Photos

4 tips to become a better 'street' photographer: Seizing the decisive moment

A panel of highly reflective glass with stylish lines on a building in Yokohama, Japan (see Tip 3). A bridge in downtown Yokohama, with birds flying overhead juxtaposed with the bird designs on the bridge (see Tip 4). A passer-by snapped looking at a
A passer-by snapped looking at an advertisement in Shinjuku, Tokyo (see Tip 1).PHOTOS: TREVOR TAN
A man trying to hold on to his umbrella while fiddling with his camera as it snowed in Aizu, Japan (see Tip 2).
A man trying to hold on to his umbrella while fiddling with his camera as it snowed in Aizu, Japan (see Tip 2).PHOTOS: TREVOR TAN
A panel of highly reflective glass with stylish lines on a building in Yokohama, Japan (see Tip 3). A bridge in downtown Yokohama, with birds flying overhead juxtaposed with the bird designs on the bridge (see Tip 4). A passer-by snapped looking at a
A panel of highly reflective glass with stylish lines on a building in Yokohama, Japan (see Tip 3). PHOTOS: TREVOR TAN
A panel of highly reflective glass with stylish lines on a building in Yokohama, Japan (see Tip 3). A bridge in downtown Yokohama, with birds flying overhead juxtaposed with the bird designs on the bridge (see Tip 4). A passer-by snapped looking at a
A bridge in downtown Yokohama, with birds flying overhead juxtaposed with the bird designs on the bridge (see Tip 4).PHOTOS: TREVOR TAN

Street photography is the art of capturing the unmediated and random encounters in public places. It usually seeks to combine interesting aesthetics and a poetic style with the realities of daily life.

My interest in photography was ignited from a young age looking at the street photography works of legends like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. So, I tend to be old school in my approach, preferring spontaneity, geometry and monochrome. But there is no right or wrong way. Here are four tips that can help you become a better street photographer.

Tip 1: Be observant and patient. Before I took the photo above, I could already "see" the image in my head. So I waited for a passer- by to look at the advertisement. With so many pedestrians in Shinjuku, Tokyo, it did not take long.

Camera: Fujifilm X70

Focal length: 28mm

Aperture: f/2.8

Shutter speed: 1/500sec

ISO: 400

Tip 2: Be quick and decisive. It was snowing in Aizu, Japan, and I saw this guy struggling to hold on to his umbrella while fiddling with his camera. I knew I had to react quickly to snap the shot. But it is crucial to be mindful of good composition principles even when you are trying to be fast. Here, I composed the picture such that the tyre tracks running from the bottom-right corner of the frame lead the viewer's eyes to him.

Camera: Fujifilm X70

Focal length: 28mm

Aperture: f/8

Shutter speed: 1/2200sec

ISO: 400

Tip 3: Look for unusual angles. I love reflections, and spend a lot of time looking for them. This is a panel of highly reflective glass with stylish lines on a building in Yokohama, Japan. I just waited for people to walk into the frame.

Camera: Fujifilm X70

Focal length: 28mm

Aperture: f/8

Shutter speed: 1/125sec

ISO: 200

Tip 4: Look at the big picture. At times, you just need to stand back and enjoy the view. And it can give you a new perspective. This bridge in downtown Yokohama has a constant flux of pedestrians and I waited for the birds to fly into the frame, to juxtapose them with the bird designs on the bridge.

Camera: Fujifilm X70

Focal length: 28mm

Aperture: f/9

Shutter speed: 1/100

ISO: 400

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Seizing the decisive moment'. Print Edition | Subscribe