Street Photography: Unlock the Secrets of Composition, Color & Confidence | Craig Whitehead | Skillshare

Street Photography: Unlock the Secrets of Composition, Color & Confidence

Craig Whitehead, Street Photographer @sixstreetunder

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9 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:39
    • 2. The Power of Street Photography

      4:14
    • 3. Preparing to Shoot

      6:21
    • 4. Visualizing the Scene

      6:58
    • 5. Capturing Fleeting Moments

      8:40
    • 6. Playing with Abstraction

      7:01
    • 7. Making Selects

      10:22
    • 8. Editing Your Photos

      8:31
    • 9. Final Thoughts

      0:32
216 students are watching this class

About This Class

Discover the beauty of the world around you with a fresh, accessible approach to street photography!

Join photographer Craig Whitehead to learn how to shoot and edit unforgettable street scenes wherever you live. Drawing on his fine art background, Craig shares simple steps to elevate everyday moments by focusing on color, composition, and contrast. Designed for anyone with curiosity and a camera, each hands-on lesson builds on the last to help you develop the mindset and eye of a street photographer. 

From the streets of Manhattan to the studio, you’ll learn how to:

  • Navigate new locations, adapting to changes in light and weather
  • Pick up on patterns to predict interesting scenes before they happen
  • Compose your frame around color and shape, rather than people
  • Select and edit shots that speak to a unique moment in time

Plus, each step is packed with useful tips and tricks developed over Craig’s journey from learning photography on his lunch break to shooting in cities around the world.

Whether you’re a first-time photographer with an iPhone or an experienced DSLR shooter looking to add a unique style to your portfolio, Craig’s approach will change the way you see the world. Follow along and in just under an hour you’ll unlock your confidence, hone your eye, and discover a new creative outlet—right outside your door!

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Street photography has always been vital. It's documenting life. It really just takes someone who is willing to get obsessed with the subject. My name's Craig Whitehead. I'm a street photographer from the UK, and in today's class, we're going to cover my approach to street photography. My approach is a little different than the classic idea of street photography. I don't use a wide lens all the time. I'm not completely focused on people, I'm more interested in the scene as a whole and creating something that you would be happy to have on the wall. So in today's class, will go and shoot. I'm trying to teach my approach the way I compose, how I view the world, the selection process, and being brutal with your own work, and we let it. Following along with this class should be easy. There's no set gear. Don't worry about what you have. You can really do street photography absolutely anywhere. Street photography for me wasn't necessarily a conscious choice. When I decided that I wanted to be a bit more creative again, and I started taking a camera to work with me every day, the only thing I had time to do was walk out into the city and see what I could find. I feel a lot more confident with a camera in my hands than I do in everyday life. The one key takeaway is for people to just be constantly curious. Have a camera on you as much as you possibly can and just never stop looking. I'm excited that you're going to join me for this class. So let's get started. 2. The Power of Street Photography: Thank you for joining me in this class. Today, we're going to really learn about the ins and outs of street photography and why it's important, why it's relevant, why document in the world around us is so valuable to everything we do. For me, street photography is important because it's capturing the world as it is right now. In the past, there will be a lot of photos you might look back on from 1950s. Something is happening at the time was completely every day. There was no reason that anyone really would take a picture of it, but looking back on it now, you think that's crazy, we can't do anything like that now. So we need to document those things that make 2019 what it is. People just starting out in street photography will probably have some idea of what the genre is. But they're all two different camps. There are people that work with longer lenses, minimal final abstract weigh, and that's why I tend to do now, I've always drawn or painted or made things. I studied illustration and I was always obsessed with texture and that's really made its way through into the work I do now. I love shooting through things and obscuring things. I love that texture if I can get that in an image. I'm completely obsessed with color. It's always been something that has interested me long before I picked up a camera and it's made its way throughout everything I do now. A lot of the time I'll tend to walk around composing scenes maybe with no one in it. Now, I might come back to you later on. Often, people are the last thought in the shop for me. I need some human element, I'm not sure what it may be. It could be as simple as someone's hand on the edge of a door handle, but the composition, the shop for me is everything else and that extra element just finishes things off. Today, I'm going to take you through my process. We're going to be heading out to midtown Manhattan, learning to visualize the same because at the end of the day as a street photographer, the only thing that's going to separate your work from someone else's is what you decide to point the camera. I will also be looking at temporary moments, fleeting interactions between people as much as we can although my work isn't solely focused on that. If you can create a beautiful composition and then fill that frame with something temporary that can't be repeated, you're really onto a winner. I'll also be doing one of my favorite things is playing with abstraction on the street, which is going to be particularly relevant to those that live somewhere a lot quieter. If you don't have that many people around to focus on, abstraction is going to be a great way to work, then I'll be coming back and working through selections. One thing that's quite common with the way I work is I may come back with 20 shots of the same scene unfolding and identifying which one of those shots is the strongest one, you can really separate you'll work from other people. At the end, we'll go through some editing. I personally don't do much to my images, it really is going to polish. An image has to be strong already before I'll even consider tweaking it, but there are some things that can just direct the viewer's eye a little bit more and making them stronger. I encourage all of you to follow along and then when you feel like you've got strong image, share it in the product gallery. The beauty of this lesson of street photography in general is, you really don't need anything in particular to follow with this lesson. You just need something to watch the lesson on and the camera, that's it. The goal of the class, I mean, the greatest takeaway for me would be that you are left with an obsession for street photography that you're constantly curious. You are always looking around and getting distracted by light sources and what's happening over there in the corner, that would be the goal. So let's get started with the first lesson, how I prepare for a shoot. 3. Preparing to Shoot: This lesson is going to cover preparations for shooting. One thing with street photography to be prepared for is the possibility of coming back with nothing. If you have expectations on a location, you might get tunnel vision, concentrate too much on an image that you have in your head and not be open to the possibilities of what's actually happening around you. Also you need to be aware that you could end up shooting 1,000 frames to get one great shot. That great shot may even come after you've finished shooting for the day. You may go out specifically to somewhere you think is going to be great, the weather is on your side, there's some interesting event going on and you get nothing, and then just as you head home, just as you get on the subway of the train, you go for your car, something great happens, you need to be prepared that it could happen at any time. There is no set formula for getting a great shot when it comes to street photography, but you always want to stack the deck in your favor. If you can go to an event, something that doesn't happen every day, if you can work in an environment where there's great architecture, you know you're always going to have a good backdrop for any scene that's unfolding, if you can't do those things, then by all means do it. If it's a new city, I do minimal research on spaces. I might look at areas where the most interesting things might be happening or again, where there's going to be good backdrops. But at the end of the day, if you visit somewhere new, everything is interesting and I just tend to follow the light if I'm lucky enough to have it. For me, weather dictates my shooting more than anything. Different times of year are going to give you different kinds of light as well. Sunny winter day, you're going to have low harsh light pretty much all day long. If it's cloudy, I may even take that time as a bit of time off from shooting and then go out in the evening when the artificial light gives you a more interesting sane more contrast to work with. Rain, any extreme really is what I would go for. If you don't have that luxury, if you have to shoot on a cloudy day, then focus on small details on the fleeting moments between people in that environment. As you start to capture the things that interest you and catch your eyes as you're walking around, when you review those images you'll start to seen what works and what doesn't work and you learn from that, and then the next time you head out, you'll have a personal idea of what you want to look for, what's interesting to you. One thing that everyone has to get past as a street photographer, and the early you do it, the better your work is going to be and the faster you'll progress, is that fear. Is seeing something interesting and being worried about approaching the scene and actually taking that photo. There are certain tricks I guess you can use to get closer, but everything comes from body language. If you've got smile on your face, if you've got good intentions about why you're taking that image, then you can really do anything you want, even if you don't quite have that body language yet to hide in plane site and disappear into the background, and someone spots you taking a picture and questions you about it. If your responses, I just loved the way the light was hitting you, your outfit is great, no one's going to have an issue with that. Honestly, in nearly four years, I guess I've been shooting street photography, I've only ever been approached and asked to delete an image twice. So if you get that body language right, people either don't care that you're taking the image of them or they just don't notice anyway. As I've said, gear really is an important in street photography, the most important aspect to the gear is that you'd known it inside and out so you don't have to think about it as you're shooting. Lens choices is a little bit trickier because the lens that you choose is going to inform the way that you capture the world. For me, I tend to shoot with a mid-range, so 50 millimeter, 85 millimeter, something a little bit longer, but only you can make that decision. I would recommend if you're starting out to probably shoot, 50, and then from there you can decide if your view of the world is that messy or get into the scene view, the 35 or 28 even, or if like me, you prefer the longer focal lengths. Having smaller light gear is really important to me, so I don't even shoot full-frame, that's not important. I use a Fuji, this is an X-Pro2. So it's not even the latest version of that, but it does everything I need, and I can change things without looking at it. So more importantly than anything, I don't have to think about that. I can concentrate on what I'm looking at. I personally tend to shoot in aperture priority. I live in a country that's got pretty inconsistent weather in lightning conditions. If I'm lucky enough to be somewhere where it's consistently sunny the whole day, I may set things manually and just leave it so I don't have to think about that anymore. You could certainly do this entire class with a smartphone, everything still applies. You won't have quite as much control over depth fulfilled, that may be an element of abstraction that won't be quite as accessible to you, but you can still absolutely work on composition, visualizing scenes, capturing those fleeting moments, all of the applies regardless of what you have. So today, we're going to be shooting in midtown Manhattan because we can. The history of street photography really exists along fifth and sixth avenue, it stems from the all mass are shooting there. So when we have the opportunity to shoot there, it makes sense that that's where we do it. So let's get to it. Let's head out. 4. Visualizing the Scene: We're here in Midtown Manhattan. It's about mid afternoon. The weather isn't exactly what I'd hoped for, but it looks like it's starting to rain, which is always good for me if you know my work. Umbrellas are great objects. They make people stop having their phone in their hand. Everyone's moving quicker, they are more distracted, you can really do whatever you want when it's raining. Just going by today, because it's been overcast all day, I would want to shoot later in the day. If you've got no strong light sources to work with, if you just wait until the sun goes down and you're lucky enough to be in a city like New York where there's man-made light sources absolutely everywhere, that's the time of day to shoot. If it's cloudy, absolutely everything you look at it as a potential photo. It can be overwhelming because everything's flat. There's no obvious things to move towards. At night, like a moth to a flame, you just walk around seeing bright light source, and you just work the light sources, it makes it a lot easier. The approach is open. That's what street photography is. It could be nothing, it could be everything. Could be, we turn a corner and just get gifted some incredible scene that no one's ever seen before and I'm never going to see again and I'll just shoot frantically or we could work for half an hour and see nothing and just be trying to build abstract frames and compositions to maybe come back to later on. Most of the history of street photography exists in this area. But like anywhere you go, even if there is no history of street there, you need to wander and just acclimatized, see what's happening, understand where people are moving and what's happening on the streets. We're just going to walk, get a feel for the area, see what's going on and see what we see. The thing I'll be paying attention to right now is just little elements like the back of his jacket flapping up, the corner going over. Maybe there'd be something in his back pocket that would be interesting and that little detail would be the shot. Because there is no sun, there's no big pool of light hitting this corner, there's no obvious frame, every little detail could be a shot. There we go. You've got the red stoplight just passing through in between him silhouetted against the gap in the buildings there. The red and blue flash from the ambulance as it passes, it gives you a temporary light source, like a nice gold entrance wave. Someone moving inside it, you can get really odd shadow that you won't be able to repeat. It was just nice texture on the glass on the far side of him. It was enough contrast in the light because he's inside and he's under shade for him to be silhouetted. Then the red lights in the distance there were coming through the window with a little strip light which I'm not sure where that was coming from in the near side. It's an okay shot. I don't know. Maybe until we look at it and I did that, it could be good. Contrast is key. If you haven't got color contrast or contrast in terms of dark and light or a really compelling moment, how are you going to direct the viewer's eye to the thing that you want them to look at. You could use elements in the scene to direct. You could have great light contrast. It could be color contrast. You just need something that's going to make people look at what you want them to look at. This is just a good example of why this time of day in this city isn't always ideal because the lights from the truck there would be brilliant, but it's just too bright around. It's not spilling enough on anything. You can see it just about is hitting some metal surfaces, but it's just not illuminating anything that much. In a couple of hours time, this would be completely different. With a street performer like that, what he's doing there in front of the guitar in the air is unusual. I wouldn't normally look at street performers but that is out of place. But then it's what you're actually going to do with that element. It's really flat. If he throws that guitar in the air, it's just going to be a guitar against a building. There's nothing more you can really do with it. Maybe you just spend the time watching and looking how he's acting. Maybe there is something you can do with that. Maybe you come back later, it's darker, you do get another ambulance pass up the street, which they pretty regularly do and it's him throwing that guitar in the air with the red and blue flashing lights on him. That becomes a lot more interesting than right now where it's just completely flat light. Maybe he moves. You could see where he goes later on, but I suspect is going to be there awhile. There will be time to come back and see what you can do with it later. A time of day like this there's no guarantees that you're going to get anything in any direction. It's a good reason why people were at corners, could be worth actually staying on the cross roads, then you can really quickly move to different things as they approach. It means you can see a really long way in every direction so you can prepare for what's coming. I can see everything coming down every one of the streets. Yeah. It's just stacking the deck in your favor, especially in New York more than anywhere because you've got the grid system. People just were at corners and shoot characters that just appear in front of them. You just get a 100 little scenes. You don't even have to move some times. Times Square would be really a place for that because there's so much going on and there are some clean frames to be had in there, but it's that busy. You can't really expect a single isolated character to just appear in your frame and finish it off. You just have to run around and hope something weird and interesting just happened in front of you. Because of the lighting conditions we're working with right now, I think we'll head towards Times Square and actually do a bit of hunting. 5. Capturing Fleeting Moments: One approach to street photography, one that I don't do as much as a lot of people. That approach would be really focusing on fleeting moments, focusing on people, watching their interactions. Although people are an element in my work, they're usually not the focus. Times Square is the perfect place to train yourself to do that work. The busiest place in your town would be the place to train yourself on that work. You can just stand and watch people, see things unfolding that you already recognize. I remember from a recent workshop, that I pointed out that would be a good example for that, was a couple that were walking together, moving pretty quickly and they suddenly stopped. Then the girl took one step closer into the guy, put the umbrella over his head, he went, "Well, they're going to kiss." You just know that it's going to happen because it's the behavior you've seen in the past. You know that, even subconsciously, you know that that's what's going to happen. You can spend a while in a place like this just watching how people behave, and just see the same situations repeating themselves. So you don't even have to react quickly to the moment when it happens, you know it's going happen because you've seen it five minutes before, happening with someone else. That kind of people watching just gives you a bit of a natural instinct. So you start to feel precognition, you can predict people's behavior. So little details are an obsession for me, but mostly because I just think a lot of the time people's faces distract from the story. You see someone who's done nine of their fingernails bright red, and one of them just hasn't been done at all. Something like that is more interesting to me, and if say someone was in that situation, that one fingernail unpainted, was doing something really interesting with their hands and you had their face in the shot, humans are naturally trained to look at the face. You're going to look there and miss this, you're going to miss that story. So somewhere like this is good to train yourself to look at little details. Just ignore faces, and just start looking at what people are doing, how they're behaving, what they're carrying. Places like this can be really interesting, because they're constantly changing. You've got a lot of opportunity for abstraction and juxtaposition using all the advertising, and it's constantly going to change. Like in a week's time, every one of these adverts will be different. So if you make something really great right now, it's unrepeatable. In five years time, maybe all of these signs changed completely, and shots from Times Square right now look really weird. It's certainly the case if you look back at shots of Times Square from the 1950s. The only chance we ever have to photograph 2019, is 2019. You can't do it again. The classic bane of the street photographer's life is that everyone's always on their phone. A single character sat in a spot, or on a bus, or just looking down at their phone isn't interesting. But 10 people all lined up waiting for a bus in single file, all looking at their phone is an interesting shot, and it says something about today. So there's no reason you need to avoid those elements. Include them, but just think is it a good shot to begin with? Looking up is something I do probably more than a lot people, everyone seems to be constantly looking at eye level, even photographing at eye level. It's a really familiar way to look at the world. But I tend to shoot a lower a lot, or shoot down on things a lot. I'll be looking at reflections on the floor, and just trying to find a different angle on something familiar. The issue with something like that, is it's not unique. It's repeatable. Those adverts, there are big patches of color, you have a big Coca-Cola advert over there a lot of the times, so there are big red patches of light that get thrown across the flow here. If you take a shot like that, tomorrow someone else could just go and do the same thing. It doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad image, but it's not going to be memorable if it's easily repeatable. Just watching how the advert changes, if there's any interesting elements to use in this backdrop. The stoplights, anywhere in the states are pretty recognizable. Although they don't date exactly to 2019, I would say these stuff does change, and the adverts certainly do. So if there's some interesting juxtaposition between these elements here, could be quite a clean frame considering we are in such a busy, messy place. But those adverts are going to keep changing around, so I'll just always to be passing and just saying, "What's there? What you can do with it?" There's a reflection that's iconic. There's this sign into any of the passing cars. It's something nowhere else has. This is the spot, if you find yourself in New York on a trip that you're not going to be able to repeat, the first time I came out here, I just camped out in this spot and just shot into the cars until I finally got one that worked the way I wanted it to work, because I didn't know if I'd ever make it back. Yeah, got that. A shot like that, I actually deliberately walked and made a point of walking straight towards him, because I wanted him to be looking straight at me. Other times you want to be a little bit more incognitive, it's a trick I'll use a lot of the time. If I want eye contact, so I just want that little glance into the lens, I'll bring the camera straight to my eye and just walk dead at someone so that they turn and look. Most of the time they then look away, because they're just not bothered, but you just want that little bit of recognition. Just to get opportunity a second ago to use the H&M advertising, and the back of the bus with the sudden strips. So it just links everything together, gives you a sense of place. It's something I would just shoot multiple shots of, because that advert is changing constantly. You never know what flash of light you're going to catch from the backdrop, or how it's going to change. We're not shooting film anymore, so unless you're short of card space just keep shooting. It could just be as simple as a police car passes, and you just get a quick flash, or some other lights or centers that you couldn't predict and you just get a nice extra element and color that you wouldn't have got if you were shooting single frames, and it can really make or break a shot. This is probably a spot that I would hang around in for quite awhile. We've got such a strong light source on one side of the street, you've got a really strong light source in front us spilling along the street there as well, and constant buses just providing you with silhouettes and reflections on the windows. All it's going to take is just some really defined nice moment on the bus where you can see someone's hands doing something. Something like this, I've seen the frame, I've seen the reflection of the red neon against the window, I've seen the people on the bus, I know what's going to unfold. One version of that shot is not really going to be much better than any other version of that shot. So in a situation like this, I'd wait until I've got one that has the elements that I see in my head in it, and then I'm done. You could spend hours here waiting for the right moment on the bus to just be slightly better than another, but it's more about the light and the color than anything else. So I'm saying waiting any longer would just be missing out on everything else, every other opportunity that's going to happen in the city. 6. Playing with Abstraction: The one thing I tend to look for more at night than any other time is abstraction, is using light sources, reflections, removing reference points to just make a graphical composition. Times Square is quite a good place for it with all the advertising. We've done a little bit of that already. Learning to see the reflection before what's through glass is a key element in that. So if you focused on the guy in the doorway right now, it's not going to be a very interesting shot, but if you see the reflection first and that big patch of red, gives you a color to work from. That's much more interesting than him. You could compose a scene based on that and then just wait for the right person to be coming through that door and then that's your frame. You could even work with a longer lens and focus entirely on the reflection. It could just be someone's hand on the inside of the glass as they push the door open, and that human element and the rest of the frame is completely composed around the color. A good test for anyone who's watched this all the way through, go out and actually train your eye to see reflections before you see what's through glass. It's something that once you get used to doing, you can't stop doing it. Every reflection you ever see, every bit of glass, every reflective surface, you will notice the reflection before you see what's actually on the other side of the glass. It's a much better way to compose an image, it's useful but it will get interesting after time that you find yourself staring at a light source and a reflection and then realize that there's actually someone sat right behind that glass looking straight at you, but you don't notice them at first. It can be quite weird. So let's head back through Times Square through Sixth from the Fifth Avenue and we'll see what abstract frames we can create. One obvious element to help create abstraction is a nice fast lens. If you've got something that can shoot at 1.8, it's going to help you at night focusing on something in the foreground and letting everything just drop away out of focus. It's an easy first step into abstraction. When you're just walking around and you see a nice big element right there. So I was just wondering what I could do with the reflection of the lamp post just disappearing into that. Then there is a point a little bit further over where you line up the edge of the building losing that reference point. When things are flipped, you just stop understanding the scale of things. You can't tell where this element sits from that element cause you have nothing in the foreground to reference from. So it just flattens the entire scene down, becomes a lot more confusing. I mean, there's not enough of a light source here on the street to do it. But just taking a second to look up, you've got an abstract element there. You've got human shapes, but nothing defined enough to be able to say that is a particular person. You can't see faces well enough, all you can see is shapes and color. It really can be a waiting game. So the advert that I am waiting for has a giant hand on it and the signs in front of us as well every now and then switch to red. The advert that I saw is blue so the color contrast would be really nice. But whether or not the timing of these adverts changing is in sync or not, I don't know. You could be waiting for these adverts to change and it just never happens. They never match up. Let's just keep walking and see what we see. Just like the way the ceiling here is reflecting of the open pianos. That's the shot you really just make an excuse to go inside and actually shoot that from in there. This is a good example of choosing what you don't want in the shot as much as what you do want in the shot. A common mistake is people get fixated on the subject to their photo and forget that there's all this other mess that's not contributing to the story. When a simple thing like, say we wanted to frame up the radius in neon right now, this left side of the street isn't helping. It's distracting. Just moving across to them. Block out all of that. Just using an element like this in the foreground. I mean, that's static but if you've got say a human element and your frame that's static as well, they're not going anywhere. You don't need to worry about your subject anymore. You can start considering everything else around it and how you're going to simplify the frame. Maybe it's using some other person on the street to block out that messy left side of the frame, or using a car, or a lamppost, whatever it is that can direct the viewer. A common one that I use on the street. If there is a, say an interesting character walking down the street I would have two people in front of me and use the v of their shoulders to cut out everything else on the street and just isolate that subject. Hopefully you can go forward from here over the next, say give yourself a few weeks to focus on different elements of things that we've gone through. At the end of it, give yourself the challenge to go out and shoot just based on gut instinct. Don't take too much time. Don't overthink the frames that you're going for. Just shoot everything that catches your eye. As you're out, literally you see something, just take a picture of it. Don't let your thought process get in the way. Then when you review those shots, just see how much the things that you've gone through over the last few weeks have influenced those decisions. Hopefully there'll be a big difference between what your gut instinct is directing you towards then and what it was directing you towards before you did that. So now we've gone through all of these different elements that are going to improve your street photography. We can talk about how to edit that down, and the selection process, and really how to be brutal about your own work. So we'll head back to the studio and get stuck into that. 7. Making Selects: We're back and we can go through the process of importing everything and culling things down. I shoot a lot, one thing I guess that separates often a great photographer from a good photographer is they take more bad photos. The more you take, the more bad there is, but then with the bad comes the good. One thing I do that is little different than I guess a lot of people is, after I've shot I don't import everything. A lot of shots I take are kind of tests, they are throwaways. It's me just kind of visually exploring something. I'll just take a shot, I don't know that time if it has worked or if it hasn't. So when I come to import, I don't bring those shots in, I will bring in every shot of a scene that had potential and leave the ones that were the obvious tests. A bad habit that I've broken now, thankfully, is editing the same day that I shoot. I tend to, as much as I can now, try and leave a little bit of time between the shots and the actual edit process. It makes you more impartial because there will be scenes at the time you were really excited to capture and in your mind, that's the best shot you took that day and if you edit the same day, those are going to be the ones that you choose. If you leave it a week, two weeks, however long you want to give yourself, between looking back at those shots. You're going to look at them and genuinely ask, "Are they good?" whether or not you were invested in the scene at the time. The initial selection of kind of the scenes that worked is a bit of a gut feeling. Some of that is from the time I remember what was going on, which shots had the most potential but then deciding between from one frame to another, if there's just a split second between them, really is just kind of the balance in the scene, how someone's features may line up. Maybe someone's head just turned to the side and you get, say, a clearer silhouette or a flash of light from a car that you didn't expect. It can be just those little small elements that they make or break the scene. I use Lightroom, but really there's so many options out there. You can use anything you want. They're all essentially going to do the same thing. So let's get started. Let's look through what we actually shot. Something I do that probably a lot of people don't is that I don't actually look at the full image as I'm going through deciding what I'm going to edit, I'm looking at the smaller version because if that works, the shot definitely works. I might get hung up on say, little details here that aren't relevant or visible in the smaller version. So if this is strong, then I'll look at the image properly and edit. Say this just initial sequence of this guy with the umbrella still on the corner here, for me, this frame actually works quite well. One of these two as an abstract, just nice color and shape but from the moment of him standing there, it would probably be that one, that would be the most successful for me. That would be one of the 10 or 15 shots I would come back to later and actually edit and see what I could add to it and what polish I could bring to the shot. Why that particular frame say over the next one, is just because I feel like that extra little red element there is distracting. It's just cleaner to just have him on his own like that. It's a small difference but it really does stop your eye from getting distracted here and concentrating on the silhouette on his profile. In this situation because I've imported everything, it would make sense to, say, add these to a quick collection to then come back and edit them. But my own workflow, I would normally only import the things that I intended to take a second look at, my work flow is a little cavalier, just throwing things away, not importing everything. But when you shoot and import essentially everyday, it just becomes much quicker, is kind of instinctual. You know what you're going to want to take a second look at and you know what you're not going to want to look at again. So for me talking about things that were just tested, so there are some shots here that were taken just as examples. During the import process there would be no need for me to bring those images in. They were just trying things out, just showing the composition. There's nothing there that compelling. The scene a little bit later on though, so this little sequence of shots of the guy sat in his van, I would import all of those and then just work my way through just deciding what subtle difference between each frame is making it more interesting, which for me would probably be with the second red light in that distance. There's kind of a route through the lights that leads you straight back to his face, which is quite interesting, but just having an extra bit of color there it fills that space, it feels less empty and a little bit more balanced. The difference between the frames, I must have lowered down as I shot that, just puts them in better position. So the next little sequence that I would import would be one of the shots of this guy in front of Radio City. But I can tell even from the thumbnails here which one is actually going to work. So there's a very quick little difference there in the light as it flashes the Christmas tree above, Radio City just brings in an extra bit of red that balances things out and it gives you something that his eyeline would actually be aiming towards. Without that, he's looking off out of frame to nothing. So as I said earlier, I shoot in aperture priority a lot of the time, something to familiarize yourself with if that's the route that you're going to go down is exposure compensation. So I shoot a lot of the time with foreground elements, underexposed, shot against harsh light sources in the background. Depending on the metering mode you choose in camera, a lot of cameras are going to expose that foreground element properly. So if you get familiar with how your exposure compensation works, you can compensate for that. You can tell the camera to deliberately underexpose and darken those foreground objects and make a point of capturing the highlights on the edge of the face and capturing the light source and the background correctly, and it will give you that nice contrast. The frame that we stopped at that I composed, I like, and it is something that I would revisit. I like the way you've just got this kind of abstract shape leftover in the top-right corner and how this enters in and breaks that corner up as well as the sign. Well, for me anyway, the advert isn't doing anything interesting enough and I know that there's so many variations of that that it's going to be worth a revisit. Another scene that we stopped at, is a good example of abstraction was this advert; H&M. It'd be really easy to just grab any one of these frames and just use that, but looking through, there is a point where you have an isolated eye, nose, and mouth. It almost comes together as a single face that's broken up, rather than how the advert really was, which was multiple versions of the same face. So for me, that frame, there where things come together would probably be the one that I would look back at and edit. So there's a useful app, I guess the locals in New York called Citizen that will flag up interesting things that are happening. There was a scene with, what was apparently a steam explosion, which seemed worth investigating. As I arrived, there were police and fire everywhere and obviously this steam backlit by this Con Edison truck, a scene that was temporary. So I, essentially, just shot the scene until it was gone, until everything was over and people left. In this case, it lasted for about half an hour. It's a scene at night, I shot as many frames as I possibly could because you can see how drastic the difference is in a split second just with the flash of the lights behind the policeman's head. Scenes like these become a lot trickier to select as well because essentially, every frame is a nice image, it's just deciding which one is the most interesting to me, which in this case, it's probably that one where there is the flash of red on his back but I don't like this white car. If this frame didn't exist, one of that one or that one would be what I would go for because the light is so even, there is nice little patches of red poking through but the shape of his hat is just so clear and that yellow light is so strong and it was a conscious decision to include that red as well. It just balances the frame out. I mean, with that missing, the whole top portion of this frame is just blank, it's odd it really needs that red, and then you get the great color contrast between the red and the yellow as well. So this sequence is one I probably wouldn't move forward with, especially considering I'm still here in the city. So I could just revisit the scene that red light source in the background is a big McDonalds neon sign and isn't going anywhere in the immediate future. The silhouette here just isn't quite compelling enough. I know that there's going to be a time when there will be several silhouettes in the same bus moving past, so settling here wouldn't make any sense since I've the chance to go back and try this again. So in this case, I'm going to move ahead with the guy in front of Radio City and the shot of the policeman and we'll see what we can make out of those images. 8. Editing Your Photos: So let's cover the almost last step in the process. I assume everyone wants to share these images once they've polished them and got them looking the best they can. But we're going to go through and edit them, get them ready for that final stage, whether that ends up being your website, a print, a book, Instagram, the project gallery. So I've picked out the two, though I've decided the most successful from the sequences. We're going to go ahead and actually edit these. For me, they're really, I'd take three main things I would look at when I'm editing, really is the exposure. Obviously you want the image to be nicely exposed, if it isn't perfectly exposed in camera. Clarity and split toning. So split toning is just adjusting the hue of the highlights and the shadows. But it's quite a good way to counteract man-made light sources if you've got an awkward, white balanced situation, you can actually make something look more natural and how it really looked to your eye at the time by just tweaking, adding little bit of split toning. One thing that I'm basically always doing, let me just bring clarity actually down a little bit, and then bring clarity back in to the areas that need it. It's a common mistake in my eye the people who just seem to want to add detail, and it just looks unnatural. Whereas for me, especially in the case of this image, that area just across the front of his face, that light that's just catching is the focus for me. That's something that I would want to bring clarity into, taking it out of most of the scene, and I'm just going to add a little bit back to his eye there, just to make that more of a focus. It's subtle, but it's enough that it destroys your eye a little bit more. The rest of the scene to be honest, let us get in camera. I'm going to bring the highlights down a little bit, just to bring the color back to this area in the sign. I like things less than saturated, but I'm only going to bring that up a tiny bit and see what it looks like a little brighter. For me, that's probably it. For me, at most I may spend a couple of minutes on an image. Most of the time and it's something I do a lot is share things straight off the back of my camera, and my Instagram stories, so you can see what the shot looked like before I've done anything to it. If the shot needs more than a few minutes of editing, then I really think you're trying to create something that wasn't there to begin with. I may, in some cases, I guess, tweak images in two or three different ways. They may only be, again what I've done here really subtle changes. But I may do a couple of different versions of that, because I know the platform that I'm going to share my images on, and until I get this, say this photo onto my phone and actually see it the way everyone else is going to see it, I don't know how it's really going to look. So we'll go through and edit the pitch of the cop here. This is one that's actually going to probably take a little more. I can be indecisive, so I might do things to this. I may adjust the curves here, and then actually decide I don't like that and backtrack. But again, I love color. So I'm going to bring the saturation up a little bit, I'm going to bring the clarity down a little bit. But once I'm actually going to do a local adjustment, I'm just going to bring this backup a little bit, just to make a bit more of a point of his jacket there, I may even actually split tone this one a little bit. But one thing I would always go by is less is more, and while I'm doing this I'm just staring at the image, just seeing what looks natural. See there's a point in the middle there where the split toning just doesn't look like real life to me. So that's where the actual spill of the light makes sense. So being a bit warmer, because there's so much yellow in the scene doesn't seem unnatural in this case. I may add in just a little bit more contrast. For me that would probably be it with that one. I may even actually in this case, change the hue of the reds a little bit. Generally, I'm always trying to make the scene look how it did to my eye, whether or not I've got a romanticized vision of the scene in my head, and I'm actually moving it more towards what I though it looked like than what it actually looked like. There's no way to know, but I'm always thinking about what looks natural, what looks real. So for instance, I guess this one, if I wanted to make it look a little more natural, I could split tone it slightly differently and it was a cold night, something like that would actually be probably more accurate to how it really was. So yeah, just a little bit of split toning can go a long way but you have to be aware of what's going to be natural. In this case, I've done two different versions of this split toning. So I'm actually going to export the version as it is now. Just to give myself the other option, I'm going to bring things back a little bit warmer, make more of a point of that yellow light and export that version as well. Then see how they look on my phone. Then I can make that final decision before I actually share the image. So I've exported some images. I tend to keep just a folder on my desktop of final exports, I'm going to air drop these over to my phone. That's it. To me, giving myself those options it really does seem like the warmer image is the one to go for. That's more appealing to my eye at least, maybe a little bit less natural, but that's the color balance that I like. My final choice of what to share is a balance between what I like the most, and what I think is going to be the most interesting to my audience. It doesn't necessarily inform what I shoot. I will still shoot what I want all the time, but I just may not share always the image that is the most interesting to me, because I'm very aware of who I'm sharing to and who's going to see this image. Hopefully at this point, I guess everyone sees the value in sharing their images, even if it's to a small group of people, even if it's just to someone that you shoot with or friends and family, just getting feedback on that can be very valuable. In this day and age I've made great friends all over the place just through Instagram. Those connections have led to me traveling to places that I wouldn't have traveled to, and seeing things and new cities that I wouldn't have seen otherwise, even if it's as simple as telling me what's the good places to go and eat. A lot of times through those connections, I'll find out about little events or things going on or interesting spots that's are temporary that I can go and shoot that I would never have found out about otherwise. Like any niche community, street photography is quite close, people generally are rooting for each other. It's good in a way that people aren't so protective about things that they've seen. I know there's only a couple of other streets photographers in Cambridge where I shoot. But if we've passed something really good that day and we bump into each other, we'll say what's going on, what we've seen and share those tips. So now it's your turn, I encourage you to share what you've shot. It doesn't have to be tomorrow, it doesn't have to be the second you finish this class. You don't have to go out and shoot, and then instantly share that stuff. Give yourself some time to work on these tips. When you feel confident that you've got something that you're really happy with, share it in the project gallery and see what connections you make. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You've made it to the end of the class. You've seen my approach to street photography. We've covered getting out there and shooting, visualizing the scene, my approach to telling and editing. Hopefully, you've gained an extra curiosity and obsession with what's out there and what you're seeing every day and you can put some of this into practice. When you've nailed that shot, you can share it in the product gallery. Thanks again for joining me on this little journey. I hope you take away everything you wanted, I can't wait to see what you create.