Awesome Photography Tips From Mr. Newton, Vanessa Jackman & Citizen Couture

One of the most powerful and challenging aspects a style blog is the photography. Your imagery can make or break your content, so it's important to give it proper attention. Whether you're a budding photographer or a seasoned pro, there's always something new to be learned or considered. We reached out to three of our favorite street style photographers to get their perspective on what it takes to produce really great photos.

Eddie Newton, Mr. Newton:

“For me, subject and setting and great natural light are everything. If those 3 elements are in place, you can get an amazing shot without expensive equipment. Or to put it another way, The Facehunter got a book deal using a point-and-shoot.”

Vanessa Jackman, Vanessa Jackman:

“I am not sure I am the right person to ask for tips on photography – I am still learning so much, making lots of mistakes and look to others for advice and tips! But I guess that is the nature of photography – it is a learning process which continues for the rest of your life. I guess that one of the things people worry about is what camera to use – I know it is a cliche but it really isn't about the gear, it is about the person behind the camera. I have seen amazing, amazing photos taken on Instagram and 50 year old cameras. Your vision is definitely more important than your camera or lens.”

Jason Jean, Citizen Couture:

“Photography can be expressed in various ways through different means and methods.  Depending on what results you're looking for, many variables will come into play.  Now, I can go on and on about taking photos, but a few things that I will briefly focus on now is lens, lighting, and personality.

1.  Typically for an outdoor portraiture with natural light, I like a fast lens (something with a large aperture) and a length between 50mm-135mm.  I'm usually shooting between 85mm-125mm, but it depends how tight the location is, whether it's a full-frame photo versus a headshot, how soft or sharp I want the photo to be, and the depth of field (bokeh).  Remember, The depth of field of an image produced at a given f-number is dependent on other parameters as well, including the focal length, and the subject distance.  Playing around with the shutter speed and aperture will give you a better understanding

2. Lighting is another long topic to get into, but good light is very important to me.  On a sunny day, unless I'm looking for photos with high contrast, I look for reflected/soft/diffused light.  I also prefer shooting early in the morning or  late afternoon/evening, when the light is less harsh.  There are many ways to control sunlight, but if you have assistants, reflectors/diffusers/blockers are always handy.

3. Unless you're shooting candid photos, being able to make your subjects feel comfortable is important.  And even after you get the subject comfortable, it may take more direction to get the photo you're looking for.”

 

vanessa jackman

 

[Image credits: Mr. Newton, Vanessa Jackman and Citizen Couture.]

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14 Responses

  1. Finiks

    I too prefer outdoor shooting, especially before sunset when the light is warm … Great photos, Gorgeous models/dresses ! Thank you

    Reply
  2. Sunit

    Completely agreed, photography makes such a big difference. I remember the biggest piece of advice that I gave to starting bloggers was to get away from the phone camera and get something else. Also get people to take photos of you! Standing in front of a mirror is not doing you any favours. 🙂

    Love the examples that you’ve put up, they’re perfect case in point ones.

    Reply
  3. Kristen

    Great tips. These photos are gorgeous too. I’m loving the yellow dress in the Vanessa Jackman photo, too!

    Reply
    • Jaspe

      I believe that you can, if it’s not for commercial purposes. Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

      Reply
  4. Emmy

    I love how they emphasized that it’s not the gear, it’s the person behind the camera:) I was really impressed when I found out that Yvan (Facehunter) uses a Canon G12 for his blog! I love his photos. Gives hope to people like me who can’t afford an expensive DSLR:)

    Reply
  5. Ruth @ My Love Wedding Ring

    Think it is so refreshing for them not to focus on the cameras strengths but the photographers – they all have a great eye and without that, no amount of gear will creat a top picture!!

    Reply
  6. BBella

    Well I think the most important thing is to know the camera you use. You can have the most professional DSLR if you can’t use it… useless.

    Reply
  7. [email protected]

    Thanks for a wonderful article. These are three of my favorite street style photographers and I enjoyed their insights/advice. I have to agree with BBella, regardless of what it is, knowing your camera is important. I’m continually learning something new about mine!

    Reply
  8. jill (@polkadot23)

    I agree: great tips, from great streetstyle photographers. Can I add some of my own?

    • Approach your subject politely and gently and with a friendly smile: you don’t want to scare away your prey.

    • Be respectful of their time. If you’re spotting them on the street, chances are they are trying to go from A to B, and time might be a factor. Move quickly.

    • Think about your background. Be thinking about it as you’re chatting them up – we all can multi-task – and try to choose something neutral, that works with the subject. Facehunter is great at that, when he poses someone. The Sartorialist, I notice, doesn’t really think too much about distracting backgrounds – he relies on his excellent lens to blur the backgrounds. Remember that you can’t control Human Traffic, so ideally you want what’s behind them to be fairly traffic-free. Many times someone is patiently posing and I’m waiting for an unsightly Human who is ruining the shot to move on.

    • Carry a calling card. It’s quaint, it’s old fashioned, but there are still people out there who don’t know about the street shooting movement (although, by now, in most cities, chances are if someone’s stylish enough for you to want to shoot them, they don’t need for you to reinvent the wheel for them). Having a card for them to reach you at serves two purposes: it gives you a professional aura, and it offers them an opportunity to see themselves on the silver screen, so to speak. I like to offer people to get in touch and I’ll send them the hi res shots: it’s my little way of saying thank you.

    • Don’t be shy: you’ll feel squeamish at first, going up to strangers and facing possible rejection, but after a while, you’ll realise the rewards – in some cases, real friendships are formed – outweigh the downside. And if someone doesn’t want to be photographed, respect their privacy, and move on.

    Reply
  9. Robert W

    Anyone who thinks that photos from an iPhone or Instagram are any good needs to re-examine their beliefs. Nothing beets a good DSLR and a good lens.

    Reply
    • Meet Me On The Streets

      You may not get the bokeh for style shots, but we’ve seen really top photos from iPhones (check out The Mobile Photo Group – granted, their shots are unrelated to fashion). Under the right conditions like how Vanessa talks about light and location it is definitely possible to take decent photos on your iPhone and use good photo editing apps like Snapseed

      Reply