Street photography has been around for decades — way back in the early years of World War, famine, hunger, and financial crisis. It even sparked several debates whether it’s legal or ethical to do so. Although these questions remain unanswered, a lot of people have been more invested in street photography lately.
It may have started that way but it didn’t stay for long. Today, it’s not just limited to photojournalists, it even hits casual and creative photographers alike. But the real essence of this photography genre is still intact: it is thrilling, challenging, and takes a lot of patience because it should be candid and in perfect timing, not staged.
Canon Philippines gave us an opportunity to learn more about shooting in streets with the guide of popular photojournalist, Jilson Tiu. We roamed around the streets of Intramuros and got a glimpse of life inside the walls.
It hasn’t been long since Canon released the EOS RP in the Philippines. Just a refresher, it is the early successor of the EOS R, which is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. It is also their second mirrorless camera with a smaller body and introduced other cut-down features to make it (a little bit) cheaper.
Canon has come a long way in making and manufacturing cameras. My first camera is a 60D, which was a prosumer king during its time. My initial hands-on with their newest mirrorless camera felt familiar. They have managed to keep the design language in a smaller form factor.
Enough with the technicals. As someone who has been into photography since high school, I can tell that street photography is specifically not my forte. But this doesn’t mean I won’t challenge myself. I learned so many things during this photo walk — so I’m giving you eight tips when shooting around the streets, together with my EOS RP experience.
1. Learn the basics
They are called “basics” for a reason. You should not go to war without learning how to shoot a gun — the same principle applies in photography. Learning how shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and aperture work before you shoot is essential because you will not (and should not) rely on Auto Mode, especially that you are going to use DSLR or mirrorless cameras when shooting, which is a lot more versatile than using point-and-shoot cameras.
Other photography jargons such as Depth of Field (DOF), focal length, white balance, exposure bracketing, should follow along the way. Composing shots is also part of the basics, including placing subjects within the frame, exercising Rule of Thirds and/or Golden Ratio, and more. With the existence and vastness of the internet, searching for tutorials shouldn’t be a problem for most.
More over, technicals should come along the way. Even the lens you pick affects the quality of shots you take. Prime, kit, telephoto lenses, you name them. Photography isn’t as easy as it seems, but trust me, knowing the basics will be one of your biggest achievements and advances as an aspiring photographer (or photojournalist).
2. Look for human elements
Imagine walking around the streets without any human element, do you think street photography would still make sense? Human element creates several stories in the shots you capture. Street photography isn’t literally talking about capturing the streets, it’s more about capturing the culture between people and the streets you pass by.
One misconception about street photography is when photographers take their posing models as subjects, and street as a background element — put simply, that’s not street photography.
3. Know one’s story
To whoever is reading this, I would admit that I’m socially awkward. A big chunk of me being an introvert holds me back from talking to people. If you are really focused on doing street photography, this tip is very important in establishing connections and making relationships as you shoot more individuals in the long run.
Once you find at least one (or several) human element/s you want to capture, it shouldn’t stop there. Talk to them. Ask them about life, how is their day going, other questions to follow. These questions may sound simple but it helps in creating a sense of belongingness, even if you are both strangers to each other. It would also feel authentic when you talk to them more, even when you are both focused on the different things you’re doing.
Taking the shot above as an example. Although he is busy with his job as a barber, he still entertained our group because we took the initiative to speak with him. Talking to people contributes to the candidness of the photograph. It did not disrupt the things we all did — he even enjoyed the small talk with our group. Let your single photograph say a thousand words to those who will see it.
4. Respect all things around you
Part of having moral ascendancy is respecting each and everything around you — not limited to life forms such as people, animals, and plants, even non-living things alike.
In this particular shot, an old man got mad at our group for suddenly capturing this dog. After trying to ask for permission, he then decided to let us shoot. There are times when people are not amused seeing cameras pointed at them nor at the things they own. If it happens to you, respect their privacy and decision. You should not argue and you definitely need to walk away before you get yourself in trouble.
5. Stop making poverty an aesthetic
I have seen a lot of street photographers who are making poverty as an aesthetic. In connection to tips two and three, showing one’s respect is not imitating the way they live or how they interact with other people.
Exhibit A: You want to do a staged photoshoot with models pretending they are beggars.
Exhibit B: You were awed when you saw two siblings sleeping along the footbridge. You decided to take photos of them and shared it on Social Media without their consent.
Social Media exposure would raise awareness about their situation, but do you think it would make them happy if they knew they were photographed without consent? If no talk or story-telling happened in between, it is not street photography anymore. The essence of knowing their life nor story never even happened. It is unethical to make one’s living condition a part of your Instagram or Bēhance portfolio — so is exaggerating one’s situation as a staged shoot.
6. Post-processing is normal, #NoFilter shots are not bragging rights
Cameras and lenses are not created equally. Although my experience with the Canon EOS RP is outstanding and its RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens does the job well, there were times that the shot I took was not aligned to what I wanted the outcome to be.
Post-processing isn’t cheating. There’s nothing wrong with fixing your photography mistake (or worse, a hardware mistake). In fact, it already takes place the moment you press the shutter button on your camera — that is why people should not make #NoFilter shots a big deal. If you are one among the clumsiest users who forgot to set RAW shooting, you have no choice but to stick with your .jpg files.
Let’s say you forgot to adjust the Custom WB (White Balance) while shooting, post-processing apps can help you fix it. You can even do other processing techniques if you want to convey more feelings in your shots. It is a part of experimentation, and the values in each photo you edit are not something that’s always definite.
In this particular photo, I adjusted the curves that helped it achieve a faded look instead of deep shadows, making it feel softer with minimized shadows and contrast. I minimized the highlights because of the harsh sunlight hitting the tile bricks. I also moved the slider to the warmer side for it to look lively. Color science says that photos on the cool side feels melancholic and lifeless.
I suppose not everyone is computer-literate. There are mobile apps you can try when it comes to post-processing your shots — such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Lightroom Mobile, a toned-down version of the PC-based Adobe Lightroom. Take note that mobile apps may have limited functions, especially because they are free.
Reminder: Before all of you use (and abuse) the power of post-processing, you should have already understood the first tip. Not to sound like a broken record but it is about understanding the basics. Nowadays, a lot of people rely on post-processing without knowing the essentials — maybe it’s time to learn them properly.
7. Capture the scenery, too
Imagine you are trying to shoot on top of a building. You peeked at your camera’s viewfinder, adjusted the focal length, and tried fitting human elements within the camera’s frame. Suddenly, you realized that the scenery makes them stand out more — that’s what this tip is for.
Street photography should not be limited to street per se. As long as the background element does not overpower the human element or subject, you are good to go. The lush greenery along this golf course make the golfers stand out more. The differences in their movement make it feel dynamic, candid, and emphasizes their actions of playing golf.
8. Explore unusual elements to shoot
Last but definitely not the least is all about looking for odd elements that will make you and your composition different from others. Staged photographs can be imitated, but not the candid ones. That’s why learning the basics matter, so you can compose shots in a split second — every shot you take makes a lot of difference.
Use juxtaposition when possible in order to convey two contrasting elements in one frame. In the shot above, I was aiming to describe the situation of the Philippines (or other similar nations) today — the biker represents that Filipino citizens are freely moving around, while the window grilles represent that we are restricted to freely express ourselves due to government policies and sanctions (Threat to Press Freedom, anyone?).
I captured more than ten photographs in the same location just to get my desired composition. If you think this goes against the essence of shooting candid photos, it’s not. I do not personally know him nor directed him to pass by. Misconceptions like this can cause trouble among the photography community, and you should avoid that.
Another candid shot I took talks a lot about growing up and getting old. Having the same walking direction between the old man and the children tells us that time is constant. There is nothing that can stop us from accepting more responsibilities and having different kinds of interest as we grow up.
Photography throughout my years
I was born knowing what traditional film cameras look like and how they function. I was even there when VGA, 3-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras in phones made headlines. Photography has come a long way, and they still keep improving. It’s not even limited to professional cameras anymore that newer smartphones with excellent mobile photography prowess can now be considered as contenders.
As I was saying, street photography is not my forte. But from my experience using the Canon EOS RP coupled with a new RF lens system (vs the old EF lens mount), capturing photos still felt like I was using my old 60D because of the familiar feel and function. After using different cameras throughout my creative journey, Canon still lives up to their name for creating a big name in the camera industry.
Fujifilm launches new flagship camera for pros, 3 lenses
The GFX100 II
Fujifilm has announced the launch of the new flagship GFX100 II medium format camera as part of four new releases.
Aside from the camera, there are three new camera lenses with different focal lengths to suit users’ needs.
Available for PhP 459,990 (body only), the new medium format camera is designed to meet the high standards of professional photographers and videographers.
The GFX100 II has a large format sensor that is 1.7 times the size of a full frame sensor. It’s made to deliver enhanced image quality with rich tonal reproduction and sharp three-dimensional details.
It has advanced new features, such as AI-based subject detection autofocus and a high-speed image processing engine for better burst shooting of up to 8.0 frames a second.
For videos, the camera can record 4K 60fps 4:2:2 10-bit video and supports 8K at standard 30fps, the first for the GFX series. It offers optimized video format modes for different lenses.
There are more connectivity options as well, including Ethernet and HDMI ports. A separate Vertical Grip may also be purchased for PhP 31,990.
GF55mmF1.7 R WR
To complement the new camera, the GF55mmF1.7 R WR is a versatile large-aperture prime lens with a 55mm focal length (44mm in 35mm format) designed specifically for Fujifilm’s GFX series, priced at PhP 140,990.
It offers the benefits of a wide maximum aperture for a natural field of view similar to human vision. This lens excels in capturing images against blurred backgrounds. That makes it suitable for various photography styles like sharp portraits or creamy bokeh – both indoors and outdoors.
GF Tilt Shift Lenses
Lastly, a pair of GF tilt shift lenses will be made available by the end of October and November respectively for the wide-angle and macro variants.
The GF30mmF5.6 T/S is a 30mm wide-angle tilt shift lens that minimizes distortion and ghosting on landscape and architectural photography.
Its GF110mmF5.6 T/S Macro counterpart is a mid-telephoto lens with a 110mm focal length. That’s for unprecedented control in producing distortion- and aberration-free images in products, still life, portraits, close-ups, and more.
The 30mm will cost PhP 250,990 while the macro will have a price tag of PhP 220,990.
Fujifilm has also announced new GF lenses, including an ultra-telephoto prime and a power zoom lens for expanded video capabilities.
GoPro is back with the HERO12 Black
From action to fun cam
GoPro has been relatively quiet over the past few years. Understandable since a pandemic happened and no one could really go out during that time. That also gave GoPro the time to regroup and come out with a camera that’s more than just for action, it’s also for fun. The result is the HERO12 Black.
The GoPro HERO12 Black is featured-packed in the way you can expect action cams to be… and then some. Some standout additions are the 5.3K and 4K HDR Video, wireless audio support for Apple AirPods and Other Bluetooth devices. You can even capture in 9:16 aspect ratio for Reels and TikToks. Below is a rundown of the key features.
Up to 2x Longer Runtimes
The HERO12 Black can continuously for 70 minutes 5.3K 60fps, its highest setting. It goes up to 95 minutes at 5.3K, 30fps, and over 155 minutes at 1080P, 30fps. These are all with HyperSmooth 6.0 video stabilization turned on.
5.3K Resolution + 8x Slo-Mo
Why 5.3K? GoPro says it delivers 91% more resolution than 4K and 665% more than 1080p. It can slow down to 8x slo-mo in up to 2.7K resolution. Like stills? You can grab up to 24.7 megapixel frame grabs and 27 megapixel photos. Capture 4K video at up to 120 frames per second for 4x slo-mo.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photo + Video
HDR delivers eye-popping high dynamic range photos and 5.3K+ 4K video.
Go Wide with Max Lens Mod 2.0 Accessory
This accessory has 36% wider field of view when capturing widescreen video. It also has a 48% taller field of view when capturing vertical video. It’s lens is now 2x more scratch-resistant with a durable hydrophobic lens coating that wicks water drops away.
Video Stabilization with 360° Horizon Lock
HyperSmooth 6.0 features next-generation AutoBoost. It automatically boosts video stabilization as needed, while maintaining the smallest cropping margin possible with imperceptible transitions between crop levels. HyperSmooth 6.0 also enables horizon-leveling even with full 360° camera rotation in the Linear + Horizon Lock digital lens or in all lens settings when using the Max Lens Mod 2.0 accessory.
GP-Log + available LUTs
GP-Log with available Look Up Tables (LUTs) allows professional users to have more control with post-production editing and color grading.
Wireless audio support for Apple AirPods + Other Bluetooth devices
You can now record audio straight to HERO12 Black from Bluetooth devices such as Apple AirPods. If you’re using a different one like say the Sony WH-1000XM-series, Samsung’s Galaxy earbuds, and many like it — it’ll work. Any bluetooth capable audio device will.
You can use it for vlogging, scene narration and issuing voice commands to control your HERO12 Black from a distance.
Versatile 8:7 Aspect Ratio
The 1/1.9” sensor enables market-leading versatility with its extra-large 8:7 aspect ratio. It can be cropped into vertical 9:16, widescreen 16:9, traditional 4:3 or full-frame 8:7 aspect ratios. It’s now also available across all video resolutions as well as TimeWarp, Time Lapse, Night Lapse and all Night Effects modes.
New Vertical Capture Mode
Capture vertical video with HERO12 Black mounted horizontally. It’s perfect for sharing straight to Reels, TikTok, and Shorts.
Night Effects with Still Images
Light Painting, Vehicle Light Trails and Star Trails enable pro-level capture with push-button ease.
Simplified Camera Controls
Updated “Easy Controls” for users looking for maximum convenience and streamlined “Pro Controls” for advanced users looking for maximum control and efficiency.
New Power Tools
Interval Photo joins a suite of Power Tools. It’s designed to help you capture video and photos in unique ways. Interval Photo enables photo-capture at fixed intervals, from every 0.5 seconds all the way up to every 120 seconds.
Sync an unlimited number of HERO12 Black cameras for easy multi-camera editing. This works with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier and other leading video editing apps.
HERO12 Black’s mounting fingers now feature 1/4-20 mounting threads. This makes the HERO12 Black compatible with standard camera mounts and accessories.
Auto-Upload to the Cloud, Auto Edits + Unlimited Backup
Available for GoPro subscribers, HERO12 Black auto-uploads to your GoPro cloud account while the camera is charging. You’ll receive an automatic highlight video after the upload is complete. There’s no limit to the amount of GoPro footage you can upload to your GoPro cloud account and all footage is stored at 100% source quality.
Rugged, Versatile, Reliable
HERO12 Black is waterproof to 33 feet with no additional housing required and is built “GoPro Tough” to take a beating. GoPro subscribers enjoy “no questions asked” damaged camera replacement.
NEW Extension Pole + Waterproof Shutter Remote
As if all of that wasn’t enough, GoPro is also launching a new 48-inch-long extension pole that collapses to just 10 inches. A selfie stick of sorts.
It is designed to work with HERO12 Black’s new 1/4-20 mounting threads. Mounting fingers are also included to ensure compatibility with all GoPro cameras.
Included with the new extension pole is a detachable, wearable and waterproof Bluetooth shutter remote. The remote will be compatible with other GoPro products. They are the HERO11 Black, HERO11 Black Mini and HERO10 Black.
The all-new Extension Pole + Waterproof Shutter Remote will be available in October 2023. Visit GoPro.com to learn more
The GoPro HERO12 Black retails for PhP 24,990/ US$ 399.99. The Max Lens Mod 2.0 will be sold for PhP 7,490/ US$ 99.99. Meanwhile, the HERO12 Black Creator Edition will be sold for PhP 36,990/ US$ 599.99.
In the Philippines, you can now pre-order these and they will be available on September 14 at GoPro Official LazMall and Shopee Mall Stores and at GoPro Authorized Partners nationwide. The stores are as follows: Abenson, Camerahaus, Colours Foto, Electroworld, Henry’s Cameras, iBook, Inbox, Infomax, SM Gadgets, TechPro Unlimited, The Vault, Timeline, Urbangiz, and more.
Learn more at GoPro.com
Sony releases the A7CR and A7C II in the Philippines
Along with the smallest and lightest wide-angle zoom lens
Remember the world’s first smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera launched in 2020? Well, it now has new twin sibs! Meet the Sony A7C Series: the Alpha 7CR and Alpha 7C II (or just A7CR and A7C II to make it less of a mouthful).
For professional photographers and enthusiasts who use Sony, the A7CR and A7C II are two of the most anticipated models that follow the footsteps of the already very-capable yet compact A7C from two years ago.
Alpha 7CR: Compact Size, Extreme Resolution
As how I understand Sony’s camera naming scheme, “C” stands for C(ompact) and “R” is for R(esolution). By combining the best of both camera worlds, they’re able to create the A7CR.
Sony’s first full-frame camera with a 61-megapixel sensor was the A7R IV announced in 2019 followed by the A7R V just last year. They then managed to put the same large sensor in a more compact form factor than what the larger-bodied cousin offers — around 29% lighter and 53% less in volume to be specific.
Just like any recent Alpha camera, the A7CR is powered by their in-house Exmor R CMOS back-illuminated sensor that’s well complemented by the newer BIONZ XR imaging processor for better detail clarity and utmost image quality.
The Alpha 7CR also features Sony’s new “AI processing unit” which was made first for the A7R V. This further improves the AI-sensing capabilities and algorithms when using the camera for shooting several subjects in complicated scenarios.
Other features from the A7R V were brought to the compact model. These include AI Real-Time Tracking, high-precision AF under low EV, Fast Hybrid AF performance, silent continuous shooting, and more.
Video recording isn’t compromised with its 4K at 50/60p support. That’s also with the inclusion of S-Cinetone, Log recording, and LUT support for better post-processing flexibility while recording. Active Mode stabilization is also handy in shaky handheld situations. This is also thanks to its 5-axis in-body image stabilization with a 7-step advantage in stills-shooting.
Battery is rated to last longer around 530 shots when shooting images and around 155 minutes if you do continuous video recording through its 3-inch LCD touch-enabled screen. Using its EVF (electronic viewfinder) slightly degrades its battery life. It can be charged through its USB-C port with the faster Power Delivery protocol.
Alpha 7C II: Full-Frame Compact with Versatile Power
As obvious as it sounds (and looks), Sony’s A7C II is the direct successor of the A7C.
The A7C II still has that 35mm full-frame sensor inside but unlike its twin, the second-generation A7C has a smaller 33-megapixel camera. Still, it’s a big step over its predecessor’s 24.2-megapixel shooter and the 26-megapixel-touting A6700 with an even smaller APS-C sensor.
Despite the bigger megapixel count, it’s actually 22% lighter than its older sibling at just 429 grams (versus 509 grams). It also has more Phase-Detection AF points at 759 for preciser shooting (as opposed to A7C and A7CR’s 693 points).
Although this isn’t a Sony “S” camera, which stands for S(ensitivity), the A7C II has the better ISO Sensitivity up in its sleeves: Up to 51,200 and expandable to 204,800 (the A7CR maxes out at 32000; expandable up to 102,400).
By the way, the A7C II is also equipped with the newer BIONZ XR engine as well as the revolutionary AI processing unit that newer Alpha models all possess.
The twin models of the A7C series also share similar feats.
Aside from its hardware and 5-axis in-body stabilization tech, there are more usable features like Real-Time Recognition AF, a more precise Subject Recognition, AI-based Auto Framing, burst shooting in RAW format, high-speed continuous shooting, and other high-quality video shooting features like S-Log plus S-Cinetone, and LUT support, Breathing Compensation when focusing, as well as 7K/6.2K oversampling.
Battery is rated to last a little bit longer than its twin with 560 stills and around 165 minutes worth of continuous video shooting — still by looking at its LCD instead of the smaller EVF. It’s also chargeable via its USB-C PD port.
World’s smallest and lightest
I’m not talking about the cameras anymore. This section is dedicated to the new G-Master lens in its typical lens model naming: FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II.
At just 547 grams with a length of 111.5 millimeters, this new GM FE lens makes it the lightest wide-angle zoom lens yet. That’s thanks to a new optical design contributed by an extreme aspherical (XA) lens. It’s also covered by Sony’s Nano AR Coating II which reduces ghosting and flares against strong light.
Additionally, the front lens has fluorine coating for easy dust and smudge removal. Its even outdoor-ready with its dust and moisture-resistant design.
Despite its lightness, it’s still packed with the latest XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors. This contributes to an extra fast, precise, yet quiet AF (Auto Focus) suitable when capturing snaps and stills.
Lastly, its wide fixed f/2.8 aperture means the lens can achieve photographs with shallower DoF regardless of focal length.
Pricing and availability
As expected, full-frame cameras will always come with a hefty price tag.
In the Philippines, the Sony A7CR retails for PhP 179,999 and is only available in a body-only configuration.
There’s also an optional GP-X2 grip extension that helps the user shoot stabler and provides an additional grip and comfort even under longer periods of time — especially when a big, long, and heavy telephoto lens is attached to such small body.
However, the price of the accessory is yet to be announced and wasn’t stated during the time of this writing.
Meanwhile, the Sony A7C II is being sold in two configurations: PhP 129,999 for the body-only option and PhP 145,999 if you buy it with a bundled kit lens.
Lastly, the new FE 16-35mm F2.8 G Master II wide-angle zoom lens retails for a whopping PhP 139,900.
Sony Philippines has also announced pre-order bundles for prospective buyers:
- Buy an A7CR or A7C II = Get a Peak Design Cuff plus NP-FZ100 Battery Pack (worth PhP 7690)
- Buy the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II = Get a Peak Design Slide (worth PhP 4,990)
- Buy the FE 24mm F2.8G or FE 40m F2.5G = PhP 33,800 (from PhP 36,800)
- Buy the ECM-G1 Shotgun Microphone = PhP 5900 (from PhP 8400)
This promo runs only within the whole month of September 2023 on all participating authorized dealers nationwide.
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