A day out at Shanghai Disneyland, with all the expected crowds and activity, seemed like a good opportunity to shoot some street photography. So I packed my camera and went to my first, and at the time of writing only, Disney park.
Having read some negative press about the whole park experience beforehand, I was unsure how exactly the day would go. What I felt more sure about was my chances of coming back with some images worth sharing here.
As you're reading this, that's what happened. So come on in. Check them out. And let me know what you think of them, and how your own theme park street photography went if you've ever tried any yourself!
If you want to get a better idea of how good your street photography really is, you're going to have to ask someone. And the more people you ask, the better idea you're going to have.
The easiest way to let people judge your street photography is to put it online. Instagram, Flickr, 500px, your own blog. Anywhere that allows you to get honest feedback on it.
What you think is good might not be well received. What you think is below average might be loved by your audience. You never know unless you let people form their own opinion of it. And the best thing about this? You're going to learn just as much from the reaction to your work as you do from creating it.
Questions: do you know what your street photography style is, and do you think it's important to even have a clearly defined one?
I believe it is, and I'll tell you why in this article. I'll also give you the chance to leave your own thoughts on what your style is and why, why you don't have one (if you don't), and why you think it is or isn't important to have one.
Come take a look, read my own ideas on this, and be ready to tell everyone yours in the comments section at the bottom. I'm looking forward to hearing them! :)
Create or Hate, the 4th book by Australian entrepreneur Dan Norris, has been written with one goal in mind - to get you to create something today.
The titular Hate (with a capital H) isn't the kind that's directed at other people. It's an internal self-hate that creeps up if we let it and stops us from creating the things we say we want to create. The key is recognising and suppressing it.
Motivational media has perhaps never been as popular as it is now, so what did I take from this book? Come find out in this review.
Once in a while, one of the many feel-good motivational quotes you see online really resonates with you. This one did with me: "instead of attacking what you hate, start promoting what you love. Be that change you want to see".
It relates to how I feel about other people's street photography, or anything else they create, and about how I'm changing how I shoot for now too. No more monochrome. More colour, and more layers.
I'm being the change I want to see in that respect, and this post documents my first attempts at shooting this way. The photographs may not be amazing but the learning process is. Come take a look.
How's your street photography? Good? Great? Average? Not sure which? I'll stick my neck out and say it's probably the last one. Average. Most people's is. That represents an opportunity, though.
You want to have your street photography noticed? Then you don't necessarily need to be great. Not yet. Just get yourself above average.
You want to know how? I'll give you four ways. None of them are groundbreaking, or even difficult to put into practice. You just need to come and make the effort.
One thing I struggle with is finding completely free days where I can head out with my camera. Work and life get in the way, I tell myself.
However, this perceived lack of time isn't as severe as the voices in my head would have me believe. I don't actually need whole days. Far from it. And there are plenty of ways I could manage my time better that would give me, say, an hour a day for street photography.
An hour is better than nothing, of course, but is it actually enough? Well, spoiler alert: check the title. And then come read the article.
Street photography clichés, such as people walking past pictures and signs or people using their mobile phones, make up a huge percentage of the street photography posted online.
It's an important step in the development of a street photographer, but there often comes a time when you'll want to shoot something more original. Perhaps more importantly, there also comes a time when your fans will want to see something more original.
The question is, when the time does come, how can we get over clichéd street photography? Come find out in this post.
Effort justification is making you overestimate the quality of your photography. Because you know how much work went into creating it, you hold it in higher regard than anyone else does. And then you wonder why nobody thinks it's as good as you think it is.
It's not confined to photographers, of course. Anyone who creates anything will have a skewed idea of its worth. The important thing is to understand this and try to remove it as much as possible. Doing so will help you know what to publish and what to shelve, and to understand why your work might not be getting the acclaim you think it should.
Lessening the effect of effort justification isn't as difficult as creating your thing was in the first place, but it might take more time. Come learn how here.
The swimmer's body illusion is what makes us think enough lengths of breaststroke can give us the physique of an Olympic athlete. It's what makes us think some cosmetics can have us looking like a supermodel, and that Oxford is producing genii rather than taking them in.
It's also something you can use to your benefit with your photography, blog, or anything else you want to do well in. Once you understand the concept, you can use it as a guide to building on your strengths and letting someone else do what you're average at.
Come learn more about how this cognitive dissonance affects us all, every day, and how recognising it can help you turn it into your advantage.
The Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5 is the third vintage lens I bought, and it helped me take a big step forward as a street photographer. Shooting wide open with f1.8 lenses is fun, but foregoing the shallow depth of field and looking for other ways to make interesting pictures adds a whole new level of fun.
In the beginning though, I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy using this lens. After being so used to other focal lengths, I was struggling to take any pictures I really liked. With practice, that changed. I now love this little block of metal and glass.
It's a vintage lens I think you'll love too if you pick one up. Come see why in this comprehensive review of the Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5 - with sample shots included.
There's probably not a photographer alive who doesn't want people to tell them what they do is good. However, chasing the approval of an audience over an artistic vision can be damaging for the quality of the work.
Social proof is a powerful thing, but is the social proof demonstrated by the number of 'likes' on social media something we should assign any value to?
Of course, it depends on your goals. But if you're looking for a photographic legacy you can be proud of rather than Insta-fame, chasing the social proof as seen on social media could be holding you back. Come read more to find out why.
Survivorship bias happens when we look only at those who succeeded before us and pay no attention to those who failed to get anywhere, then overestimate how likely we think it is we'll succeed.
It's a dangerous thing for people who create anything and dream of the traditional ideas of success - fame, adulation, money, etc - because it can be demoralising when they don't come.
As a blogger, it's in your hands to negate survivorship bias. Want to know why and how? Come learn in this post.
If you're new to blogging or are struggling to get yours firing, it's a good idea to seek out some tools that can help keep you creating content.
These might be in the form of picture editing, catching errors in your writing, or simply keeping things organised and automated in the background.
This post is a list of tools I use and recommend. It's quite a big one, so grab yourself a coffee, make yourself comfortable, and come find something you can use to help yourself with your own blog today.
Visiting a temple is always high on my list when I go to a new town or city. Not to pray, but to just go take a look. Just to see if it's a nice temple or not, really.
One bonus of doing this is I always feel better when I leave than I did before I went. Something about the buildings, statues, and iconography I suppose.
Nanchan temple in Wuxi was pretty nice, and climbing the pagoda meant I could get some urban landscape shots of the surrounding city. So that's another bonus of visiting temples. Being able to share the photography with you. Don't leave me hanging. Come take a look.