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Getting better at street photography – 5 tips

Street photography is something that can be done by anyone, and with any type of camera. Street photography used to refer earlier to people in the streets, but now is much broader to refer to all public places, even when humans are not there in the photo. In fact, there are some splendid photos that have been taken using hand held cameras or using camera phones, and no one could argue that many of them come out great. It is not necessary to have DSLR’s for street photography, although in certain situations, the DSLS also helps (especially in conditions such as low light, or when shooting from a distance). But, you can always improve your skills in street photography, and here are some experience based tips for the same:

Tip 1311 (Be careful): There are many legal restrictions in street photography in countries across the world. In many European countries, there are restrictions on shooting people without their permission even in public places; while for example in the United States, one can shoot anybody in a public place. However, when doing street photography, it is better to be somewhat careful and use common sense. People do not like strangers shooting their young children, and such photography is seen as very controversial when doing such shooting in a public swimming pool, especially when it comes to young children. Instead of trying to assert your rights bull-headedly, use common sense and see when to back down or talk to the person concerned when trying to shoot.

Tip 1312 (A DSLR not necessary, use discreet cameras): When shooting in the street, where it can be easily seen by the subjects who are being shot, a big commercial-shoot like DSLR camera makes people conscious and you would not get natural shots. Using small point and shoot cameras or the phone cameras makes you out like a tourist and people are more willing to consider such a shot more natural and hence they are less likely to be conscious or even object to the photo. Some of the more modern compact cameras look like normal point and shoot cameras, but are still able to shoot RAW and with a high mega-pixel count, so will meet all the needs of a commercial street photographer.

Tip 1313 (Being able to crop the photo): In a street photography mode, there are many objects in the frame that can be distracting. There could be buildings around the frame, there could be objects on the street that need to be removed, and so on. In such a case, it is required that the photo could be easily cropped to remove all such elements in order to get a better photo. However, when you crop, you lose part of the photo. For such purposes, it is essential that the photo being taken should have as high a mega-pixel count, which means that when selecting a camera for street photography, within the constraints, select a high mega-pixel count.

Tip 1314 (Trying candid photographs, use telephoto lens): When you want to take photos of people without them being aware that they are being photographed, or if they are too far away and you cannot move closer quickly, a telephoto lens works great for street photography. In such cases, be sure to get a telephoto lens as part of the equipment for street photography.

Tip 1315 (Wide lenses for street photography): Other than the telephoto lens usage as depicted above, for a typical street photography shot where you are part of the action and on the street, using wider lenses works best. Lenses with focal lengths of 18mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm work best. Of course, as your maximum focal length reduces, the lens start to get more complex and more expensive; and street photography can involve some amount of roughness especially if you are mixed with a crowd; so need to be more careful with such lenses.

Street Photography Now Street Photography

Some videos for street photography:

Street Photography Tips

5 Basic Street Photography Tips

Street Photography Basics

Street Photography Tip: How To Fast-Action Focus

Selecting the right telephoto lens to use – 5 tips

In the previous post, we were talking about different types of lenses. In this post, we will explore in more detail about a specific type of lens, the telephoto lens. It is pretty important to be sure that you buying the right telephoto lens, since a good lens can get pretty expensive, and you don’t want to fork out money for something that does not meet your needs fully. With a telephoto lens, you magnify objects in the distance, and if there is some problem with the lens or you have bought a low quality lens, then those problems will show up more easily, making you regret your decision. So, here are some points that can help you with the same.

Tip 1306 (Usage of the lens): Getting a telephoto lens would also depend on the usage of the telephoto lens. You could be needing it just to complete your lens needs, wanting a lens that allows you to bring distance objects closer, without some specialized need. Or you could be needing it for a specialized purpose, such as for wildlife shooting, or sports photography. If you were to looking for a specialized need, your equipment might be more expensive, while if you are looking to buy a telephoto lens for distant photography, then you would have a much wider variety of lenses to choose from and you might be able to get a less expensive lens.

Tip 1307 (Handling such lenses): Some of the better quality of telephoto lenses can be pretty heavy and long. Typically, the more zoom there is in such a lens, the longer the lens will be; this in turn means that the front end of the lens needs to be wider. You need to be sure that you have the required equipment to handle such lenses. They will tend to be more delicate (I don’t mean that you should treat other lenses roughly, but these lenses will be much more delicate; for example, when carrying long lenses, need to be sure that you don’t by accident hit either end of the lens somewhere).

Tip 1308 (Narrower view of objects): When people use a telephoto lens for the first time, they are surprised by how much narrower the field of view becomes. Even though a telephoto lens lets you see distance objects much closer, the number of objects you can see in the distance reduces significantly. Further, a telephoto lens tend to flatten distant objects, thus making it appear that 2 objects in the distance are closer to each other even though there would be space between them.

Tip 1309 (Image stabilization for telephoto lens): When you buy a telephoto lens, make sure that you buy one that has a good quality of optical stabilization. When using a telephoto lens, since the objects are at a distance, any movement of the hand can cause shaking of the end object as seen through the lens to get magnified, and a good lens optical stabilization can help control this. Ultimately, as the zoom and weight of the lens increases, you will need a collar on the lens so that it can be connected to a tripod (which is the best way of reducing shake).

Tip 1310 (Zoom factor): You get a wide variety of telephoto lenses. There are telephoto lenses that have focal lengths of 200mm, 400mm, 600mm and even more. As you get into higher focal lengths and better quality lenses, the cost of these equipment can get pretty high. See those lenses you see the professionals wielding at sports stadiums, those are excellent quality lenses with a high zoom, but are also pretty high. On the other hand, the equipment you see wild life professionals wielding are supposed to be more handy, with almost no motor sounds so as to not scare the animals, etc.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer How to Choose a Camera, Lens How to Choose Yor Camera Lenses

Videos on selecting the proper lens for the DSLR:

How to Choose a Lens for a DSLR

Choosing Your First Lens for a DSLR Camera

Photography Techniques : Selecting a Camera Lens

An overview of digital SLR lenses

Selecting the right lens to use – 5 tips (contd ..)

In the previous post, we were talking about different types of lenses. In this post, we will explore in more detail.
If you have a compact camera, then you have a given lens that is part of the camera. However, if you have a SLR or the new series of mirror-less cameras, then you have the option of selecting the desired lens, and this is where there are a lot of options. People can get pretty confused about which lens to have, which can be confusing in multiple ways. You may want to select 1-2 lens which meet all your needs, or you may have multiple lens, and want to select 1-2 lens to carry with you while you are on a trip. How do you select the right lens to carry ? This post might be simple for those who have some experience, but I have come across many people who don’t have this much information.

Tip 1301 (Fast lenses, more aperture, but heavier): In a previous tip, I had mentioned that fast lenses have large apertures (f/1.8, f/1.2, etc), but these tend to more expensive. The other problem with these lenses is that they tend to be heavier (for example, I was using a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens that was pretty heavy). Such lenses are not so easy to use, since as the lens gets heavier, when combined with the weight of the camera, it can get difficult to hand hold the lens without a tripod.

Tip 1302 (Fast lens and depth of field): So you are thinking of buying a lens that is considered a fast lens. You are attracted by being able to shoot in low light with a high aperture level, but there are issues regarding Depth of Field. As the aperture increases (the lens opening increases in size), the Depth of Field of the image becomes such that the sharp part of the image decreases. What this means is that as you move towards an aperture value of f/1.8 or even f/1.2, you need to be more careful of the focus, since a much smaller section of the image will be in Focus. So, if you are trying to shoot a landscape in low light, with a fast lens, you might still get light to be proper, but large sections of the image will be out of focus.

Tip 1303 (What does focal length on the lens mean): When you see a lens, you see that there is something called the focal number, usually expressed in mm. A very rough parameter is that as the number increases, it denotes a zoom, while a small number indicates a much wider view. For easier understanding, consider that the human eye seems somewhere in the range of 50mm (give or take a few mm). So, the focal length of the lens indicates whether the lens allows the user to see more than the eye can see (a wide lens), or a higher focal length indicates that the lens will allow the user to zoom onto a specific object, meaning that the user can see more detail of some object, but overall see less of the frame than the normal eye would.

Tip 1304 (The maximum aperture changes depending on zoom): On many lenses, you would see a range of aperture values (say, f/3.5 to f/5.6). This may be a bit confusing, since you would assume that the maximum aperture on a lens should be constant, but for many lens, this maximum aperture value depends on the zoom. So, when the lens is at its widest (lowest mm), the maximum aperture would be f/3.5, but as you start zooming, the maximum aperture changes and finally reaches the value of f/5.6

Tip 1305 (Using the kit lens): A lot of focus in these articles is about getting a better lens for your camera rather than using the kit lens that comes with the camera. However, when you are unsure about your style of shooting (which determines the type of lens you would need), or feel the need to do a lot of practice, then it would make sense to stay on the kit lens till then.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer How to Choose a Camera, Lens How to Choose Yor Camera Lenses

Videos on selecting the proper lens for the DSLR:

How to Choose a Lens for a DSLR

Choosing Your First Lens for a DSLR Camera

Photography Techniques : Selecting a Camera Lens

An overview of digital SLR lenses

Selecting the right lens to use – 5 tips (contd ..)

In the previous post, we were talking about different types of lenses. In this post, we will explore in more detail.
If you have a compact camera, then you have a given lens that is part of the camera. However, if you have a SLR or the new series of mirror-less cameras, then you have the option of selecting the desired lens, and this is where there are a lot of options. People can get pretty confused about which lens to have, which can be confusing in multiple ways. You may want to select 1-2 lens which meet all your needs, or you may have multiple lens, and want to select 1-2 lens to carry with you while you are on a trip. How do you select the right lens to carry ? This post might be simple for those who have some experience, but I have come across many people who don’t have this much information.

Tip 1296 (Figure out the type of situation you need to shoot): Lenses can be expensive, and unless you are the wealthy sort who can easily buy multiple lenses, most people will buy 1, or at the maximum, 2 lenses. In such a case, it is very important that you decide on the type of shooting that you want to do, and the lens to get will depend on these types. If you are doing a lot of wildlife shooting, then getting 1-2 telephoto lens would be appropriate, but if you really just wanting a lens to explore, then a kit lens (or a slightly extended one, such as these lenses for Canon (18-135mm ) or Nikon (18-105mm) will be fine, similar lenses are available for other manufacturers are available). If you are doing other work, then you need consider the requirement, and get the appropriate lens.

Tip 1297 (Need for a tripod): As you get into the range of better lenses (especially for more telephoto or wider lenses), these lenses will become more and more bulky and heavy, and at a point, it will not be feasible to shoot just by hand-holding the camera and lens. You will need to get a tripod, such as this one (Manfrotto Tripod) for your shooting. Using a tripod requires more effort for setup and use, and for carrying the tripod around, so if you don’t want to go down that route, get a lens that does not require a tripod to use.

Tip 1298 (Want to get a lens with different zooms): There are many lens that combine both the lower end of the kit lens in terms of width, and yet go to a zoom that is close to a telephoto zoom (for example, the Canon 18-200mm or the Nikon 18-200mm). The advantage of such a lens is that you can get objects nearby, as well as get a zoom that lets you capture objects at a distance. You will not be able to use this lens for wildlife, and it cannot match up to a dedicated wide lens or a telephoto lens, but if you willing to take a slight degradation of quality (this reduction in quality may be only at the extreme wide or telephoto ends, and may not be noticeable as well), then this is the lens for you.

Tip 1299 (Fast lens): A lot of people are confused at what are fast lenses. When you explain that this is corelated to the aperture of the lens, the puzzlement does not go away. So, consider that the exposure you get in a camera depends on the light being taken during the time that the shutter is open. This depends on the shutter speed and the size of the aperture. When you need faster shutter speeds, then you need larger apertures to get the same amount of light and that is why lenses with larger apertures are called as fast lenses. However, lenses with larger apertures tend to be more expensive, so you need to factor that in your calculation.

Tip 1300 (The brand of camera and lenses): This one seems very logical, but people can get messed up, or go for more expensive options. When you are buying a camera and a lens, first you need to be sure that the lens you are buying (if different from the regular kit lens supplied with the camera) is compatible with the camera. So, when you have a Canon camera, then you will need a Canon lens, but there are other options available, such as third party makers who make lenses that work with the Canon camera (such as Tamron, Sigma, and others). In many cases, the performance of the third party lens is nearly comparable, with a reduction in cost, so that might be a good option.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer How to Choose a Camera, Lens How to Choose Yor Camera Lenses

Videos on selecting the proper lens for the DSLR:

How to Choose a Lens for a DSLR

Choosing Your First Lens for a DSLR Camera

Photography Techniques : Selecting a Camera Lens

An overview of digital SLR lenses

Read more about how to select the right lens (Part 2)

Selecting the right lens to use – 5 tips

In the previous post, we were talking about Portrait Photography and clothes. Now, we move onto a new series of posts.
If you have a compact camera, then you have a given lens that is part of the camera. However, if you have a SLR or the new series of mirror-less cameras, then you have the option of selecting the desired lens, and this is where there are a lot of options. People can get pretty confused about which lens to have, which can be confusing in multiple ways. You may want to select 1-2 lens which meet all your needs, or you may have multiple lens, and want to select 1-2 lens to carry with you while you are on a trip. How do you select the right lens to carry ? This post might be simple for those who have some experience, but I have come across many people who don’t have this much information.

Tip 1291 (Using macro lens): Why would you want to use macro lens ? Well, suppose you want to get details of objects at a small scale, say want to get a good close up shot of the pollen on a flower, or items on your table, or other items at a such close up ? A macro lens will help you get such a photo. However, do check on the minimum distance for a macro lens to be able to focus effectively, as well as the weight of such a lens. Once I had a great macro lens, but it was heavy and totally prevented me from being able to take stable hand-held shots.

Tip 1292 (Kit lens): When you typically buy a SLR camera, you will get a kit lens. If you are new to photography, or primarily don’t shoot in specialized situations; or if you do street photography, person / travel, then the kit lens would suit you well. Use this lens till you are more comfortable with more specialized lens.

Tip 1293 (Wide lens): When do you use a wide lens ? Well, a wide lens is meant for you to get more of the space in front of you in the camera frame, and can be seen by the front glass of the lens projecting outwards. A wide lens gives you a increased depth of field and also when you are taking architecture and buildings, when you are looking to get a wide angle of view.

Tip 1294 (Fish eye lens): A fish lens is an extreme type of a wide lens, and produces distorted pictures, with convex images. A fish eye lens can be seen with the lens bulging outwards, and you might wonder why somebody would want to get distorted images. Sometimes, in wide angles of views, such distorted images can come out great.

Tip 1295 (Telephoto lens): A telephoto lens is used for getting images of distant images. For example, you could be at a sporting event, or looking for wildlife, and you need to be able to shoot images from a distant. It is in such cases, that Telephoto lens show their usefulness. The variation in such lens depends upon the magnification possible and also the aperture level. Good telephoto lens can be very complex and be heavy.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer How to Choose a Camera, Lens How to Choose Yor Camera Lenses

Videos on selecting the proper lens for the DSLR:

How to Choose a Lens for a DSLR

Choosing Your First Lens for a DSLR Camera

Photography Techniques : Selecting a Camera Lens

An overview of digital SLR lenses

Read more about how to select the right lens (Part 2)