From being a curious child in Beijing until becoming a young professional in Shanghai, E-Jay Zhang has long been fascinated by urban (or street) photography. The combination of city and people was what he always wanted to shoot, and the rooftop became his stomping ground. He scoured places and wandered streets to find and observe various subjects and explore different angles in the hopes of capturing the whole city and showcasing its other side.
In the latest installment of the vivo Imaging Academy Masterclass, E-Jay Zhang shares how playing with perspective, human elements and colors makes an image standout whether with a professional camera or a pro-level camera smartphone like the vivo X80 Pro.
Photography as a part of people’s lives
As travel has turned into an indispensable part of people’s lives, it has likewise made photography an essential skill for most in order to capture and share their thoughts and feelings. That is exactly why photography is so popular these days, he believes. “The ancients recorded by painting and photographic equipment is a recording tool for modern people. Now, people only need a mobile phone to record what’s happening,” shares Zhang.
The challenge now, however, is how to make your photos stand out – something that every photographer desires to achieve, seeing that more and more photographers, both professional and hobbyists, are taking part in this.
Light ‘em up
Zhang loves using contrasting colors and visuals to create a different atmosphere. He believes that light is the soul of a photo which is why he puts a premium on the source of light and its direction to highlight the details of the subject. Morning and dusk are deemed the most ideal time for location shoots as the natural light during these times are softest.
As much as having proper lighting tremendously elevates the quality of the photo, it may not always be feasible as different factors come to play. To address situations in low-light conditions, especially at night, you can opt to combine natural light with artificial light sources. Zhang advises to explore an image’s highlights, shadows and exposure to bring out a good mix of cold-warm contrast that will give photos more depth and texture.
Apart from that, the popularity of mobile photography is an advantage for most people as it offers everyone the flexibility and convenience to shoot anytime and anywhere. Users can shoot with a mobile phone from diverse angles and leverage on its multiple cameras that give a variety of focal length and lens. With a pro-grade smartphone like the vivo X80 series, it becomes easier to play with light and colors as it boasts millions of pixels that is enough for a photographer to snap impressive and striking images.
Find where the action is
Zhang explored the vivo X80 Pro on a street photoshoot and showcased how a smartphone can shoot pro-standard portraits effortlessly and with utmost stability. He prefers to shoot city scenery, a combination of streets and people, as they exhibit actual living environments and allow more people to get to know these places more intimately.
Zhang shares that when he looks for a location to shoot, he makes sure to research about the venue beforehand and study the foot traffic in the area. For Zhang, while a human element gives images interesting stories, it is also important to minimize possible distraction and unnecessary elements in the photo.
He shares that it is important to know the environment and to not be afraid to wander. Whether the subjects are people or landscapes, one should remember that there are different angles that can be blended perfectly together depending on perspective. WIth this technique, photographers will know better where to adjust in terms of light source and find more viewpoints to complement the image.
It’s all a matter of perspective
Finding fascinating scenes and creating unique pictures can be tough but it’s also true that sometimes, you don’t need lavish setups to accomplish the most interesting photos. You just have to adjust your viewpoint or discover techniques to use light and other sources differently. And as you practice, practice, and practice, you do get better in time.
Zhang ends his lecture with a reminder to both professional and budding photographers that photography is a habit that needs to be nurtured. He reminds his students not to hesitate and capture everything that they find interesting. “Works are borne out of daily accumulation. This requires us not only to develop shooting habits but more importantly, to observe things we are used to from a different angle so that we can see the unusual in the ordinary, and discover more beauty that people ignore,” Zhang closes.
E-Jay Zhang’s vivo Imaging Masterclass can be watched via vivo’s official Facebook and Youtube channel. Follow vivo’s official website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to get the latest updates about vivo products.