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Thread: Tips for street photography in SG

  1. #21

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ong View Post
    Actually, I'm a huge fan of Bruce Gilden and he's the one who actually inspired me to take up photography and street portraiture in general. Don't have permission to post a link yet but check out his shooting style on New York streets on YouTube.
    [img][/img]

    I shot this at Raffles Place. My personal view is these type of pics will be difficult to work as a standalone street photograph, and requires a series to link together to work (which I am working on, though not really enthusiastically).
    Last edited by wolfton; 24th October 2016 at 12:21 AM.
    "Time is often the best editor" - Alex Webb

  2. #22

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfton View Post
    I shot this at Raffles Place. My personal view is these type of pics will be difficult to work as a standalone street photograph, and requires a series to link together to work (which I am working on, though not really enthusiastically).
    I actually beg to differ. I think this pic itself says a lot and like it very much! The sense of motion, illumination on the subject, etc. Conveys a sense of loneliness and isolation in spite of the busy and hectic surroundings.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfton View Post
    I think one of the biggest problem in Singapore is our perception of what actually is street photography. Not many people talk about it, and I ain't really sure why that is so. Many times, when questions like what TS has brought up is asked in forum or any social media, my first immediate thought is "this person is shooting portrait of people, again."

    I believe camera manufacturers here are partly to blame. Many a times, they are showing the consumers in brochures, their social media sites and showrooms (big hanging pictures) nice, sharp portrait of a person on the street (some of which are posed even, others might even be creamily bokehlicious) and labeling these as street photography and use them to market their gears. So when most people who are new go onto the street, their perception of a good street photo is one where it is taken at arms length and have a face in sharp focus can liao. I can tell you, go take a look at the pics of people from our region (S.E.A especially) who keep telling you to get close get close, what type of subject they are shooting. I can tell you, many of these people, if you place them in any part of our town area,they will become minimalists. Being close is not a determinant of whether a street photo is successful or not. It is what is in that picture that matters. The ability to shoot it close is a bonus.

    I think it will be good for anyone interested in doing street photography to make some effort to study about the subject more. Slowly you will find that street photography is more of an art of observation rather than walking up to any pretty woman or old uncle and taking a portrait of him or her. It is being said to be the most difficult genre in photography for a reason.

    Take a look through all the photos in the links below:

    http://gracielamagnoni.com/#/project...-2012--ongoing

    http://petapixel.com/2015/01/02/self...uliar-moments/

    http://invisiblephotographer.asia/20...rd2013winners/

    http://www.miamistreetphotographyfes...finalists/ce0d

    Lastly this is by Newghost, the moderator of clubsnap:

    http://www.japancamerahunter.com/201...pher-newghost/

    The above are really successful street photography, almost impossible to be repeated. These are pictures which I wished I had taken them myself. If anyone noticed, there is hardly any portrait (consisting of only a single person in the picture) in any of the them.

    So ask yourself, why worry about getting scolded by a stranger for taking a close up portrait of him/her without the result being worth the scolding?
    Excellent advice.
    Many thanks for sharing the links.

    What draws me to street photography is that you never know what you are going to get. You have to anticipate the moment, get the equipment ready and press the shutter at that precise moment to get a good street photograph.

    With that being said, and this is just my personal opinion, if you ask someone to pose for you (be it a stranger) it does not qualify as a street photo anymore. It takes some courage to hold up your camera and shoot a total stranger, I have also been confronted and asked or should I say demanded in a "slightly" impolite manner to delete a certain photo.

    Know your rights as a photographer but do ask yourself this, is it worth pissing someone off and probably ruining his/her day just for a photo? There are tons of subjects for you anyway, just need to train your eye.

    Happy shooting and do share some of your works at the galleries.
    Last edited by KonTrol; 4th September 2015 at 11:57 PM.
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  4. #24

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ong View Post
    I actually beg to differ. I think this pic itself says a lot and like it very much! The sense of motion, illumination on the subject, etc. Conveys a sense of loneliness and isolation in spite of the busy and hectic surroundings.
    No problems bro, just sharing what I feel about such shots. This shot was actually omitted from a series which I recently submitted for professional review. Crossing my fingers on what feedback the editors will come back with. Putting this one into my thread here, it feels more at home there. Thanks for your feedback too
    "Time is often the best editor" - Alex Webb

  5. #25
    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    I must say street photography is not easy here in Singapore unless you are shooting in an event where generally there are many other photographers around. Like CNY, Christmas, Flower festival, etc. I find it easier to shoot in foreign countries while on holidays. People tends to accept that your are a tourist. Similar to tourists coming here to Singapore.

    In my opinion, we must respect those that do not like to be photographed. However, if they are in a photograph where the focus is not on him/her, I don't think it is fair to demand that the photo be deleted. Of course we should not post the photo of that person in any publication without his/her permission.

    Why must life be so complicated?

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    I must agree Singapore is not the best place for shooting streets. Beijing, HK, Tokyo, Seoul, not to mention NYC, LA, these are much better places.

    Street photography is a loosely defined term and may cause confusion.
    Personally, I prefer "social documentary" or "candid portrait" depending on what kind of shots are taken, whats the purpose, etc.

    Actually in the fine art world, social documentary and photojournalism are the main stream of photography (or used to be), not landscape, not portrait, not still life. If you are familiar with photography history, you would know a large part of the big names in photography are people famous for their street shots. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Mark Riboud, Elliott Erwitt, Garry Winogrand, Moriyama Daido, Saul Leiter, Fred Herzorg...just to name a few.

    There is no shame in taking street shots, and I believe there is no law preventing photographer from shooting any subjects in the street publicly. But I follow some rules in case of troubles.

    1. I will not hide my camera or try to sneak for shots.
    2. I will not use long lenses (longer than 85mm). First of all, using long lenses in the street for candid shots are suspicious even in photographer's standard; Secondly, long lenses are too impersonal will not create good shots anyway.
    3. I will not take photos of women, especially beautiful women without them knowing.

    In terms of methodology, different photographers have different preferences. Natural light or flash, pure candid or posed, decisive moment or raw imagery, getting close or observing from a distance, I think either direction is fine as long as it creates good photographs.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Before I start, mutual respect, please. Not a hate post, all opinions are subjective.

    I'm around 18, and shoot street too, but not so much.

    I see street photography as "humanity in a place", focusing on action or emotion whenever I shoot street. To be honest, I really don't shoot (personally I dislike it) the common "street photography" seen nowadays with people wearing masks, smoking, throwing colored powder around, playing with prop-guns and knives and seriously funny or laughable looking edits. My shots are more on the slice of life where I happen to be, or how I perceive the emotion and symbolism of human nature within my frame. Not running around with masks and prop guns of course.
    Maybe it's cause my style is heavily journalism influenced, where we can't edit unless necessary to a book of codes and ethics, and that we really want to have a picture that people will sit up and look at. Thus some of my street shots are journalistic in nature, though I sometimes tag along and play with all the stuff I said earlier, prop-guns, masks and all, but I never post these. Again, this is MY take on street photography. Don't mean to say that the "street photography" said earlier is bad, I have seen good shots too.


    WRT tips, I find that asking people you're gonna shoot helps. Really, just ask. It got me a few nice shots. But if you're shooting moving targets, just shoot hard and fast. TBH I've only encountered people who asks you to delete your shot only three times. And if you treat them respectably and nicely, you can make a few friends or avert an interesting situation. A street shoot got me a friend who asked me to delete, but after persuading her, she relented, and we're now friends. From my other friends who do street, their experience is that they get the most trouble from middle-aged people or from Caucasians, in which try to AVOID creating a scene.

    Other tips: I did study law as one of my Polytechnic modules, and it is permissible to shoot outside, as the streets are defined as "Public Space", What happens on the streets, public places, in open view, are NOT intrusions in which a person enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    I do shoot using fast primes, but I prefer zoom lens. Personal preference, but at night, fast primes are the killers. I don't always shoot B&W for reasons, its personal preference.

    Shooting emotion is really great too, I was also doing some reading on Henri-Cartier Bresson some time back, and I really got influenced by him some.

    DON'T wander around private property like condos or landed property, really. Street photography doesen't give you the right to sneak into someone's house and shoot in there. Abandoned places like Woodneuk is okay, but if there are people there, try not to sneak in. I had a brush with the law once, let's just say I managed to escape, luckily. If it's cordoned off, don't try to sneak in, ask the watchman before you try anything. Some Enciks will let you through if you come clean and ask reasonably, and if you tell them that you're not sneaking in or something. Reading the Constitution of Singapore never hurts.

    Go clean, be green. Really, some people using street photography as an excuse to shoot beautiful girls give us a bad name. Always explain your shot to the person if he stops and stares, but if he/she really is that insecure (don't know what for), then delete your photo. If you shoot pictures that may insult someone's privacy, or exposes too much skin or smth like that, don't. Unless the person is willing to be shot, and don't assume. Even if you do so accidentally, try not to use it.

    A trick is shooting JPG+RAW. Sure, delete my JPG in-cam. I still have RAW. And it's easier to edit, of course.
    Oh, and always anticipate your event.


    Hope I've set someone thinking. Again, mutual respect-- I won't hesitate to report trolls.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    One of my personal cardinal rules - I do not shoot at women, especially very attractive women, without asking. Same rule but even more strict when it comes to children. Where I live if you go around pointing a camera at kids you are likely to be drawn and quartered maybe even flayed no matter how innocent you are. Children are taboo now in USA...to many creeps have ruined it for all. Heck it is almost impossible for a man to just go to the park by himself and sit there if little ones are there. I guess another one is the LEO. The law says it is okay to snap at cops but in the current climate better not to because you are asking for trouble. I've done it before but I am hesitant nowadays.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 7th September 2015 at 05:56 PM.
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  9. #29

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Hi all, I wish to express my 2 cents on street photography. I love the genre, it is my art form to express how I feel about life. Shooting on the streets is a growing process for me because I struggled for many years shooting people. I eventually decided to overcome this awkwardness and take to the streets. I'm very glad I did and feel that I've made progress in my life, overcoming a hurdle. I came to love black and white so much that I've decided to go 100%, giving up colour totally - hues for tones.

    I started shooting with a Canon DSLR but found much restriction going close to people. Generally, they are very conscious about the big camera I'm carrying. I have since switched to a rangefinder, forgoing autofocus and going everything manual. It was a big paradigm shift in camera techniques for me but I'm glad I did it. With an inconspicuous camera and a quiet shutter, I found myself in a place where I could not be before - right in the midst of people, and photographing. I started out shooting openly and practising asking permission often. Although I managed to get some good shots this way, I discovered that I could never get the expression of the people I want this way. I aim for the most natural poses and expressions, and to me, the only way to achieve this is to shoot without people's knowledge. Thus, rangefinder or a small mirrorless camera to me is the only way to go.

    I practiced much shooting from my chest or hip level, without looking through my viewfinder. The way I can do this is to stick to one focal length - 35mm - and be very familiar with it. I eat, sleep, breath 35mm focal length. After many outings and bad shots, I managed to anticipate the distance and angle to my subject and photograph by pointing my camera without looking through the viewfinder. This way, my subjects never know that I'm taking a photo and I'm able to go close and capture what I consider the natural expressions which I aimed for. Below is an example of what I mean:
    Name:  Fun at the medicinal shop.jpg
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    As for places, I go where the crowds are, generally public spaces. I agree fully that in street photography, you never know what you're gonna get. Subjects and topics present themselves there and then. This to me, is the most exciting aspect of going out there in the streets. Take the picture below for example, the humble vegetable seller used an NTUC bag for her products. NTUC is supposed to be her competitor and the photo makes me wonder if the modern supermarkets will cause all the wet markets to disappear one day. Topic like this is interesting and worth photographing to me.
    Name:  Pride of the stall.jpg
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    The beauty about the streets is not always about going close. There are much landscape and geometry patterns out there which can constitute interesting compositions even when shot from a distance. This gives us flexibility.
    Name:  Geometric walk past.jpg
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    Frankly, street photography is a genre appreciated by not many people. We probably won't get as much "woo" and "wow" if our prints are placed next to beautiful landscape prints, for example. But the images can grow on people and whatever messages they carry are definitely stronger because they relate to life. For those of us who can appreciate this genre, I shout out kudos to all of you and hope that you guys will share the same excitement that I have in street photography, and perhaps invite more people to join us in this genre. 2 cents.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Well written, and I like your two cent's on street photography.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by lesneo View Post
    Frankly, street photography is a genre appreciated by not many people. We probably won't get as much "woo" and "wow" if our prints are placed next to beautiful landscape prints, for example. But the images can grow on people and whatever messages they carry are definitely stronger because they relate to life.
    Hear hear! That's what drew me into the genre as well.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlzsa850 View Post
    If I caught you trying to take my photos openly, I will call police to report you harass me. If I caught you trying to take my photos secretly, I will definitely call police and get passerbys to hold you down before police come. Let police go and investigate you and confiscate your camera and go into your house to confiscate your computer. Sure can find porn! How I know if you take upskirts of people. I hate 'street photographers', what a lousy losers theme to choose. Don't you have something better to do? Pervs!

    Want to take pic of pretty girl pay for model shoot! No money dont harass people on the street!
    Some of the best renowned photographers in the world are street photographers. I respect them, and put them in the same category as wildlife photographers. Different "jungle", but similar challenge in a way.

    From what we can see here, both of them are exposed to dangers

  13. #33
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Great photos in this thread...good to have examples like these.
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  14. #34

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    With the increasing popularity of small digital cameras, such as Ricoh GR series, Fuji X100 series, Sony RX100 series etc....such pictures are being flooded everyday in the internet. These type of shots just need to walk up, act blur, snap, and walk away. There's usually nothing happening in the picture at all, and like what I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread, I think this is when most street photographers will say "Yes! I got the shot!" If you want your pictures to be different, I think there is a need to get out of shooting these type of pictures. Be hard in yourself. Many people in Singapore think street photography is boring stuff, precisely because of what they see on the internet day in, day out. Always the same kind of stuffs.....

    Seriously, if only street photography is so easy....
    Last edited by wolfton; 24th October 2016 at 12:22 AM.
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  15. #35
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfton View Post

    Seriously, if only street photography is so easy....

    And trust me I have tonnes of these.
    The examples illustrate boring characters with decent backgrounds or vice versa...the 'moment' has been missed. (I do like some of the elements in a couple of them though)

    Excellent Wolfton.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 10th September 2015 at 07:50 PM.
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  16. #36

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    Sorry guys, I beg to differ somewhat. Different images speak to people differently. Different subjects also appeal to different people. What may appear boring to some may appeal to others. While Wolfton considers all pic he posted boring, Nikonzen finds elements in some of them interesting. That's what I mean. I do agree we need to be hard on ourselves, but this thread is in response to someone who's starting out so I feel we should encourage him to go out and shoot a lot. To me, the key is to enjoy shooting & shoot a lot. Regularity hones us & sharpens our skills. Wolfton is an amazing shooter & he's where he is today because, like what he says, he shoots "tons". I love your shots bro, BTW, will search out Clubsnap to enjoy your other posts. As for the "moment" Cartier Bresson mentioned, it varies with different people. Check out the valuable collection of Vivian Maier, who shot a massive collection of the ordinary & even the boring. Keep shooting. Your best shot is the next one.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    1) Town, orchard road.
    2) No time of the day. I shoot in black and white and find that it works well at all times. Of course, golden hours help make better pictures anyways due to longer shadows and contrasts.
    3) Snap when I like it. I look for good lighting first, then composition, then subject.
    4) Rarely
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  18. #38
    Member macaroni's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    [*]Where are your favorite spots? The Singapore heartland. Deep inside housing estates, markets.
    [*]Any preference for time of day? (golden hour, especially dawn doesn't really inspire me for the lack of people) No preference. In fact the starker the lighting, the better.
    [*]Do you have a theme or goal before you head out, or just snap anything when the opportunity arises? Nope, I'm clueless. Just head on out to shoot. I shoot cos i find it very therapeutic.
    [*]Do you interact with your subjects at all? Only after the shutter has been pressed or when they ask me what I'm doing but its rare in my case.[*][/LIST]

    Enjoyed reading the discussion on street photography. I take what appeals to me, in that aspect I find street photography to be an extremely personal outlet of one's expression. What wolfton said is correct. There comes a time when u have enough of taking the same subjects and are striving for something more. And that is why i never improve much. Streets to me is more of something i do when i'm out of ideas for my landscapes haha.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ong View Post
    Hi all! Have just taken up photography more seriously about 9 months back and just joined the forum. Apart from the usual photography during travelling, I have a huge passion for street photography, therefore the beeline to this particular forum category.

    I've made it a point to have a camera in hand at least once every fortnight and just walk the streets to find interesting people and places to shoot. However, I tend to get pretty disappointed at the end of the day when reviewing my shots (and that's maybe only 10 - 15 shots during a 3hr walk). My personal interest is towards people and moments, as opposed to animals and architecture.

    Would like solicit some tips from experienced streettogs here, especially for shooting in SG:

    1. Where are your favorite spots?
    2. Any preference for time of day? (golden hour, especially dawn doesn't really inspire me for the lack of people)
    3. Do you have a theme or goal before you head out, or just snap anything when the opportunity arises?
    4. Do you interact with your subjects at all?


    These are some of the few questions at the top of my mind. Will post more if the discussion keeps going
    1. my favorite spot is along the road from City Hall towards Dhoby Ghaut (preety short distance), Chinatown. try tourist spot. actually spot is not an issue in street photography, but for beginner try tourist spot fitst.
    2. i prefer early morning or around 4.30 to 7 (where the sun is preety low enough to cast side shadow on your subject)
    3. some adivce said you need goal or create your own theme. it can be good way to train your creativity. but the point is be yourself and be free when shooting, no goal or with goal is not an issue.
    4. not at all, i still feel hesitate to interact with people. so i just shoot candid.

    tips: find your spot that you like and stay there for a while and wait for people enter your spot.

  20. #40

    Default Re: Tips for street photography in SG

    Do not shoot and cause uneasiness to other people. As long as you do that, regardless whether you are legally ok to do or not, it doesn't matter, you already failed the moral code of street photography.

    Most street photos are just worthless snap shots. Don't even deserve an upload to the PC, much less to say upload to flickr or clubsnap.

    Only a very low number deserve to be framed.

    Out of 10 thousand street photos, less than one get printed. Thats the hard truth.

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