Brenda’s A Photo Study: Ian MacDonald’s creative composition in street photography

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Ian MacDonald’s creative composition in street photography. Here is the link to Ian MacDonald’s creative composition in street photography- Part One.

Ian’s article has 5 parts. Even though most of things in his article aren’t new to me, I like how he organizes the points and provides plenty photos so it’s easy to understand. Detail Shots (part 5) is the only part that I haven’t heard often. Although once in a while I would be attracted by some details in a scene and decide to take a photo, I don’t usually look for those amazing details. In this area, I have a huge room to improve for sure. 😉

Ian talks about two different approaches for his candid street photography: (1) Set the stage first and then bring different elements together (2) React spontaneously to a moment. He considers himself to be more of a deliberate photographer than a reactionary one. I, on the other hand, consider myself a reactionary one 😉 I guess the difference is that they (serious photographers) are trying to create a piece of art, and I am trying to create something I like.

Setting the Stage

Occasionally, I, too, would take time to wait for something to happen…
The first photo was taken at Salzburg. I don’t know why I wanted a photo of that bridge since I didn’t see anything (light, shadow, subject…) special. I waited for a couple of minutes for her to show up while the rest of the traveling group was stopping at the traffic light.

Reacting to the Moment

Ian also talks two different street photography approaches that is more interactive: (1) Street portraits – he enjoy meeting new friends, and making portraits of them (2) Detail shots – he says, “Purposely cutting off part of a building, or part of a person for that matter, may create tension or mystery in the photograph. Creative use of light and shadow to hide certain elements of a photograph may also have the same effect. “ (I don’t quite understand why “Detail Shots” is interactive. I left a comment asking this question, and will give an update when I find the answer. Brenda, do you know?)

Street Portrait

Like many people, I have a hard time to approach people when I have camera in hands. (I don’t have problem when I don’t carry a camera.) 😉 And that is only one part of the problem. The other part is that no matter how relaxes the person is, his expression changes when he knows someone is taking his photo, and I often like his original expression better. So, talking to a person after taking his photo seems working better for me 😉

Detail Shots

I want to thank Brenda for another great photo-study. Looking forward to seeing the next one.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Brenda’s A Photo Study: Ian MacDonald’s creative composition in street photography

  1. neihtn2012 says:

    I read from Tim Allen’s blog that the way to get a natural shot is to have your camera all set and ready at your hip. Then press the shutter discretely without your subject noticing it. Shoot from the hip, Tim says.
    https://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/shot-from-the-hip/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great captures Helen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loisajay says:

    You were panning that first shot? I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. brenda says:

    Good day Helen. I think the silhouettes within your second image create a dynamic contrast to the geometric shapes and muted colors nudge your photograph into art. In the two images of “reacting to the moment,” my eyes went to the individual in the lower third…they seem unique in comparison to the others in the photo. I find it interesting to try and identify how a particular movie character stands out in a crowd…color of clothes, something unique about them, familiarity, etc. I read Ian’s response to your question re: interactive…brought about clarity and a internal response, “well, of course.” In your last image, I really like how the upper right third is dark and the lower left is in shadow with the strip of blue sky…again, for me, a nudge into art. Thank you for joining me. I do hope you are having fun along side me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Brenda.
      For this particular study, if I had fun, it was not obvious. I think it is more of “seriously thinking, seriously study” type of study and at the end, I felt satisfied and happy. Maybe there is more important gain than having fun?
      I asked myself why this time I didn’t have as much fun as before. I think it was because I didn’t take any new photo for the study; I selected photos from my previous trip and that’s all. I found out that the action of taking photos, particularly when you have a theme in your mind, is one for-sure source of having fun.
      I always think that your photos are much “deeper”. Each one gives me a lot to think about. And, to be honest, every time I saw your photo, I was pulled toward that direction. But I am lazy… ha.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  5. I have never asked any strangers for photography, I should try that next time I am on street with my camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah says:

    Love your shots, especially the one with the laughing woman on the bike! Just started yesterday to give it a shot at street photography (pun not intended;) ) and it was really fun, though I too struggled at approaching people and simply shot from afar. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Sarah. I still shoot from afar most of the time 😉 Once in a while people came to us asking us to take a photo of them — that made us feel great.
      But there are also people who let you take their photo but after you take their photo, they want you to pay some money. When I was in Cambodia, one woman came to me asking me to take her photo, so I did. She then extended her hand expecting me to pay. I thought she was kidding; I laughed (I thought I was laughing with her) and walked away. That was many years ago. I was a tourist; I wasn’t serious about photographing at all.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sarah says:

        Oh my! Now I’m getting anxious about people offering me money or worse demanding it when I take their photo! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        • prior.. says:

          Have to chime in – here in the states – I have occasionally had some people “expect” something – when I say it is just for my blog (personal and not a business) they are cool – but seem to want something (or hope their big break has arrived)

          Liked by 2 people

          • Helen C says:

            Very interesting! I have never seen that in the states, maybe because most of time people didn’t know I was taking their photos 😉

            Liked by 2 people

          • prior.. says:

            Ahhh – that does make a difference (knowing)
            And once I had a lady run up to me afterwards and ask if was for profit and I said no
            And she said good
            And let me Keep the pics – so in her case it was different

            Liked by 2 people

  7. Such super images … I wish I had more opportunity for street photography. Although I find it difficult to take photos of people .. great work Helen! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Julie. I think street photography is easier to do in a big city. We live in a smaller town. Not many interesting subjects on the street ;-( That’s why I took most of my street photos when traveling.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. prior.. says:

    Like this post – a lot.
    your pictures are so diverse – the bike one on bridge was worth waiting for!
    The police officers is a special special picture – seriously – feel like it should be nominated for some type of award or in a magazine –
    And I don’t say that about every photo now do I?

    Now with Ian’s teachings- eh? Not sure I agree that a cut off person or building adds tension and interest – well maybe it could but sometimes I find it distracting and a good crop might allow the subject or other aspects come to life more.
    Really preference –
    And even after reading the comment replies I am still unclear on what he meant by interactive (did not get B’s “of course)
    Anyhow –
    Besides that – you gave us another post that teaches what you have learned and are learning and you have a signature style with these type of posts – I really like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. prior.. says:

    One more comment (if you don’t mind) but have to share something funny.
    I am skimming blogs tonight (with tea) and when I first came to this post – I was a skimming and I was expecting a foreign McDonald’s (fast food) images – had to go back and slow down and read

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Yvette. Of course I don’t mind.
      >> Now with Ian’s teachings- eh? Not sure I agree that a cut off person or building adds tension and interest..
      Well, you never know? I guess I have to see examples to be able to say one way or the other. I can kind of see his point though. Once in a while I saw a part of face (not the whole face) and the photo looked good. I guess it all depends. Ha.
      Funny you mentioned the word “style”. I was thinking of that recently. In the beginning, I didn’t know if I had a style. Then, I thought I had a style. Now I wonder if that style is good enough 😉 Once one blogger, whose photos I like a lot (forgot the name ;-( was playing with a new photo style, I asked him why. Why do you want a new style if you already have a great style? He didn’t really answer my question. I kind of know the answer now. Ha.
      Have a great evening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior.. says:

        Really enjoyed that comment –
        And how you know the answer now.
        I find that I am growing with seeing more of the photographer in the photos as I have been blog seasoned.
        Like we know a writers voice

        Well I find I am getting to pick up on nuances with certain folks I follow.
        And I noticed Sarah’s comments here which is coincidental because I was just at her blog earlier this month and her street shots (for her 3yr anniversary) were so “her own”
        Without heads and casual back views –
        There was a style in the series

        I have a feeling her work might look different way down the road (or not)
        But all of this reminds me about he creative process.
        We learn from others (like you did with Brenda and Ian info- and like Sarah and i did w your post) and just learn by taking workshops and joining in photo challenges and seeing what others do for modeling and ideas –
        And then hopefully our flavor unfolds –
        Ahhhh

        Liked by 1 person

      • prior.. says:

        And wining you a good evening too – nice to comment chat and sweet dreams amiga

        Liked by 1 person

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