Photography Fundamentals: How to work a scene

So working a scene. I’m here in a market in Mexico City called La Ciudadela. And the reason I’m here is because. The first time I, as a photographer, had success in working a scene was right here. And I want to talk about that. So working a scene. It’s basically you finding a great scene that you care about.
And it’s not something that you can just do, it’s something that happens. But once it happens, you know it’s there and you know this is going to be a great scene
and that you are going to have great photos. At the point, you should milk as much as you can, because it took you a while to find. In this example I saw these kids playing around, in the market we just went to. And before I took the picture, I was unsure whether
the mom was okay with me taking the pictures. So I asked the mom: “Can I photograph your kids and is it okay?
And she was fine with it. The first photo I took was this one.
Where the kid is hiding in this box. After I took the first photo, I was pretty happy. I was like: I have one good photo, that makes sense right now. After that, I found out there were 5-6 kids hiding in this box.
Playing hide and seek or something. I kept taking photos and they at some point just rushed me. It was pretty chaotic. And as like a “Thank you”, I had some coins on me, that I gave one of the kids. As you see here. The problem though, is that the mother saw it. So when she saw it, she came over to the smallest kid, and like opened his hand and took the coins. And that’s what you see here. So it made for like a nice story. Like a nice start. Some tension. And a really sad ending. I was incredibly lucky finding a scene and making it work as well as it did. But what you need do, is to make sure you are ready, for when that happens again. Camera & Settings And this is the camera I used for photographing the kids.
It’s the Fuji x100f. And back then, I didn’t have a GoPro mounted to the camera.
Which is a shame, because it would have been a really cool video to have. In order for you to work a scene, especially in street photography. You should know your camera really well.
Because you don’t want to fiddle around with the settings, once it’s happening. So what I would recommend you to do is to:
Put your shutter-speed to around 125th or 250th of a seconds. So you can take snappy photos and you freeze the moment. And then your ISO and your aperture can just be on auto. That’s fine. You just need to make sure, you have photos that you can take fast without thinking to much, about your camera settings. Selecting your focusing mode The next big thing, is how you select your focus mode. Because you can either have, zone focusing, face-tracking or single-point focus. Or manual focus for that matter. Where you just have this little pixel that determines where your focus will be. I’d recommend going with the single-point focus, because that’s the most reliable for me. But it’s also a personl preference.
Some photographers might like zone-focusing or if you have really insanely great face-detection, maybe that. But I wouldn’t rely on it though. And if you want to know a lot more about working a scene. There is one book you need to buy.
And it’s this one. It’s a huge book. I think it’s around 500 pages. I put a link to it below. It’s called Magnum Contact Sheets. The cool thing about this book.
Is that you see, the behind-the-scenes of making of one these iconic photographs. You follow round 70 photographers I think. You see how they work a scene and how they choose their angels.
And how they pick their favorite photograph. So next time you are out shooting and you take a good photograph.
Don’t just walk away from it. Try experiment with new angles.Try get close.
Get further away. Or frame it differently. That’s what going to make a good photo, become a great photo. And keep doing that, until it gets weird.
That’s usually a good cue on when to wrap it up. And working a scene doesn’t jus translate to how you take the picture.
It’s also how you edit it. So when you have that great picture, try edit it in different variations. Try black and white. Try color. Try different crops. Comment below with your best tip on how to work a scene
And you might win a year subscription to Format. Which is a website portfolio builder. I won this subscription in a photo contest on Reddit.
And the guys over at Format, was fine with me, giving it away. So comment below with your best tip on how to work a scene and you might win. Oh and by the way. My mom is visiting me here in Mexico City this week.
She does food photography and she paints her own photo styling backgrounds. So I’m thinking we can make a cool like, half street photography, half photo styling video together. Until next week! And thank you so much to all of you who have subscribed.
This channel is starting to get some momentum which is really exciting. So thank you for that. And if you haven’t already subscribed: What are you doing?

46 Replies to “Photography Fundamentals: How to work a scene”

  1. Get the book I recommend:
    My camera and gear:

    What’s your best tip for how to work a scene? Comment below! I’ll pick my favorite who will a year PRO subscription to format.

  2. I was pretty lucky by finding your channel today! 😀 Another great video, thank you for sharing the title of such amazing book! Have a nice day 🙂

  3. 👍Well done vid. Re camera settings, do you ever use manual focus mode together with pre-focused distance or else zone focus where you rely on a given depth of field for a constant aperture? Quick tip when your subject knows you are taking a series of pics of them — say “OK we are done now”, but then keep shooting to capture candid expressions and poses in those final shots.

  4. Hey Frederick, I just discovered your channel a couple of hours ago and binged some of your videos. I cooked some dinner and saw you uploaded this one. Anyways, just wanted to say you're putting out great content for which I thank you and hope to see even more of! Also curious, what are some current up and coming street photographers you like?

  5. I would say sometimes you have to be reactive sometimes patient but really i think the most important thing to ask yourself is, how bad do I want that shot ? ^^ Cheers mate keep up the good work. 🙂
    I'll by that book tho

  6. Sometimes when I like a background, I try to wait a few minutes at the place until something interesting appears in the foreground. Patience is a virtue! Love your videos, keep it up!

  7. Hi bro
    Your videos make me want to go out and take photos 🤭👌🏼
    Something that i would like you to talk about, its about our rights as a photographer, beacuse the other day some cops tried to stop me from taking a photo of a house's door. And i don't know these kind of things, i live here in México City, and i know that the cops from here are "culeros" haha
    I hope you understand me, 'cause my english isn't to good

  8. Hi Frederik, interesting video as always. What's the mic you've got attached to your GoPro? Is it the Saramonic? Just asking as I can't find it on your gear page and I'm considering a similar solution for my POV videos. Thanks!

  9. I find that your subject often emulates the energy you give off. So use that to your advantage; if you want an active seen, show excitement! Thanks for the advice Fredrik.

  10. I'm very shy when I want to take a picture of people whether it's an individual or a street vendor. One always asks to take pic of a child, I assume. I just need some words of encouragement to be brave and not be embarrassed.

  11. Shoot as much as possible, because usually there are thing in the photos that u only notice when open on the compute

  12. Again, a very useful video for all who do Street Photography. Really like it. It is your kind of explanation and the quiet way how that comes over. Thanks for all these information

  13. My tip would: come back to a scene at different times of the day and week. If you feel the potential of a good photo, get back there! I had many scenes which needed some time but the payoff is usually huge. Dont be afraid to walk the same route several times. I usually shoot on my way to work and back home and man can I tell I noticed so many differnt things and still do after quite a while.

  14. My tip is:
    Too explore the street in search of something interesting. Always add elements in the picture that will help the viewer to get in context in order to tell a story.

  15. Currently doing a project for my HNC which involves Street Photography. This and your video before has been useful thanks (:

  16. I think my tip would be to just take as many shots of the same thing as possible. I’ve lost such good opportunities in pictures because I’m either too scared to approach it in different ways or I’m not confident enough. Be confident! You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take!

  17. Can you make a video on street photography angle ??? And a video on how to post process a contrasty b&w photo ?

  18. Wow! .. everything you do is cool! and mentioning that your mom takes photos too! Top Level! New Subscriber here!

  19. hola 🙂 yo soy de la Ciudad de México voy a empezar con fotografía y me gustaría aprender más, apenas descubrí tu canal es muy bueno 😀 me suscribo

  20. Found your channel yesterday and I’m binge watching your videos! Loving it! What an awesome channel frederik!

  21. good pointer with 125 250 iso with have you found that work with film guess harder as i have manual lense only

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