Street photography tips & techniques of Chinese New Year preparations & celebrations in Hong Kong
The time has come for Chinese New Year celebrations. If you go to the markets, there will be tons of people busy buying this and that for the most important festival in the year for the Chinese. As a photojournalist, I would like to capture the real moments of this time of the year. I decided to use my smartphone & a 360 camera which consists of two lens for front and rear position as my street photography camera. Because of the small size of the cameras, I can act like an ordinary person in the street and the people that I capture in my picture will not notice my action.
Tip 1: Decisive moment
A photographer is like a director of a movie. He/she has designs what appears inside the frame of the photo. However, what is the difference between a director & photographer? As a photograph only shows the moment that it is captured, we have to control when we press the shutter in order to capture those images. This is called ‘decisive moment’ as told by master of photojournalist, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
The first picture I took was at a Chinese New Year celebration event where a kid was playing a game catching gold fish with a small net. I kept my smartphone in camera mode and waited for the boy to move his right hand away from the yellow ducks while catching fish. This was my decisive moment for this picture.
Tip 2: Relationship between the scene and the people
Beautiful scenery with perfect lighting alone does not attract me. It’s only when there are people appearing in the scenes which shows the strong relationship between them that one can create a synergy. The facial expressions of the girl in the advertisement for New Year food and the two men sitting there presented an interesting contrast. In addition, the graphics behind the two men looked like the antenna of teletubbies characters.
Tip 3: Panorama mode or 360 camera
Nowadays, there is an interesting mode for all latest smartphones called Panorama. In addition, 360 cameras which can shoot all angles have also been invented. This totally changes the perspective arena of techniques used for photography for decades. The image creates a special viewing experience of more than 100 degrees which is what our human eye can see. The following picture depicts the big picture of the wet market and people around which tells what people are busy doing for the Chinese New Year celebration.
Tip 4: Anticipating the images
Photojournalists always turns on thier radar and scan what’s happening in the street. When we discover interesting scenes or people in the street, we inevitably imagine what will happen there. Most of the time, interesting things will happen when we believe something will happen. Therefore, we prepare for the shoot by instant composition and making all necessary adjustments for the shoot. What we then need to do is wait for the moment to happen. For the picture below, I was anticipating the shop owner focusing on her work with potential customers in different positions.
Tip 5: What’s next for the same location – perspective
After shooting one picture, I also think, what’s next, what can be taken at the same location which can tell a different story or highlight other aspects of the story. Let’s take the previous photo as an example. After taking the picture from outside the shop, I walked to the shop and tried to capture an opposite perspective. The previous photo showed isolation between the people and the shop while the following photo shows the interaction between a customer and the shop owner. What’s happening next always give us another angle to see the world from a different perspective.
Tip 6: Location based for smartphones in Adobe Lightroom
One main reason I like taking pictures with a smartphone is that we can easily locate where the photo was taken even after years as there is GPS information in the metadata of each smartphone photo. After each shoot, I import all my photos into my Adobe Lightroom catalogue and make all the adjustments on color, brightness, contrast, etc on the development module of Lightroom. I particularly like to check a very interesting module called “Map” from where I can check the exact location of where I took each photo. I hope this feature can help you to refresh good memories even after a period of time. As my smartphone photo is like my photo diary it becomes my map of life which keeps all my memories no matter if it is happiness or bitterness.
About the Author – Terence Pang
Terence Pang is professional photographer, speaker, evangelist for portrait, commercial & photojournalism photography for Adobe Hong Kong, Canon Hong Kong, Datacolor and is also a local popular photography blogger on dcfever.com.
He is also award winner in international photography competition in Paris’s PX3 and US’s WPPI. He studied photography in New York Film Academy. He has also started directing documentary films and screened his first short documentary film for the opening film in Hong Kong Chinese Documentary Festival in 2013. You can find out more about Terence in his website terencepang.hk