Urban Portraits

A few year ago, I started this urban portrait project during cold winter time to experiment, I wanted to step out of my comfort of shooting in studio with the models and team, didn't want to rely on anyone else to create a picture but only myself. 

Before thinking of doing this project, I was inspired by the old masters in 60s and 70s when black & white photography was considered serious work at the time. I wasn't try to imitate anyone or wait for a decisive moment. My goal was to capture the emotion and story behind about people such as joy, happiness, hope, sadness or difficulty that most of us face everyday life.

Having some inspiration and vision in mind, I immersed myself to the unexpected moment with my trusted camera and only one lens. From beginning, it was quite challenging because I had to ask people which wasn't really my things. But I never let that fear stopped me to do that project, actually I like being challenged. I consider as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Here are some tips

When shooting portrait of strangers, you have to introduce yourself first, to get to know them before asking to take a shot. In my opinion, that is the appropriate way to do and when you have that respect, you will see most of people will let you take pictures. Then you can interact with your subject to get the desire shot.

Now I know a few of you guys out there would say: Hey man! I ain't that kind of guy who likes to ask and talk to people. Well let's face it, if you really want to do something nobody can't stop it and the worst thing they could say is No to you. Big deal? I don't think so. Most of the time, people fear of rejection. Don't let that fear invades in your head or find some excuses not doing it. If you're serious about it, just go out there, use your communication ability and have faith on you.

While shooting I was so focused and enjoyed every moment of it, I met some interesting characters. By the way, I don't shoot everyone that I see but only particular person, the one who has something special looking, charisma and attitude.

How do I find motivation of doing it?

For me, the idea of doing something different, opposite way and freedom really motivated me. I think the only motivation depends on you. If you are passionate about something, you will find time for it. Obviously, you must put effort, dedication and give your life a dream and purpose.

This project is still on process of development, I'm still working on it when time is right.

For those of you want to know and care about the technical part of my photos, I shoot all natural light. Depending the light condition, I usually shoot between F4 to F8, about 1/60s to 1/250s at ISO 200 to 400. I only use one lens Canon 40mm, love this prime lens, it's really light, just fits perfectly for my style. Sometime I shoot all in RAW and JPEG combination with picture style monochrome choice.