission to feature you and your images here on my blog.  I hope everyone will go and check out his blog Mike Powell, he was talking about doing something special for you all today on his blog, so please go and take a look.  I have a gallery with lots more photos that I really liked for you to look at now.

Up for Discussion – Instagram

When I put the call out for guest bloggers David from Blinded by Light put up his hand and suggested doing one on Instagram.  I thought it was a great idea.  It is a form of social media and one that many of us use.  I love playing with, but after looking at his post, I can see I don’t use it well, or nearly enough.  So take a look and see if you do.

To Instagram or Not To Instagram?

Let me just start this off with a short story, so lend me an ear (or two).  A couple of months ago, I showed the photos on my blog to one of my friends, who replied with, “Dude, I bet you’d have a really sick Instagram”.  Questionable language aside, I instinctively mentally scoffed and recoiled.  All I said was “oh, I don’t use Instagram”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I was actually thinking in my head was “Instagram?? Of course I don’t use Instagram, as if it was some sort of bizarre insult.  I realise that I’m quite stubborn with my views on some things, but I am quite aware of it and I like to think that usually I have a reason for them.  In this case, I guess that for a long time, I’d neatly pigeonholed Instagram into the category of ‘casual photography’.  I thought that it was a place only for photos of cats and dogs and food, all taken with smartphones.

In a way, I think at some point I considered that Instagram and its filters somehow cheapened the art of photography.  This is absolute pretentious rubbish, obviously, but I do have my “back on my day” moments, despite not being that old.  I have been called a 1000-year old man before… Besides, I thought that anyone who’s a serious photographer (and has serious equipment) uses Flickr, right?  Well, and 500px if you’re really good, I guess.  I’d already been using Flickr for my old film/toycam photos on-and-off for years, so Instagram didn’t factor into the general scheme of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthings.

As I said, I’m a stubborn, stubborn man, so I held that view for a very, very, very long time.  Not until my partner Tiff started using it did I even think about using it again and even then it took a lot of convincing.  She picked up Instagram as an adjunct to her knitting/sewing/craft/life blog, so it didn’t seem super relevant to me initially, since I neither knit, sew nor craft.  I guess I do partake in a bit of living on a day-to-day basis, though.

The point is, one day Tiff was telling me that Instagram is super fun and that I should post my photos on there too.  I raised the above points to her, thinking I was making very valid points, but then she proceeded to show me a series of amazing photos on Instagram.  That sure showed me!  I was genuinely surprised to see photos taken using everything ranging up to 5D Mark III.  I started to use it, slowly, but I wasn’t really sure how to use it properly, alongside my blog.  Since then, I’ve OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbeen Instagramming my old photos, along with ones I don’t think are quite good enough for blogging purposes.  Turns out Tiff was right – Instagram is a hoot.

Instagram didn’t invent the hashtag system (as far as I know, anyway), but it really does make it easier for you to find specific themes, as well as making it easier for others to find your photos.  I haven’t been using Instagram for that long, but I’ve already had the local museum and university alumni contact me and repost my photos on their own Instagram and Facebook pages.  I’m not making any money from them (I’m not looking to), but it’s great validation that people actually like my photos.

Don’t forget about Flickr

I do still very much like to use Flickr, but it was never really the same after Yahoo bought them out way all those years ago.  It might be just me, but I find the site irritatingly difficult to navigate.  It’s not that it’s actually challenging, but it just feels like it’s harder than it should be to find whatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA E-P5you want to look at.  For example, I still haven’t figured out how to browse a list of the groups without typing in a search term.  In saying that, I’m nowhere near a professional level and I’m taking photos purely for fun.  I know that the pros are able to leverage Flickr to find work, so I know that the Flickr community is alive and thriving.  It’s become a place where I occasionally bulk upload my photos, not all of which end up making it onto my blog.

Other social media networks:

I’ve focussed on Flickr and Instagram so far for obvious reasons, but we shouldn’t forget about the other heavyweight social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

In my mind, Facebook was the first of the big-hitting social media sites.  While I don’t use it for photography, it’s easy to see how it could be a staple for anyone serious about their photography.  It’s an easy way to interact with your fans, secret admirers, clients, what-have-you.  Plus, most OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApeople use Facebook in some form already anyway.

Twitter is one service I’ve never quite figured out, so I can’t really help you here.  I guess tweeting links to your posts could work as an easy way to reach out to more people

Google+ is an interesting one.  I was one of the first to jump on the Google+ bandwagon, though I wasn’t hopeful that it would ever get anywhere.  Since then, it seems Google has bet big on it, rolling it into a lot of their services.  Some might say they’ve integrated it a bit too much, but that’s a discussion for a different article.  It seems to have carved a niche for itself though, lying somewhere between Twitter and Facebook.  It seems like its become a nice way to follow sites/brands/people you like, while still maintaining a way to interact with them.  Additionally, by setting up your own Google Plus page might also have the possible additional benefit of search engine optimisation.  No-one knows the search algorithms employed by the servers at Google, but it can’t hurt to have more hits to your name.

At the end of the day, social media sites should be viewed as additional avenues for us to reach out to more people.  My initial reaction to Instagram was just my stubbornness and arrogance showing through, more than anything else.  What I love about photography is that it doesn’t discriminate and it breaks down barriers.  A powerful image can convey a range of themes and feelings, without a single word, and that’s something that can be achieved with any equipment and through any outlet.


Blog: Blinded By Light
Flickr: Blinded By Light
Instagram: @blinded_by_light

David has given us all his links above, I will have to make sure I am following him.  My Instagram is in the side panel, but I may have to see if I can start using it for other photos besides what I take with my phone.  

I hope you will all thank David for me, I think this a great post.  I think he is answering the comments, so any questions, David will answer them.  Thanks David.  I also have a gallery with some more images.  



Up for Discussion – That’s a Great Camera

Have you ever been out taking photos and someone has looked at your camera and said, “wow, that’s a great camera, it must take great photos”? I’ve had it said to me many times.  Yeah, I do have a great camera, but is that camera going to take great photos for everyone? There is an assumption by many people that it won’t matter what I do, I will get fantastic photos, like it has nothing to do with me.

When people, and by people I mean those that don’t really know about photography, see photographers with cameras, then the assumptions happen.  I was teaching a woman photography one day and she had a bigger camera than mine, and people would say to her, wow I bet you good photos with that?  She had hired me because she didn’t know how to use it.

I try not to be insulted when people say things like that, I know it’s ignorance, but seriously, really, do they not think that I have anything to do with it.  I have spent years and years learning my craft, how to use the camera to LeanneCole-macro-20140530-9927get the best from it.  Composition, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  Then there is working out how to photograph different things, like landscape photography, or architecture, now stars.  I have spent, oh I don’t know how many hours over the last few years learning to use Photoshop so I can also get the best out of my camera.

I do have a great camera, and it does take great images, but that is because I know how to use it and I know, well most of the time, what I am doing with it.

scpointlonsdale-8809I also think that you don’t have to have a great camera to get good images.  I have seen photos here on WordPress that have blown me away, and then found out they were taken on a compact style camera.  Top cameras do have advantages, and they will do things that are great, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how you got the image, it is all about the image itself.  If you learn how to use your camera, and use it well, then who will know what you are using.  At the end of the day, people don’t look at a photo and say that must have been taken with a great camera.

Have you experience that reaction? Do feel that way when you see someone with a bigger camera than you? When you look at photos that people have taken do sccity-canon8877you wonder what sort of camera they have?

These Posts.

I have received no emails from anyone wanting to do any guest posting, or come up with suggestions for the Up for Discussion posts, and I don’t really know what to do.  I am running out of ideas.  Would love to hear your thoughts.  I’ve asked people to write posts, but I’m sure there are lots more people out there that know things or could write something.  You don’t have to be an expert, sometimes some of the best posts are because someone wanted to know something, or you might have experienced something that you would like to share.  Give it some thought, get back to me.

All the photos in this post were taken with an entry level Canon that I was able to borrow.

Up for Discussion – Street Photography

Street photography is a very popular style of photography and there are people all over the world taking to the streets to see what they can capture.  I don’t do it a lot of it, but I do follow some people that do, so I asked Shane Francescut from The Weekly Minute if he would write a post for you on Street Photography.

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.  Bruce Gilden

Street photography is a photographic style that many people enjoy viewing, but tend to shy away from attempting it themselves. And, from my experience the number one reason for not trying it is a concern for the privacy of others. I see street photography as a way of documenting a moment in time or telling a story about life in a certain place, at a specific point in history. There are many subsets to street photography – candid shots, street portraits, and architectural images, so I think the genre can appeal to a wide range of people.

In this article, I’ll attempt to ease your discomforts and relax your hesitations about street photography with a few tips and examples that I’ve picked up along the way. Photography is about experimentation and pushing your creative limits, and if you choose to ignore any one style of photography simply because of discomfort, then you may not discover your true potential.

Street photography has helped me learn a lot about myself as a photographer, and it has greatly helped me improve every facet of photography. Through street photography, I have become much more comfortable and confident when shooting studio portraits, I have learned to identify the key elements and angles that produce strong imagery, and I have learned to pay attention to smaller details that would have escaped me in the past. And with that, here are my seven tips to help you make stronger images on the street.

1 - stop moving

1. Stop moving

Our first instinct when street shooting is to wander the streets at a torrid pace, frantically searching for that decisive moment to capture and share. It is always helpful to casually walk about the streets, but pause at busy intersections during rush hour or let a few trains or busses pass while waiting on the platform, taking a few minutes to see what might unfold. Alternatively, find an interesting background and let the scene find you. I find that this is difficult to do because the urge to keep your feet moving is strong, however this technique can produce an excellent image, if not a whole series that you’d be proud to share.

2 - plan a route

2. Plan a route

Many people think that street photographers have a knack for capturing moments anywhere they venture. The truth is prolific street photographers take time before a photo session to plan the routes that they know will give them the best chances at capturing quality images. Plan a photo walk through a market, or an area with several outdoor patios, or shoot from an overpass such as a bridge or balcony above a busy plaza. I learned the hard way that aimlessly walking and shooting is a waste of time and most often results in nothing to show for it.

3 - ditch the zoom

3. Ditch the zoom and use a wide-angle prime

I don’t necessarily agree that you should only use prime lenses while doing street photography, but I do agree that wide angle lenses help to tell better stories. Many of the images on my blog are captured with a focal length of 24mm-30mm, and I find that by getting more of the scene in a frame, the viewer gains a better sense and feeling of the moment. The other advantage to using a single prime lens is that you develop a consistent point of view, thus making it easier to visualize what an image will look like before you raise the camera to your eye. Many people struggle with photography because they use too many different lenses and focal lengths, and they never gain the opportunity to really learn how to use what they have.

4 - always carry camera

4. Always carry your camera with you

Always, always, always take your camera with you when you leave the house. There will be times when you don’t pull it out of your bag, but if you have your camera handy you are far more likely to return home with some great images. I found that once I took this advice, I captured far more images, and the quality of my images greatly improved. This also speaks to owning a camera that is compact and light weight, but I’ll speak to that later in this post.

5 - smile and be courteous

5. Smile often, be respectful, ask for permission

Friendliness, respectfulness, and permission have made it possible for me to branch into street portraiture. Granted, street portraits might not be the ultimate goal of everyone who tries street photography, but by being friendly with strangers it can help to calm your nerves and make the whole shooting experience a pleasant one. If your aim is to capture candid images and someone notices that you’ve taken their picture, feel free to complement an article of clothing or some other feature about them, and be on your way. People tend to respond very well when randomly complemented.

6 - capture movement

6. Capture movement

We see movement everywhere we look, but when captured in a photograph, movement adds excitement and wonder to a scene that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Movement can be captured through techniques such as panning, adding blur, or freezing action. Leanne has written on the topic of panning before, but that is difficult to do and takes practice. I tend to capture movement by combining a blurred object with a still object, but you can also freeze movement, such as in sports photography which lets our eyes take in a scene that may have otherwise happened too quickly to see in real life.

7 - shoot from the hip

7. Shoot from the hip

When starting out with street photography, nerves and fear can easily get the better of us. To combat this, spend your first few sessions shooting with your camera dangling around your waste. You’ll be surprised with the results. Shooting from the hip achieves two things; first, it helps you train your eye to look for those decisive moments that make for great street photographs while disguising the fact that you’re taking someone’s picture. Second, it allows you to capture images from a different vantage point that is different from what we’re used to seeing which instantly provides a different point of interest.


I’m not a big fan of gear talk, but I’ll touch on it briefly here. You can read hundreds of articles about what people say is the right gear for street photography, however my simple take on the subject is this, use what you have, and if you’re in the market for something new then look for a compact and light weight camera such as one of the many new mirrorless offerings on the market. Fuji and Sony make several mirrorless models that are inexpensive and produce tremendous image quality, and there is a growing list of lenses available for all brands. As mentioned earlier, a wide angle lens allows you to capture more of a scene; however you have to use what you’re comfortable with. If you’d prefer to stand two hundred yards away from someone when you’re taking their picture, then by all means, use a long zoom. It ultimately depends on your style and taste.


As with anything in life, I suspect there might be dangers, however, Toronto is a very safe city and I have only been confronted on one occasion. The funny thing is that I wasn’t taking his picture, I was taking a picture of a colourful flower that happened to be lying next to his car and he was briefly concerned until he found out what I was doing.

While taking photos on the street I always recommend that you think smart, don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions, and don’t walk around dodgy neighbourhoods alone late at night. With that in mind, as long as your convey confidence and courteousness, you should be fine.

I am honoured, and thankful to Leanne for inviting me to share my knowledge of street photography with her blogging community. Leanne is one of the finest photographers I know, and she has done so much to help me and the rest of her readership become better photographers through her blog.

Thank you Shane for that great post, I certainly picked up some ideas and I might even have a go at this one day.  Don’t forget you can go and see more of Shane’s images on his blog, The Weekly Minute, but for now, enjoy the above images in a gallery, and some more that Shane sent for the post.  Shane will answer any questions you have, but remember we are all in different time zones, so it might take a while to get an answer.  


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