Be Inspired By 71-Year-Old Sylvester Stallone Banging Out 100LB Weighted Pull-Ups

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Sylvester Stallone Workout

via Instagram

Sylvester Stallone is using hype posters to get people fired up about Creed 2 and got Eagles fans yoked for the Super Bowl by sharing Rocky-inspired memes to support his beloved Birds.

The 71-year-old star should just post more workout videos to his official Instagram because they’ll fire people up enough to do just about anything. The icon star uploaded a gym video after banging out a couple weighted pull-ups with a 100-pound dumbbell strapped to his waist.

“Another easy workout!” the star of Rocky, Rambo and your childhood quipped. “You’re only as old as you and your joints feel! LOL.”

Watch the 71-year-old stallion pump out a couple reps like it ain’t no thing.

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Stallone has been a gym rat for decades and even discussed the lengths he’d go to get ripped for the Rocky films. His diet for Rocky III was borderline insane.

Stallone and co-star Dolph Lundgren have been training for months for the Creed sequel. It’s possible the pair could look better now than when they starred in the classic Rocky IV. In other not shocking news, Michael B. Jordan is looking just as swole.

Creed 2 hits theaters in November 2018.

[via People]

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This ballerina is bringing the beauty of dance to urban neighborhoods in New York

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Founder of The Swan Dreams Project, Aesha Ash, is selling photographs of herself dancing in her hometown of Rochester New York to raise money for the arts for underprivileged children. Her goal is to spread ‘the power of imagery’ by showing a woman of color in a non-stereotypical role. She teaches free ballet lessons to youth in underserved communities. Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Ballet, Dancer, Real Time, and Real Time Video

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This beautiful 8K 360° timelapse shows the Aurora Borealis during a total lunar eclipse

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This beautiful 8K 360° timelapse shows the Aurora Borealis during a total lunar eclipse

You guys remember that super blue moon eclipse a couple of months ago, right? Well, while many of us were sitting at home watching it on our computer screens, photographer William Briscoe was out in the Alaskan snow shooting 360° timelapse. And this 8K 360° video captures the beautiful the Aurora Borealis in the middle of it.

Shot on January 31st just near Fairbanks Alaska, William’s film has a fantastic view of the light show as the moon crosses the sky and temporarily disappears into blackness. If you have a VR goggles, or a headset to hold your phone, then just hit play, sit back and relax. It’s only just over a minute long, but it’s a gorgeous sight to see.

According to a comment by William, the sequence is a composite. The settings required to adequately expose the moon and the aurora are very different. So, two sequences were created and then combined. One rig exposed for the aurora and the landscape while the other captured the moon. He says that without doing it this way, even during a total eclipse, the moon would have been blown out.

William also mentions some of the challenges and solutions to his problems. At -31°F, it took a lot of effort to get his timelapse rig working properly. But with the help of external batteries, hand warmers, wrapping socks around the lenses, and a little hard work he managed to get it done.

I, for one, am glad that he did.

[via DPReview]

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Shake Up Your Flexibility Routine With These Dynamic Stretches

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Holding a stretch for 30 seconds isn’t the only way to improve your flexibility—it’s just the way a lot of us are used to. Dynamic stretching is another approach, combining gentle stretches with movements that often challenge your balance or strength as well.

That combination makes dynamic stretching perfect for before a strength or cardio workout, since you’ll finish your stretching warmed up and ready to go. If you hate stretching or find it boring, definitely give dynamic stretches a try. Here’s one of our favorite routines:

There are tons of possible moves, so if you don’t love the ones above—or if you’ve tried them and want some variety—this video below has a different assortment:

Give dynamic stretching a try if you haven’t already. And let’s chat in the comments: how are you doing at this, the halfway point of the March flexibility challenge?

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Google opens up AI tech behind “Portrait Mode” to developers as open source

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Google opens up AI tech behind “Portrait Mode” to developers as open source

Portrait Mode has been simultaneously one of the biggest jokes and coolest advancements in smartphone camera technology. Google’s version of it can be found in the portrait mode of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. And they have just released their latest version of it as Open Source, available to any developer who can make use of it.

It’s detailed in Semantic Image Segmentation with DeepLap in Tensorflow on the Google Research blog. And reading how it works is quite interesting, even if you have no idea how to actually do it. Semantic Image Segmentation is basically the process by which pixels in an image are defined by labels, such as “road”, “sky”, “person” or “dog”. It allows apps to figure out what to keep sharp and what to blur.

DeepLab-v3+ is the new version, and it’s implemented in the Tensorflow machine learning library. It builds on top of a powerful convolutional neural network (CNN) for accurate results intended for server-side deployment. Google is also sharing their Tensorflow training and evaluation code, along with pre-trained models.

They say that the software has come a long way since the first incarnation of DeepLab three years ago. It features improved CNN feature extractors, better object scale modelling, assimilation of contextual information, and improved training procedures.

Modern semantic image segmentation systems built on top of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have reached accuracy levels that were hard to imagine even five years ago, thanks to advances in methods, hardware, and datasets. We hope that publicly sharing our system with the community will make it easier for other groups in academia and industry to reproduce and further improve upon state-of-art systems, train models on new datasets, and envision new applications for this technology.

While I do find the topic absolutely fascinating, I’ve no desire to actually play with the code myself. I just have no practical use for it. Not even the curiosity to experiment with it. And I know if I did, it would become a huge time suck figuring it all out.

But if you do, or you want to find out more, head on over to the Google Research Blog and check it out for yourself.

[via DPReview]

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A first-aid kit for your emotional well-being!

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With emotional disorders and mental health now getting as much importance as physical health, it only seems fitting to not just have a physical medical first aid kit, but an emotional first aid kit too, to instantly treat emotional stress/trauma.

Rui Sun’s Emotional First Aid Kit is not just one of a kind, but also a first of its kind. Designed to alleviate stress, anger, self-doubt, depression, etc. (without medication), the Emotional First Aid Kit is quirky and playful. The paraphernalia within rely on unconventionally-developed albeit effective tools to help us overcome emotional barriers in uniquely creative ways (reminiscent of IDEO’s MonYay collection).

The kit comes with five products. The Indigo Third Eyeglasses are a pair of playful kaleidoscope glasses that let you look at things differently, bringing a sense of wonderment and a different perspective on life as you see it. The Purple Breathing Mask is an instant de-stresser. Equipped with the scent of violets, breathing through the mask brings the calming effects of breathing into a paper bag with the additional advantages of aromatherapy. The Blue stress buster is a megaphone that visualizes sound in blue ink. Screaming into it not only helps you release pent-up anger, but also helps create art out of it. The Green Mediating Stethoscope comes in pairs, allowing two people who’ve just had an argument to listen to each other’s heartbeats. It puts the argument into perspective, reminding you of the emotional aftermath of such fights. Listening to a beating heart also helps you calm down. Lastly, the Yellow Confidence Booster is a super-light padded jacket that when worn, gives you the feeling of being in a secure safe shell, and also having a puffed chest (a sign of confidence). It helps people with low self-esteem to feel secure and more confident in solving dilemmas or addressing uncomfortable situations.

Rui Sun’s Emotional First Aid Kit makes us feel less like adults with insurmountable problems and more like children, with its quirky playful nature. Reminding us that being carefree is a truly beautiful way to stay happy, the Emotional First Aid Kit helps you tackle and rise above your problems in an instant, just as any first aid kit should!

Designer: Rui Sun

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Here’s every single tip, trick, and life hack from Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’

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As anybody who watches Netflix’s new Queer Eye will tell you, the Fab 5 are miracle workers.

Antoni (food and wine), Bobby (home), Jonathan (hair and grooming), Karamo (culture), and Tan (clothes) take people from all walks of life and glow 👏 up 👏 their 👏 whole 👏 damn 👏 existence. 👏

The question is: How do you re-create that experience for yourself?

Much has been said about how Netflix’s Queer Eye is not your typical makeover show. Writing for The Ringer, Alison Herman points out “This Fab Five wants to take on its projects’ inner lives as well as their outer presentation; in fact, Queer Eye now sees improvements to the latter as a means to improve the former, rather than as a goal in and of itself.” And as an Out interview with the new Fab 5 explained, “The goal isn’t to give subjects a makeover, but rather, as the gurus call it, a ‘make-better.’ It’s about tapping into the subjects’ insecurities, playing to their strengths, and establishing a genuine, enduring connection with them.”

All that is to say, Queer Eye sidesteps being a simple “user’s manual” and dives into a much deeper experience. And, if you watch closely enough, Netflix’s reboot is chock-full of practical advice that you, the viewer, can use to glow up your  own life.

Here’s every single tip, trick, and life hack offered on Netflix’s Queer Eye.*

Clothes and Style

  • “Wearing a blazer over [a shirt] will tone down the print. So you’re just getting a pop.” —Tan, on how to add a print to your wardrobe in a subtle way (Ep. 2)

  • “A lot of people think they can’t wear slim [jeans] because they’re not slim. That’s not what that means. Skinny jeans are designed in a way to give you a same look for the size that you are, but a narrow version of it. They’re giving you the room you need [at the waist] and they’re giving you the narrow leg you need down [at the bottom.]” —Tan, breaking the myth of what skinny jeans are (Ep. 3)

  • “When you come to a [suit store], really work with the tailor. Don’t just try it on. They’re there for you.” —Tan, on how to shop for a suit (Ep. 3)

  • “You don’t ever need to button the bottom button of your coat. Keep the top button closed, and when you’re about to sit, undo it, and you can sit comfortably.” —Tan, on how to wear a formal coat to an event (Ep. 3)

  • “I like this because it’s a print, you can wear it with a blue jean, a black jean, a khaki pant. It’s really easy to dress up.” —Tan, holding a white shirt with a light blue print, explaining the versatility of prints in a wardrobe (Ep. 6)

  • “Boots are a good bridge between a super casual shoe and a super formal shoe.” —Tan, on how to mix boots into your wardrobe (Ep. 6)

  • “Every man should have a pair of dark blue jeans, black jeans, and light wash jeans.” —Tan, explaining what should be in a man’s wardrobe (Ep. 7)

  • “Style is not fashion. Fashion is not trendy after a season. Honestly, I could give a shit about fashion. Style is dressing the way that [makes] you feel confident, and what’s appropriate for you, your age, you’re body type.” —Tan, dressing Joe (Ep. 7)

  • “The thing that’s going to be difficult for you is that you don’t hold any weight around your shoulders, but you do around your midriff. So you’re going to have to get a slightly bigger size, and roll up your sleeves, and it’s going to make it like the whole shirt fits you properly. And what you’ll find is, because it’s the right size, it’s now slimming you.” —Tan, explaining how to find a proper fit for a shirt (Ep. 7)

  • QE Hip Tip: “If you’ve got too much jelly in the belly, layer up, make that eye dance, and it’ll distract from your weak spot.” —Tan, explaining how layering your top can slim an outfit (Ep. 7)

Grooming

  • “We have to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, because sun can cause inflammation and flare-ups in people’s lupus.” —Jonathan, on one way to treat lupus inflammation (Ep. 1)

  • “The thing with beards is that you want it nice and neat, but you don’t want to overdo it. You want it to mimic your face shape.” —Jonathan, on how to find the ideal shape for your beard (Ep. 1)

  • “Cold stuff removes puffiness, it invigorates the skin, and it takes inflammation down.” —Jonathan, explaining why you should wear a cold press face mask (Ep. 1)

  • “Put a little [green stick] on your nose. It tones the redness down. The rule with it is if you can see it, you did too much.” —Jonathan, on how to apply green stick to tone down redness in your skin (Ep. 1)

  • “Spray, Delay, Walk Away.” —Jonathan, channelling Kyan from the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, telling Neal how to put on cologne (Ep. 2)

  • “Gorgeous exfoliants are expensive, and you can easily make them. You just need a bit of coconut oil and sugar.” —Jonathan, on how to make a simple face scrub (Ep. 3)

  • QE Hip Tip: “Start off with half a cup of coconut, two tablespoons of brown sugar, a touch of honey, and any essential oil that tickles your fancy.” —Jonathan, on how to make a DIY Lip Scrub (Ep. 3)

  • “When it comes to edge work, for guys who are a little bit uncomfortable and haven’t really done it themselves, the most important thing to remember is… come in and work your way up to the [hairline]. And once you get close to it, let it go. [meaning, pull the clippers up from your head.] —Jonathan, teaching AJ how to shape up his hairline (Ep. 4)

  • “For the base of your beard, put your thumb on your Adam’s apple, and that’s where your beard line should start.” —Jonathan, teaching AJ how to trim his beard (Ep. 4)

  • “There is such a thing as a lash perm.” —Jonathan, explaining to Karamo that yes, your lashes can get a little boost (Ep. 4)

  • “When you’re buying shampoos, one thing you want to avoid is sulfates. It’s just very aggressive for our hair.” —Jonathan, on what to look for when buying hair products (Ep. 5)

  • “Dark colors make things look smaller.” —Jonathan, cutting Remy’s hair (Ep. 6 )

  • “When you have a stressful job, you have to create little pockets of join in your life to take care of yourself.” —Jonathan, explaining the benefit of a spa day (Ep. 8)

  • “Do you know the calming properties of essential oils? Tea tree is antimicrobial, antibacterial, so it promotes healthy skin, which is GORGEOUS. A couple drops will do ya.” —Jonathan, on the benefits of tea tree oil (Ep. 8)

  • “Peppermint oil is energizing. Rub it in your palm, bring your palms up to your face. Then take a really deep breath in through your nose, hold it, and exhale through your mouth.” —Jonathan, on how to use peppermint oil (Ep. 8)

  • “Face masks can be expensive, but you can make one on your own at home. The one we’re making today is egg white and peach. Blend into a gorgeous pudding consistency in the peach. The enzymes in the peach clarify the skin and also encourage your skin to detoxify.” —Jonathan, on how to make a face mask (Ep. 8)

  • “The rule when you put grooming cream on your hair is you always start in the back, and then work your way forward. Rub [the cream] in your hands so it’s evenly dispersed, start on the back, and work your way up.” —Jonathan, on how to apply grooming cream (Ep. 3)

Food

  • “Leeks have a lot of sand in them so you have to really wash the hell out of them.” —Antoni, on how to prepare leaks (Ep. 2)

  • “If you’re cooking something that’s going to get really stinky, like fresh garlic, coconut oil gets rid of the smell.” —Antoni, on how to manage odors while cooking (Ep. 3)

  • “As long as you can press a little bit into [an avocado skin], it’s good to go.” —Antoni, on how to find a ripe avocado (Ep. 3)

  • “Hot dogs are always pre-cooked unless you’re getting a bratwurst or some kind of sausage. So it’s two minutes on each side, and you’re done. It’ couldn’t be easier.” —Antoni, on how to grill a hot dog (Ep. 8)

  • Antoni also teaches you how to supreme a grapefruit in Ep. 8, but that’s a visual explainer

Home

  • “If you have a back problems, sleeping on a soft mattress is murder.” —Bobby, on finding a mattress that’s right for you (Ep. 1)

  • “A way to modernize [an old mirror] is just to frame it.” —Bobby, explaining how to up-cycle an old mirror (Ep. 2)

  • “Most people think that black walls make rooms feel smaller. It’s actually the opposite. (t adds depth to a room.” —Bobby, explaining the perk of a black accent wall (Ep. 2)

  • “Instead of ripping it out, just paint [old] grout black, and it modernizes it instantly.” —Bobby, explaining how he redecorated Neil’s wall (Ep. 2)

  • “The best way to [plant] zucchini and squash is to build a mound because they flower out. So [the mound] supports the plant.” —Bobby, on how to plant zucchini and squash (Ep. 5)

  • “Before painting repurposed furniture, sand it or the paint won’t stick because most furniture has a sheen on it.” —Bobby, on DIY furniture projects (Ep. 6)

  • “When you’re picking out new materials for a room, you always need a contrast to draw your eye around the room.” —Bobby, shopping for kitchen counter materials with Remy (Ep. 6)

  • “I want to do the whole back wall full of bookcases that are tall, that way it draws the eye up and makes the ceilings [look] taller than they are, because they are in a basement, so the ceilings are shorter than normal.” —Bobby, while shopping for a basement apartment (Ep. 7)

  • “I like using dark colors on walls because it controls the light. When you have white walls, the light bounces off everything and nothing looks good.” —Bobby, explaining the perks of dark walls (Ep. 8)

Other Nuggets of Wisdom

  • QE Hip Tip: Make a phone with your hand. Inhale through your right nostril, hold it. Exhale through left. Inhale through the left. Hold it. Exhale through the right. Repeat that same process for about a minute and watch your worries melt away for a gorgeous day.” —Jonathan, on a stress-release trick (Ep. 5)

  • QE Hip Tip: “Stand straight, shoulders back, and don’t forget, eye contact.” —Karamo on how to rock a confident smile (Ep. 6)

*if we missed your favorite tip, please let us know and we’ll add it. (We tried to avoid tips that were incomplete or extremely specific to the individual being made over.)

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Riding out of Pi Day like…

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Not just for geometry geeks, the Pi bike is a functional twist on the fixie that was just released on 3/14, otherwise known as Pi Day (and, coincidentally, Albert Einstein’s bday)! The design applies the familiar shape of the pi (π) symbol to the frame of the bike. This far-out fixed gear’s high, flat top and low handlebars gives riders an extremely aggressive stance that looks anything but math nerd!

But was it as easy as pie to make?! Not quite. Before making molds, the designers sketched out the frame shape, tweaked the form using scale models made out of cardboard and plywood, and then cast the frame out of resin. After casting, it was sanded down and assembled by hand to form the fully functioning version you see today.

Designers: Tadas Maksimovas, Martijn Koomen & Tang Yau Hoong

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The Pi Bike is a fixed gear bicycle handmade out of carbon fiber in the shape of pi (π) symbol.

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Tutorial: How to Shoot Portraits of Total Strangers

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 Have you ever had the bizarre urge to walk up to a total stranger and say “can I take your picture?” ​Yeah? Then you’re in the right place.

You’re about to read over 3,000+ words on the art of creating street portraits, or what I like to call “the gentle art of photographing strangers.” My name is Michael Comeau. I’m a portrait photographer based in New York City. I’m also a textbook introvert. I spend more time alone than with other people. I suck at small talk. And I never, ever talk to strangers… unless I’m shooting ​their portrait. ​But you don’t have to be a social butterfly to shoot great street portraits. You just have to turn your camera on and your brain off.

In this in-depth guide to shooting street portraits, I’m going to cover:

  • The Humans of New York Connection
  • What a Street Portrait Actually Is
  • 4 Reasons Why YOU Should Shoot Street Portraits
  • Popular Misconceptions, Like the Idea That You Must Be Outgoing to Shoot Street Portraits
  • The 3 Main Challenges of Street Portraits
  • How You Can Shoot Your First Street Portrait
  • Tips for Setting Your Camera
  • What You Should Say to a Street Portrait Subject
  • How to Quickly Compose an Effective Portrait
  • Editing and Post-Processing

The Humans of New York Connection

Brandon Stanton didn’t invent the street portrait. They’ve been around for a long, long time, and were perhaps popularized by Diane Arbus. But Brandon’s Humans of New York project brought the street portrait into the public consciousness. I’ve thought long and hard about why Humans of New York has become perhaps the most-viewed series of portraits ever created. It comes down to one simple concept: human solidarity. We all have our struggles, and that means we’re all on the same team. Most social media is about looking cool, so it’s amazing to see stories of real live humans with real live human problems.

When Humans of New York features someone going through a divorce or suffering from a drug addiction, we can all relate because we all have our own big problems. And that’s what street portraits are all about – relating. You’re creating a real moment of solidarity with your fellow man when you make a connection with a stranger for a portrait. A street portrait is not just a picture. ​It’s a shared creative experience with a total stranger.

How often do you do anything with a stranger, let alone a creative act?

What Is a Street Portrait?

We have to start by asking the simple question “what is a portrait?”

Let’s to straight to the master Richard Avedon:

Richard Avedon said “a photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed.” ​Therefore, a street portrait is a “a picture of a complete stranger who knows he is being photographed.” Many street photographers have co-opted the word portrait to describe candid pictures of people.

But the word portrait implies 2 things:

  1. A photographer setting up the shot
  2. The subject ​consents to the portrait

This is a candid picture of a person:

And this is a street portrait:

What makes it a portrait? Because I approached the subject and got her consent.

3 Reasons You Should Take Street Portraits

​All photographers should take street portraits. I don’t care if you’re a wedding photographer, a landscape photographer, or a street photographer. If you can approach a complete stranger and shoot an effective portrait of them in less than a minute, you’re guaranteed to grow as an artist. Here’s why:

1) You’​ll sharpen your technique

You’ll be forced to work fast, so you’ll get used to quickly setting your camera and composing your shot

2) You’​ll get out of your comfort zone

The idea of approaching a complete stranger and asking to take their photograph makes a lot of photographers want to crap their pants. I’ve been shooting street portraits for 7 years, and I still get nervous!

3) You’​ll have a lot of interesting experiences

When you shoot street portraits, funny things happen… like the day a grown man called me Papito and kissed my hand.

The Papito Story

One day, I was strolling through the East Village in search of portrait subjects.​Funny, a subject round me.I was walking by Tompkins Square Park, and this guy stops me and yells “PAPITO! TAKE MY PICTURE! TAKE MY PICTURE!”

According to the Urban Dictionary, Papito means “hot man, daddy, latin way of telling a man that he is desirable.” Cool!

He puts his hands up, and I start shooting.

After I ​get 4 or 5 few frames, I ask him why he wanted to have his picture taken.  “Papito, I am walking home from church and we gave the hungry people food and coffee!”

I reply “Do you want me to send you a picture?”  “No no no, Papito! Thank you very much!”  He then grabs my hand, kisses it, and ​runs like hell down the block.

The 3 Major Misconceptions About Street Portraits

1) They’re For Social Butterflies Only

The biggest myth about street portraits is t​hat they’re only for extroverted social butterflies. I​ don’t believe that. I’m a shy and quiet person. But I can also get out a few sentences and press the damn button on my camera. And that’s all ​you need to do

2) People Will Hate You

You may also think you’re going to get negative reactions. I’ve shot hundreds of street portraits, and the worst thing I’ve had to deal with was a very stern no. I’ve never been yelled at, slapped, or otherwise harassed.

3) The Picture Has to Be Good!

I’ve shot my fair share of crappy street portraits. But that’s okay. As an introvert, street portraits are a way of getting out of my comfort zone. As long as I make the attempt, I consider the experience a success.

The 3 Challenges of Street Portraits

1) Talking to Strangers

If I can shoot street portraits, anyone can. I’m a wallflower at parties and I can easily go an entire day without talking to anyone. Asking a random person if you can shoot their portrait is not easy. But I’ll give you my personal formula for success in talking to strangers.

FACT: You don’t need to be a social butterfly to photograph strangers! #streetportraits

2) Nailing Camera Settings on the Fly

You don’t want to fiddle with your camera while you’re trying to connect with a stranger. But you’re going to learn some very simple tricks of the trade to nail your exposure in no time at all.

3) Getting a Good Picture Fast

95% of the time, you’re going to have a minute or less to shoot your street portrait. So you’ll have to move quickly. You can still get a great picture – you’ve just got to learn how to plan a shot BEFORE you approach someone.

How You Can Take Your First Street Portrait

Now we’re getting to the good stuff: how YOU can shoot street portraits without feeling like a total doofus.

You’re going to learn:

  1. The gear you need
  2. How to choose your first subject
  3. A quick and easy method for nailing your camera settings
  4. The easiest way to approach a stranger, and what you should say
  5. A dead-simple rule for composition that works every time
  6. How to choose and edit your shots

​Step 1: ​Get a Camera, Any Camera!

Do you have a working camera?

Yeah? Then you’re good to go! And it doesn’t matter whether you have an iPhone or a 100-megapixel Phase One. Many photographers think that people are intimidated by bigger cameras, but it’s not necessarily the case. First, if you’ve got a big camera and lens, a lot of people will automatically assume you’re a serious photographer. That can be a good thing. And second, potential subjects pay more attention to what you say and your body language than anything else.

Plus, many larger cameras, particularly film cameras, are real conversation starters. If you’re walking around with a Pentax 67, people will actually start talking to you! If you have a working camera, then you have all you need to shoot a great portrait.

What lens is right for you?

We’ve established that your camera doesn’t matter much. But your lens choice does, because it affects the framing and feel of a picture. Wider lenses are great for portraits that show the environment.

Here’s a shot taken at 35mm:

Normal lenses, which I regard as anything around 50mm, are a little tighter and work great for medium shots:

Or even close-ups if you like the feel, like I do:

A longer lens, like my Sony FE 90mm macro, is great for tight headshots with a more traditional feel

If you’re not sure of what to start with, go with a lens around 50mm. ​Get a wider lens if you want more environmental-type shots, or a longer lens if you want tight headshots without perspective distortion caused by being too close to the subject. Or, just get a zoom lens if you want flexibility.

Step 2: Find Your First Street Portrait Subject

Who Not to Approach

You now have your gear sorted out, you’ve got to find a subject. I’ll start by telling you who not to approach. My personal rules are simple.

  1. I avoid people that are eating
  2. I don’t approach people that look upset
  3. I never bother people that are in a hurry
  4. I don’t photograph pretty girls just because they’re pretty

Who to Approach

Beyond that, it’s anything goes. If I find someone interesting and I think they’ll say yes, then I’m game.

How do I know someone will say yes? Facial expressions and body language can tell you a lot, and over time, you develop a sixth sense for it. And if your approach is right (which we’ll go over), people are far more likely to say yes to a street portrait. If you just want to get your first street portrait over with, go to an event where people expect – and want – to be photographed.

For example, you could go to a fashion event, a Comic Con, or a demonstration. ​Or… just find someone with a cool hat.

Cool Hat Theory

​Cool Hat Theory says that people who wear interesting headgear love compliments. They spent a lot of time picking out their hats, so they want validation that they made the right choice. So if you see someone with a cool hat, there’s a very good chance they’ll say yes to you.

Everyone Else

If you’ve progressed from people at events to cool hat people, then you’re basically ready to shoot everyone else. All you need to do is turn off your brain and say hello. But first, let’s set your camera.

Step 3: Street Portraits Camera Settings

If You’re a Nervous Wreck or a Complete Beginner…

Just turn your camera to P mode, so you don’t have to think at all about your settings. And shoot RAW in case your exposure is off. If your camera has face detection autofocus, use that too. Hey, it’s not the fanciest or most ‘professional’ way of shooting a portrait, but who cares? If the idea of photographing a stranger makes you queasy, then just take camera settings out of the equation altogether.

How I Set My Camera

I always shoot street portraits in Aperture Priority. Why? Because I set my camera BEFORE I approach someone. In aperture priority, I can guestimate my settings to ensure I get the exposure I want.

I adjust my Aperture according to the depth of field I want, and I let the camera sort out the rest. ​On my 55mm Sony, I shoot my portraits anywhere from f/2 to f/8. ​On my 90mm Sony macro, I’ll be anywhere from f/4 to f/6.3. I don’t care about what my exact shutter speed is, ​but I want to be at 1/100s at a minimum to counteract subject movement.

If my shutter speed is too slow, I just bump my ISO up. Then, I’ll adjust exposure compensation as necessary. If a subject is lit from the front, I typically won’t apply any exposure compensation. Backlit subjects will typically be underexposed, so I will add as much as a full stop depending on the situation.

This is because your cameras meter will see all that bright backlight and make the entire picture darker — including your subject’s face. So you need to add exposure to offset your camera’s urge to make light things dark.

Know Your Camera!

It’s important to know your camera so you’ll know how much exposure compensation ​you need for different situations. For example, in any high-contrast situation, ​my Canon 5D needs ​way more exposure compensation than my Sony A7 II. So now you know how to set your camera.

It’s time to approach your street portrait subject.

Step 4: Approach Your Street Portrait Subject

The Approach

Asking a complete stranger if you can take their photo is a downright bizarre thing to do. So you have to project confidence and warmth. Let your camera hang by its strap so your hands are free. Showing your palms is a universal sign of friendliness and honesty, so don’t clench your fists or fold your arms. And ​walk slowly but deliberately so your subject can see you coming. Walking slowly and deliberately will also actually make you feel more confident. Science shows that pretending to be confident actually makes you more confident.

Try Not to Think!

When you spot a potential street portrait subject, approach them immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to psych yourself out and lose the shot. If I don’t make an approach within 30 seconds, there’s a 95% chance I’ll abandon the situation. I’ve lost thousands of potentially great street portraits because I waited. Plus, you’ll come off as a stalker if you just​ keep looking at someone over and over without talking to them.

What to Say

​Maintain friendly body language with a strong posture. Keep your message simple.

Here’s what I say 90% of the time:

“Hi my name is Mike and I’m a portrait photographer from Brooklyn. I like your hat/tattoo/tie/gloves/dog/whatever. Can I take a picture of you?”

I NEVER compliment a person’s looks. I compliment their tastes. I do this for 2 simple reasons. First, I don’t want to seem like I’m hitting on them. Compliments can also make people feel self-conscious. You may think someone’s wild, unruly hair is perfect. They may think it’s an ugly mess, and that they should have worn a hat.

30% of the time, I get a no. It’s very frustrating, but I smile, say “thank you,” and move on my way.

​50% of the time, I get an instant yes.

​20% of the time, I’ll be asked something like “what is this for?” or “where is this picture going?”

That 20% wants to say yes. But they need confirmation that they’re not dealing with a crazy person.

Always tell the truth, which in my case is “I put them on my Instagram and my website.” I’ll usually get a yes then, but if I don’t, they get a smile, a thank you, and a wave goodbye. Don’t be rude because you’ll give photographers a bad name.

​Step 5: Compose the Shot and Nail It

Compose: Head in a Clean Spot

Here’s a quick tip that works in almost any portrait situation: put the person’s head in a clean spot. (h/t Zack Arias for this one). Use elements in the background to form a frame around the subject’s head. This draws immediate attention to the face.

Here are 3 examples:

And if you’re shooting someone up against a blank wall, even better!

Hair Color Is Surprisingly Important

If someone has very light hair, try to photograph them in front of a dark background. Why?

This is why:

See how the woman’s hair just blended right in to the light part of the wall? This picture would be much stronger if her head was against the red wall. The contrast would pull your eyes to her face even faster, The opposite is also true: when you can, shoot subjects with dark hair against light backgrounds:

Horizontal vs. vertical & cropping options

Obviously, you should put your frames together in a way that makes you happy. I tend to shoot my street portraits in horizontal mode, and I avoid putting the ​eyes directly in the center of the frame. ​It’s better to shoot too lose than too tight, since you’ll have more flexibility to crop in post-processing. I am not crazy about the native 2:3 aspect ratio in my main camera, the Sony A7 II. So I often crop to 3×4, 4×5, and square aspect ratios.

I’ve even done a few at 6×7 to honor my favorite film camera, the Pentax 67.

Give Direction

If a person is naturally photogenic, don’t mess around. Just take what they’re giving you. But with most subjects, don’t be afraid to direct the shot. It shows you know what you’re doing, and you’ll often get a more relaxed and natural expression.

When I like what I see, I take 2-4 frames. But what if I don’t like what I see? I just accept that I’m not getting the picture I want, and take the same 2-4 frames.

Saying goodbye

After I get my frames, I say thank you and offer a handshake. I also offer a business card so they can contact me to get their photos. ​One guy actually called me 6 months after I took a picture of him and his girlfriend! I thought it was pretty cool that he remembered me:

Another option: if your camera has Wi-Fi, you can beam photos to your smartphone and send them right on the spot.

Wait… Do Humans of New York-Type Conversations Ever Happen?

I’m not afraid to chat with my subjects, but most of my street portrait interactions are very short. Sometimes I go from “hello” to “thank you” in less than 30 seconds. Once in a while, I end up in an extended conversation, which can be pretty cool. Sometimes, I regret not getting to know my subjects a little better.

UK-based Crash Taylor, creator of the ‘Streets of Nottingham’ street portrait project, does things a little differently. After he captures a street portrait, he asks his subjects to make a wish, which gives us a better idea of who his subjects are.

Click here for our interview with Crash.

​Step 6: Editing and Post-Processing Street Portraits

Choosing Pictures

There’s a popular notion that a portrait should say something about the subject, but I don’t necessarily buy into that. I operate on a more visceral level. I’m looking for charisma. If the subject’s expression makes me want to know more about them, then I consider it a successful portrait, and I will publish it.

Here are some of the expressions I’ve captured:

Keep your post-processing simple

Street portraits are about capturing natural expressions of real people. So keep your post processing simple.

What do you like best?

This simple black & white shot:

Or this overly effect, grainy mess:

How about this HDR-flavored mess?

Your opinion is your own… but I know where I stand…

Black and white vs. color

Choosing between black and white or color is entirely personal. I tend to go black and white unless color in the image serves the shot better. For example, I went with color here because I wanted to pick up the girl’s warm skin tones:

But it’s really more of a ‘feel’ thing. Some pictures just feel better in black and white, and some just feel better in college.

Wrapping It Up…

If you’ve made it this far… thank you! I’m going to end with 1 very simple messages for you.

Embrace the people you meet

When you shoot street portraits, you end up meeting some really wonderful… and really bizarre people. Embrace them, because you’d have never met them otherwise. And that’s what’s great about street portraits. You can make an instant connection with a total stranger, and create something special together. Never forget that. You’re not just taking a picture for yourself, but you’re also giving people recognition.

And that’s pretty damn cool.

Thanks for Reading!

I really hope you got something out of this article. I’ve tried my best to include everything I’ve learned from all the years I’ve spent shooting street portraits. If you’ve got a minute, drop a comment below and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE newsletter on my website!

See this post in its original format over at On Portraits.



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