4 Things in Life That Street Photography Inspired Has Me

December 16, 2017

Street Photography is more than an art that documents life and captures the moment, it is also an experience that builds one's character.


4 Things In Life That Street Photography Inspired me...


1. Patience ​

I focused on photo composition using what I can get in that situation--reflection, geometry, light and shadow. Then I waited patiently for interesting things to happen. It might take minutes to hours until the "decisive moment" happens. In life, you have to prepare for the worst but good things also happen! Work hard today and be patient for the harvest.






2. Move forward ​

One evening I was waiting for my night photography class to begin. It was 6pm in the summer, I walked around the Ferry Building and decided to take some street photos using the gorgeous and soft evening sunlight. I got some great shots of the people and sheer contrast of the light and shadow. I was tempted to stay at the same spot and repeat the same shots until I got a "perfect" image, I didn't "feel like" moving forward. However, I consciously reminded myself that life is a journey full of surprise and I have to move forward so I can see different stories. Then I walked along the coast up to Pier 39, during the 15 mins journey I got even better photos and witnessed more stories. I was inspired. If I stopped at where I was originally, I would never get to experience that much. Street photography is about moving forward. Keep moving.





3. Be courageous (step out of your comfort zone)

I have to admit that photographing street stories in Mission District (San Francisco) is as intimidating as in Hongkong! To step out from my comfort zone, I tried to talk to them and asked politely instead of pointing my camera right at their faces. It was scary. But when you do it for the first time! Then the more you do, the more comfortable and confident you'll become. Yes, I get rejected sometimes (and most of the time), and I feel embarrassed when people turned away. Keep in mind that such negative feeling is from your mind, don't let it hover for more than a minute. Your greatest enemy is yourself, your thoughts and perceptions you created; people (strangers) who rejected you just don't give a shit. The experience is very valuable and becomes part of you. Always, always smile!





4. Forgive yourself

We set goals in life. One of the small goals that I set for myself is to ask the subjects if I could get them in the pictures. Sometimes, people are not friendly even though I asked politely. One way I avoid direct confrontation is to photoshoot their reflection on glasses, mirrors or water puddle. Just like any human being, I felt embarrassed whenever the subject looked at me in an astonished way, but I would tell myself to smile back before running away. And of course, I would still forgive myself if I run away, and tell myself that I can always do better tomorrow. Be kind to yourself as you do to your best friend, forgive yourself that you're not perfect.






Sign-up for the Next Street Photography Class:


Jan 20th (Sat)

12:30pm - 4:30pm

Part 1 (Lecture): SF Financial District

Part 2 (Field Trip): Mission District


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