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Urban & Street Photography for ‘Smarties’

Richard Hulbert (rhulbert)

Keywords: composition, urban, street, rhulbert

My approach to composition is inspired by both the arts and sciences, by respecting the history of the visual arts while at the same time responding to what we are learning from the emerging neurosciences.


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Six photographic challenges to consider . . .

1. Photographing “Contrasting Light.”

The Urban Environment is so target rich, it is not uncommon for workshop attendees to state: “there is so much to photograph, where do I start?” You can learn the importance of contrasting light in visually composing and beholding photographs.


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2. Portraying edges of objects and elements that “breathe.”

After contrasting light, the next elements we visually perceive are edges of objects and elements. You can learn about the power and impact of physical edges in a photograph and how best to convey them based on our knowledge and understanding of drawing and painting.


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3. Imagine actually photographing “Volumetric Space.”

Cities and towns are comprised of outdoor and indoor spaces for people and their activities. These ‘rooms’ or ‘behavioral settings’ form the environment of great architectural and street photographs. You can learn how cinematographers categorize the 4 types of volumetric space.


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4. Conveying the sense of a 3-dimensional scene.

Photography is largely about recording the 3-dimensional world around us and then displaying that image on a 2-dimensional canvas or screen. You can learn how to think 3-dimensionally, and then literally control the desired sense of depth in your photographs.


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5. Communicating a “Sense of Place.”

The notion of a “Sense of Place” in a photograph goes beyond photographing buildings, people and objects. You can learn how to convey a feeling of character and emotion, along with an awareness of mood and atmosphere in your photography.


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6. Capturing a “Slice of Life.”

In successful street photography, the context of the scene drives the image. You can learn how to cope with any degree of shyness you might have in photographing strangers. You can learn how to include a slice of local life in your urban and street photography. 


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*Although the term “Slice of Life” originated between 1890 and 1895 from the French ‘tranche de vie’, credited to the French playwright Jean Jullien (1854–1919), my awareness of the phrase is courtesy of Michael Mariant, a great teacher and one of my early mentors.

Editor’s note:

Rick promises you not only can but will learn to face all of above challenges by attending to his Urban & Street Photography Workshops and come out of it with great images. You may want to check his workshops schedule at the Nikonians Academy.


(5 Votes )

Originally written on August 23, 2016

Last updated on January 6, 2017

Richard Hulbert Richard Hulbert (rhulbert)

Winner of the Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded for his limitless enthusiasm and extraordinarily genial nature consistently in support of Nikonians Writer Ribbon awarded for his generous and valuable contributions to the Nikonians Articles (Resources) section.

North Vancouver, Canada
Gold, 592 posts

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Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) on August 26, 2016

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Awarded for his generous and continuous sharing of his high level skills with the Nikonians community Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Articles. Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Ribbon awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2107 Annual Photo Contest Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Well, Rick, you've whetted my appetite and the workshop sounds great, but as you only take 10 people at a time and Chicago is 4,000 miles away how about producing a series of short videos or podcasts on the six topics that we can all subscribe to? They obviously wouldn't give as much detail as the workshops but we could all start to appreciate the fundamentals and importance of each topic. I'm sure they'd be really popular. Geoff

Laura Knight (aus1952) on August 24, 2016

Well written..simple and informative and on point. Thank you. Laura