I have been shooting with a lot of people and rarely have I come across a group with all Olympus users, until very recently, in my previous shutter therapy session last Tuesday, and also this very morning. Basically I pulled together a group of people who have requested to shoot with me on my street hunting session, a few whom I have met during the KLPF 2013 last weekend. As usual I would keep the group small so it is more manageable and we can have more interaction time between each other. When you have a photography outing with too many people, people just tend to break into smaller groups anyway, and get separated from the bigger group. Why not just form smaller groups in the first place?
The location of choice was Pudu, with the primary shooting location being the Open Air Wet Market, a place which has become my favourite. There were a few newcomers this time, and it was their first time shooting in Pudu. As expected, one of the main questions raised today was how I approached the strangers and shoot their portrait photos so up-close. As usual, my answer has always remained consistent, I just walked up to them and shoot. No secret methods, no special techniques, and surely those searching for something extra from my shooting session will be disappointed. I just, literally, pointed my camera at my chosen subjects, and shot them. Did I get rejected? Yes, sometimes, but it does not really matter. There were so many more people to shoot, so many opportunities waiting. Just keep the smile up, and focus on positive thoughts, you will end up with even better photographs than the one you have missed.
The interesting fact, which I did not anticipated in the first place, was the majority of the photographers using Olympus OM-D E-M5. There were 7 of us, and 5 of us used OM-D, which was something I have not encountered before. I know I am known for being one of the significant blogger who pushed the OM-D into good light, but I myself am always surrounded with photographers and friends who do not actually use micro four thirds system.
This image was taken with my Nexus 4. So easy to tell which camera was mine, because I was the only one who used black.
All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko lenses: 45mm F1.8, 17mm F1.8 and 12-50mm F3.5-6.3
Man in Backalley
Another popular question which was asked today, as well as through many other readers through comments and emails I have received over the years, is how I post processed my images.
To be entirely honest, I do not apply much post processing. I do not use Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. I know I should be learning them and started to include those must have magic softwares in my photography workflow, but I am just being stubborn and decided not to. I am using mostly Google's Picasa, mainly because of how Picasa is fully integrated with Blogger, my blogging platform which saved me tremendous amount of time as I can organize my photographs, edit and upload to online album, directly linking into my Blogger's compose page where I am writing my blog entries. Also, Picasa is very resource friendly and is very, very straightforward, allowing very quick processing for very basic fixes, such as cropping, brightness/contrast control and quick white balance tweak. Obviously I am not recommending Picasa for those photographers who are delivering professional results to clients as well as the photographers who want to print huge.
For more complicated editing, I do use other softwares. I have the very old version of ACDSee 7 with Powerpack, for more extensive processing and editing. I also use Snapseed, another software which has been discontinued for desktop version. These softwares were more then sufficient for what I need, and I rarely needed anything more.
Of course, to obtain the amazing Olympus colors (someone mentioned to me they did not like Olympus color, that was fine, everyone has their own preference, but seriously?????? You and I must see colors very differently) I use the Olympus Viewer 3 software to convert my RAW files into JPEG. In the conversion I make sure everything is optimized, exposure compensation, white balance, etc.
I don't think emphasis should be placed on post processing. While I do not deny the importance of post-processing and how it has become an integrated part of digital photography workflow, I still strongly adhere to the old school mentality of getting it as much right as possible in camera while shooting, and perform minimal post processing later. A huge part of a great photograph comes from the photographer, the subject content, composition, lighting control, camera settings and timing execution just to name a few factors that determine how great a photograph can be. I do think many photographers have spent way too much time in front of computer, instead of being out there with their gear and shoot to make more photographs!
Waiting for Customers
This was the second time I have used my own OM-D E-M5 shooting out there in a shutter therapy session. In tight spaces, I still fully utilized my Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 in most of my shots. I somehow have a strong preference to longer focal lengths, something rather unusual for street photographers. The compressed perspective, and shallower depth of field appealed to me, which I insisted of having in my street photographs. To say that I shoot exclusively with long lenses is also not right, I do from time to time, switch to shorter lenses, especially for wide angle coverage, when I find an interesting scene or background to work with.
Foreign Worker 2
Red and Green
Shooting the friends who joined me for this session was also as fun!
Joey, Siew, Dipin and (oops... Dipin's friend..
Bottom left: KhongBottom right: Tai Foong and Alex
Khong's new funky Manfrotto Tripod. And it is cheap!
I think it was quite interesting to shoot in a group of friends who use OM-D. I surely had plenty of fun shooting and I hope the same for the others who joined me today.