STREET CLUB WEEK 3: CLEAN BACKGROUND

Updated on August 10, 2017 in Critique
144 on July 16, 2017

Update : Hi everyone! Great job so far, just a few reminders to

1) leave constructive feedback for three others for each img you upload. (great detailed feedback so far!)

2) all street club assignments are an opportunity to go out and shoot new photos during the week and to challenge yourself

3) upload your photos before Sunday and Eric will do a YouTube video review!

—–

Each weekend, I will post the assignment here. During the week, complete the assignment and upload your 1-3 best photos from the week to this thread. Feel free to add your own reflections on the assignment: What were your challenges and successes?

Each photo you upload, you must provide constructive critique on 3 other photos uploaded. At the end of the week on Sunday (Vietnam time), Eric and I will choose our favorite images and explain why.

HAVE FUN! Love, Cindy & Eric

P. S. Love the comments and photos we’ve been getting so far. Last week we almost had 100 comments. Let’s see if we could have 150 comments of photos and critique on the STREETCLUB assignment this week!

Assignment 3: CLEAN BACKGROUND

Try to shoot the entire day with having the simplest backgrounds as possible.

Purpose:

One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of street photographers make in their work is that their backgrounds tend to be too busy and too messy. When we shoot street photography we do the following: we look for interesting subjects, stick them in the center of the frame, and then often forget about the background.

What ends up happening is that we have photographed an interesting subject, but the background is totally distracting (or doesn’t add to the image). In art there is a concept called “figure-to ground” (a fancy way to say “contrast”) in which you want to have your subject (figure) to be separated and have strong contrast with your background (ground).

A simple background can be a plain colored background (white, red, etc). A simple background can also be the sky (if you crouch really low, and just photograph people against the sky). You can achieve having simple backgrounds in your photographs by changing your position (moving to the left, right, crouching, or tippy-toeing) or by identifying a clean background, pre-framing your shot, and allowing your subject to step into your frame. A big pro-tip: when you’re shooting, focus on the background (not your subject). Just stick your subject in the middle of the frame, and focus on the background and edges of your frame.

For good inspiration for photographers who have made an entire career of simple backgrounds, check out the work of Richard Avedon. Reflection question: How did your photography approach change when you focused on trying to get a clean background?

Check out Keenan Rivals trying out the ‘CLEAN BACKGROUND’ assignment in Detroit.

 
  • Liked by
Reply
5 on July 16, 2017

its pretty cliche shot but would like your input thanks. Straight scan no post processing.

 

 

 

on July 16, 2017

Love the first one!  And I really like the 3 pigeons above his head!!!

 

on July 16, 2017

1: Interesting concept but with the strong lines I would have loved to have seen a stronger contast and less fuzziness. Working the scene longer maybe would have yielded more opportunities with e.g. 3 people and 3 birds at the same time.

2: Good eye – strong composition.

on July 18, 2017

 

That first one is amazing! Nice composition with the simplicity approach but those pigeons placed there are great. Love it and nice work.

on July 22, 2017

I like both. The second may have been better if the child’s head had been slightly to the right or so instead of directly under the statue. I actually like the muted processing. 

on July 22, 2017

*should’ve written muted colours (not processing).

 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
3 on July 16, 2017
on July 16, 2017

I actually really like the light, the composition and her expression. But the blur doesn’t do it for me – I would like a less shallow depth of field or focus on the eyes instead of on the hair. Still, it’s a strong image.

 

on July 17, 2017

I like the placement of the face in the frame plus the shadows cast. I wish the face were in sharper focus.

 

on July 21, 2017

I like the dreamy effect of the slightly out-of-focus face.

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
2 on July 16, 2017

Hi
I am not able to post my pictures on forum because my pictures size is more than 5mb please help me out.
I read Street photography notes and it’s very helpful for me after reading the book I improve my capabilities for photography and I want to share my pictures on forum.

on July 16, 2017

Hi Brijesh,

If you have a PC you can use Paint or another Windows app that’s installed on the computer by default to resize jpegs. For example:

  1. Open Paint
  2. Click File in Windows 10 or 8 or on the Paint button in Windows 7/Vista > click Open > select the picture or image you want to resize > then click Open.
  3. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click Resize…

You can probably do similar things on a Mac and there are also online tools that you can use to reduce the file size. I haven’t tried it myself but here is just one example: http://compressjpeg.com

Cheers

 

on July 16, 2017

if you have photoshop export to the web that should reduce the size to about 1 or 2 mb

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
4 on July 16, 2017

Not a super-minimalistic background but still very simple – and it serves a purpose.

on July 17, 2017

Good job man ! Like the B&W and the expression of the man !

 

on July 18, 2017

 

Nice and love how he’s just getting into the frame and not all the way in as it plays with that expression, like he’s too much of a character to play by the rules and be fully in frame.

on July 20, 2017

It isn’t as you say “super-minimalistic”, but draws your eye perfectly to the subject, and it is certainly not a distraction. Great shot and lovely expression and framing. 

on July 22, 2017

Great shot, love the expression!

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
4 on July 16, 2017


on July 16, 2017

I love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (the best foods & gifts store) shot!!!! It invokes a lot of questions in me! Who is this man? Where is this neighborhood (the good side of town or the bad?) Strong image !!! Love that the background is just as strong as the subject!  

 

on July 18, 2017

Really cool colors and tones to that first image, nice work!

on July 19, 2017

I’m loving the atmosphere in the first picture. The man in the picture is well positioned! 

on August 9, 2017

The second for me is great. I really like the composition and the chalky texture it has on the road. Very nice shot. 

 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
7 on July 17, 2017

Thailand is not a minimalist country. Like many other southeast Asian countries, it is a cacophony of sights, sounds, odors and scents.

Condominium developers hire kids to hold up and wave signs along the road. Some take their job seriously, others do not.

 

on July 17, 2017

Love that last one; the expression and the lighting are great. And the empty space really brings out the subject.

 

on July 17, 2017

The last one are great , love the expression. perfect timing

on July 20, 2017

Absolutely love the last image! Great job on the low key background but his expression, eyes, and posture are just perfect.

on July 20, 2017

Bravo!! The third photo is fantastic. Clean background, great focus on the subject, great expression, interesting character, and looks like he is put shaving foam on his face to clean up his act (but think it might be chalk) 🙂 Brilliant shot. 

on July 22, 2017

The third is great. The side walk and his look makes it look like he might be crossing a road.  The shaving cream adds a nice touch.

on July 22, 2017

very nice photographs, i love the last one . what is he doing, what is he looking , why soap on his face …

 

on July 22, 2017

I like the capture of the 2nd shot without seeing his head, makes you look twice. Love the third , great shot!

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
2 on July 17, 2017

This rather posh lady was walking down the main pedestrian street in Copenhagen. In my mind she’s an affluent woman from the States who just stepped off one of the many cruise ships that visit our city every year…

 

on July 17, 2017

I love the expression on her face. The two individuals contribute to the frame’s composition. The depth of field brings focus to her. Perhaps, she is from Bergen shopping. –Andrew

 

on July 20, 2017

Great expression! Love her style too. If you had crouched to the right you may have been able to remove the blue craney thing  from her shoulder, but a minor quibble for a great photo. 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
2 on July 17, 2017

minimalistic and simple photograph

on July 20, 2017

I love the geometry.

 

on July 22, 2017

This is nice. If anything, perhaps the man could’ve been more brightly exposed. He could also have walked towards you rather than from you. But I do like it. 

 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
4 on July 17, 2017

Hi Eric ,Cindi and all in the forum thanks for your time and feedback last week – really helped me understand more about my photography. still a lot to learn . Here are 3 of my images for the clean background assignment Regards

Gladdy 

 

on July 18, 2017

Nice bus and train pictures. 

Did you try the last one in black and white ? It could be interesting to process it like the second one with very strong contrast.

 

on July 22, 2017

the second photograph is great i just  deplore the vertical format, 

 

on July 24, 2017

Second one is very strong. Love it!

on August 9, 2017

LOVE the first shot! The light and textures. Beautiful. 

 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
14 on July 17, 2017

Thanks for sharing your photos. 

1st : Dream D_NYC

 

 

2nd : Las Vegas Parano

 

on July 17, 2017

love the first one feels like a scene from a movie

on July 18, 2017

 

Wow that first shot is such a great image and so powerful. Love the business man with the flashy American flag behind him. Has a strong statement no matter how you choose to interpret it. Beyond just being an excellent image, your editing with the colors and tones is perfect too.

on July 18, 2017

Thank you both !! 

 

on July 19, 2017

i like the second one, very cool with the light line and the darkness left and right

on July 19, 2017

Thank you Marc !

 

on July 19, 2017

The first one is my favourite. I like the reflections in the glass table, it gives your shot an extra touch! 

on July 19, 2017

Both of these images are strong! But the first one is awesome! Looks like a magazine cover

 

on July 20, 2017

Beautiful stuff. Love the American Flag one. not sure it is the cleanest background, but think the photo is just laaavely. The businessman closing deals with the American flag background just evokes power. Great capture!   

on July 21, 2017

NIKH : Thank you ! 

implespaynter : you right , it could be a magazine cover ! Thx. 

chriscturner : Thank you ! I think you can interpret “cleanest background” in different way. I think we do not have to show pictures with only wall in black for the background or the ground …  (like in my second pictures)

For me, “cleanest background” mean something simple, uniform, some background with not a lot of details, people, things who may lost the person who look at the photo. Of maybe i just have a bad interpretation ?! who knows until the end of the week 😉

Anyway thank you !!

 

on July 22, 2017

Both are nice. Can’t say anything critical about the e second might have been betttter if there was just the first person and not tthe second that’s now partly covered in  dark. Butt it’s nice anyway.

on July 22, 2017

Agree on the interpretation of “cleanest background” – always open to interpretation, and I like your inetrpretation 🙂  

on July 22, 2017

Jesper : your totally right ! I agree with you. Unfortunately i did not think about that when i took the picture. 

chriscturner : Thumbs up !

 

on July 23, 2017

I like the range of light of the second photo, very nice.

on July 23, 2017

 

This are great, the flag background are amazing. different way of looking minimalist

Show more replies
  • Liked by
  • 1
Reply
Cancel
4 on July 17, 2017

Hello here are my tree Pics

what  you think about?

on July 18, 2017

Like the second image, it’s look like dynamic image. 

Maybe the pictures could be better if the woman had make just few steps more. 

 

on July 18, 2017

I agree with vince on the 2nd image maybe waited for just a few second just when she is center between the 2 arrows and or could have just machine gun shot the whole thing and pick out the best 100 images out of all of them 🙂

on July 19, 2017

thanks for your tips

 

on July 24, 2017

I am also a fan of the scene in the second one. She appears to be part of the geometry of the background rather than stand out from it. I’m not sure if that’s what you were going for(?). It’s pretty cool though

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
0 on July 19, 2017
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
0 on July 19, 2017
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
6 on July 19, 2017

Thanks for having this forum, very excited to participate in the assignment. Really looking forward to get some feedback and crits from all of you 🙂

on July 19, 2017

Welcome ! 

First picture is great, it’s simple, efficient, good contrast and great b&w. 

Second picture is not as good as the first one. it’s blurry, you cut the woman’s legs and there is something on the left of the pictures who is useless. 

Third picture, just awesome ! It’s my favorite from your 3 pictures. 

on July 20, 2017

Many thanks Vincent, appreciate your time to crit my work here. And really great feedback. Thanks

on July 20, 2017

I absolutely agree with Vincent. The third is awesome. I do wonder what the third picture would look like with a bit higher contrast… 

on July 20, 2017

 

Thanks Geoff for the appreciation :). Maybe could be be better much stronger contrast on people.

 

on July 22, 2017

The third photo is great. Makes my eyes go all squiggly like an optical ippusion. Butgreat angle from above, interesting background. The only improvement would have been if you could have captured all three of them on a same coloured tile that would just be the icing on the cake (but takes a little luck too obviously). 

on July 23, 2017

 

@chirscturner, many thanks and appreciate your input. and almost all three in the same coloured tile. almost maybe I should shout on them 🙂

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
9 on July 19, 2017

Two photo’s I took in Bruges (a city in Belgium) 

 

on July 19, 2017

Love both of these shots! I love the shadow cast on the second one !!! 

 

on July 20, 2017

 

Love the second shot, love how the shadow cast on the wall make it look like stair.

on July 21, 2017

Great shot !!! perfect timing !!!

 

on July 21, 2017

Really nice use of shadows versus your subjects. My kind of street photography!

on July 21, 2017

Thanks! 

on July 22, 2017

The second photo is great. Looks like she is walking down some shadowy stairs. 

on July 22, 2017

Great shot, the second one cool colors and the shadow stair make it gold!

 

on July 22, 2017

Great 2nd shot! Love the shadow stairs, perfect timing :)!

on July 23, 2017

I like the second photo, it seems like the woman comes out from the shadow

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
4 on July 20, 2017

“Protesters”. Warsaw, Poland / July 2017

The clean background in this case for me is the fence. 

on July 20, 2017

I think what I like most about this is the facial expressions. The man on the ground looks really engaged in the situation. His companion looks like she’s done this before, the woman on the left is totally disengaged. The officers also all have such different expressions- you can imagine a story for each of them. 

on July 21, 2017

Thanks for your feedback @Geoff! Anything you would change to make it better? 🙂

on July 21, 2017

For me, because I like the facial expressions, I wonder what it would have looked like if you got a bit closer, retaining the left side. For instance, the frame is filled with 4 fence panels, plus a little of a 5th. If your frame was filled with the first 3, you would not loose much and the faces would be closer… Also, it occurs to me that with three panels, you’d have two vertical lines on the thirds, but I don’t know if that would add to the composition or just be in identical.

on July 22, 2017

Agree with Geoff on this one. Love the disinterest shown by the girl on the phone. And the istful look of the girl on the right who doesn’t really look like she wants to be talking to the enthusiastic guy. 

If you had got a little closer (the scary bit) then think this could have drawn that out a little more. Still. Great capture 🙂 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
10 on July 20, 2017

Thanks for the assignment. This is one of the hardest things in street photography – trying to separate your subject from the background. So many photos I’ve taken that I thought were great at the time have been ruined by floating heads in background or jazzy signs. Here are a few pics that fit the bill. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

on July 20, 2017

I love the second picture. How did you manage the light? Flash? Light reflecting off water? It’s very funny and well-shot. 

on July 20, 2017

All great works, but the third one perfect, make my eye stop for few second to see the details.

on July 21, 2017

Cheers Chris! Great work! I

#1 Love the colours and lines in the first shot. Nicely captured!

#2 I like how you managed to capture such a clean shot. I think I would prefer his face uncovered and with a certain expression. This would add a bit more drama. That being said, this one also has something in it. I guess it’s a matter of a personal preference 🙂

#3 I love the minimalism of this one and various states in which the people are in the water. The sign also adds value to the picture. I also enjoy the greyed sky and that it’s a vertical shot.

on July 21, 2017

Your first one is awesome ! I like the color, the point of view ! I feel i watching the Mad Men tv show ! thanks 

 

on July 21, 2017

Wow, all three really nice. I’m glad you made the first two color and the last in black and white.

That giant sky in the last one really makes the image. Usually I have to prod myself to get closer, but that photo is a nice reminder that shots of any scale can be beautiful and powerful.

on July 21, 2017

Chris, Well done! Love all 3, Color of the first two is spot on. Love that you captured him ducking! B/W for the 3rd is perfect 🙂

on July 21, 2017

I really like your first shot: the geometry, the colors and of course the socks, :). A good example for how real life can order itself in a photogenic way.

on July 22, 2017

Thanks for you comments guys. Much appreciated. 

@Geoff – I didn’t use flash on the “Birds” photo. It was shot on the beach in a bright sunlight, so could well be the reflection off the water that created the uplit look. Good observation, and one that I hadn’t made myself 🙂 

on July 23, 2017

I like the hand gesture of the man of the second photo, it seems like he might be attacked by the birds.

on August 9, 2017

Love the first one. Lines and colours are great! 

 

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
7 on July 20, 2017

I found with this assignment, I definitely thought about what my surroundings were a bit more.

on July 20, 2017

Great shots. I especially like the first three: the leading lines of #1, well composed action shot in #2, and the high-key in #3. I really like them.

on July 20, 2017

Martin Parr?

on July 21, 2017

ehilado06,  I guess I should be flattered, I really like his work, so thank you, but maybe it’s not great when work is TOO indicative of another?

 

on July 21, 2017

I love the depth of the pink umbrella one (did you use a flash?) even though the ground is ‘messy’ your higher perspective gives everything an orderly chaotic look where all parts of the frame are used.

on July 21, 2017

Hi Cindy!  Thanks so much for the feedback! No, I didnt use a flash and the photo is straight out of the camera with no post production work , same for the other 🙂 

on July 22, 2017

Great shots. The pink colour in the first one. Superb.

And just the postiion of the guy in the second one. He couldn’t look more out for the count. A big dreamer, and maybe not in the Elon Musk kind of way.

There is a Martin Parr sensibility here, but that isn’t necesarily a bad thing. If you are going to folow anyone, the greats are good footsteps to follow. 

Great work! 

on July 22, 2017

Chris, Thank you so much for your feedback! Really appreciate it!

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
3 on July 20, 2017
on July 20, 2017

I love the mood! Playful innocence. The sticks and the shadows are aresome! I also like the diagonal line following the little boy’s arms. Lovely! 

on July 22, 2017

Well he just looks like he is having the best time. A great hark back to simpler times. Simple times with simple backgrounds 🙂

on July 22, 2017

Great capture! love the gesture, like Chris said, a hark back to simpler times, when playing with something in nature was pure joy

Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel
5 on July 20, 2017

Hello everyone! I found it amazing the forum and the Street Club project!!

I’ve missed the last 2 assignments but I wish to participate on this one because very recently I’ve taken some shots that meets the objective on the third week. So here they comeimg width=” height=”]http://forum.erickimphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/MG_7156-6.jpg[/img]

on July 22, 2017

I like the idea of the second photo. Makes me curious about the person behind the pole. You could make more photos in this style and make a little mini project. 

 

on July 22, 2017

My favourite photo here is your third one. Great graphical design, strong contrast, and of course the guy has a wonderful, thoughtful expression. 

Love that

on July 22, 2017

Thank you, both of you for the tips! And glad you liked it !!

on July 22, 2017

My favorites are the 3rd and 4th. Really like the strong contrast, expression and the graphic lines. The 4th to me feels like a Mary Eleen Mark photo ( one of my favorites :),Great job!

on July 27, 2017
Show more replies
  • Liked by
Reply
Cancel