Friday, May 20, 2016

My First Street Photography Workshop in Malacca with Craftify Studio!!

Last weekend has been quite an adventurous one for me, as I was conducting a basic street photography workshop in the beautiful, historical city of Malacca. The event was organized and hosted by Craftify Studio, headed by incredible photographer friends CJ Fen and Kenn Wai, both well established wedding photographers in Malacca. I was invited to speak about street photography and conducted a short photowalk for the participants.

The Craftify studio was quite a comfortable, homely environment, and I gave a one hour photo-sharing, with some tips and tricks on street shooting in general. Nothing too fancy, most of the things I have shared here in this blog, about decisive moment, lighting, paying attention to the background, using repetitive patterns, lines, shapes color play as well as slow shutter speed to create drama in the shots. I welcomed any questions at any time and I tried my best to answer the best I can. I also shared pointers on shooting strangers and how to approach the people on the street. After the sharing session, we headed to the nearby Jonker Street for a short photowalk where I demonstrated the points which I have highlighted earlier.

It is always fun to meet new people and bring them out to shoot! I was truly glad to see so many eager, and passionate photographers, tagging along and exploring street photography. Malacca is such a beautiful town, my only wish is to have more time to shoot. I hope everyone enjoyed the session as much as I did!

Here are some behind the scene photographs, mostly taken by Kenn Wai and Brandon Liew.

I brought along some Olympus gear for everyone to try! Guess what, all cameras were fully utilized during the street shooting session. 

Group Photo, taken at the end of the session, with everyone glowing from healthy amount of sweat. Taken with PEN-F and 8mm F1.8 Fisheye lens. 

What a comfortable, homely place to be for a photo-sharing session!

I was wearing the "Real Photographers Don't Need A Mirror" T-Shirt sent all the way from Finland by Matti Sulanto

Anyone care to guess what I was referring to?

Use of slow shutter speed can add drama to street photos

I reaaaaaaallly hope everyone understood what I was saying. 

hands-on some of the newest Olympus gear

Let's Hit the street!

Since this was a workshop, I was busy making sure everyone was shooting, and giving some guidance and on the spot pointers whenever I can. Therefore, I did not get much chance on shooting on my own. However, I did get to shoot some shots, to demonstrate some of the important points I have shared, in real life shooting practice. 

All my following images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens

Approaching strangers, and including some background to support the portrait's story. 

Finding something unique and unusual, and add a human element with that subject. 

Using low angle can create a much more impactful perspective, rather than just shooting from eye level. 

find the right moment to press the shutter, in the midst of some interesting action. 

Shooting Strangers without them knowing you shoot them, a candid approach

Quick reaction to action can capture some interesting shot

A quick demonstration on how to do panning with slow shutter speed

My main messages during my sharing:

1) Do not worry too much about gear. Any camera is suitable for street photography, just use what you have, and not obsess over better cameras or lenses. Street Photography is not about what better camera or lenses you use, it is about your vision and what you shoot. 

2) Do not emphasize too much on technicalities, such as sharpness of image, dynamic range or high ISO noise. Get the photograph, capture the moment. Story-telling is more important than a noise free, sharp image. The photo may be a little out of focus, or has high ISO noise, but if your idea is strongly conveyed with beautiful, dramatic compositional presentation, I say you have a winner

3) Focus more on WHAT you shoot first rather than HOW you shoot. On the street, it is not so much on the techniques or settings of the camera, but the subject content that you are able to see, and the beauty that you want to capture. Street Photography is a lot more about observation, and reaction to what you are able to find. What you are seeing determines how strong your street photo outcome will be. 

4) I have shared some composition tricks, eg using extreme low angle (tilt screen on the ground level), adding layers to photographs, finding interesting background to make the overall framing more interesting, and paying attention to creative play of light and shadow, color, shapes and lines. 

5) There is no shortcut in street photography. Just shoot, and shoot, and shoot and you will improve over time. 

6) Most important of all, despite all the brief definitions on street photography by various photographers, I told my participants that to me, ultimately, when I shoot out there, my main objective is to have FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN! If you cannot have that, then what is the point of going out and shoot?

Me and CJ chilling after a long, long day, on a Saturday evening in the studio

To everyone that turned up for the walkabout/workshop, thank you so much! I sure hope you have learned a thing or two about street photography, and most importantly, enjoyed shooting at Jonker Street! It was a pleasure to be there, and I have seen beautiful photos submitted during the comment and critique session (we gathered back at the studio after the short shoot for quick C&C session). All I can say is, keep on shooting, and keep the passion burning! 

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  1. Looks like a hit. How nice if you could carry that workshop overseas, say to Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane! It would be wait-listed for sure!

    1. I'd say nothing is impossible! Let's hope for something to happen in the future. I do love Australia very much.

  2. I bet they were excited to learn from such an amazing street photographer.

    1. I hope they were! Thanks Nobu-san

    2. I'm sure they were. I would be.

      You don't have to add the -san to my name. I'm just Nobuyuki. You're the big deal, not me. :-)

    3. Ehhh no one is a big deal haha. Since I started working in Olympus I started to add -san to names!

  3. Your blog is always inspiring me, I wish I lived there so I could take one of your workshops! Thanks!

  4. I admire your approach to the stranger in street photography

  5. I cracked a smile you wearing that T-shirt with the slogan and then saying: 1) Do not worry too much about gear. Any camera is suitable for street photography, just use what you have, and not obsess over better cameras or lenses. Street Photography is not about what better camera or lenses you use, it is about your vision and what you shoot.
    Funny :-)