6 Lessons Saul Leiter Taught Me: Street Photography (+GIVEAWAY)


what’s up everyone so I’m revisiting a series that I always like to shoot and that you guys and girls love to interact with and that’s the blank things I learned from this photographer and this time I want to talk about Saul Leiter and how he is and looking into his work and people who he’s inspired who I also look up to how he’s impacted myself and I want to give you five lessons I’ve learned from really looking into him I know there’s probably a lot more but here’s some of the five lessons that I’ve learned from Saul Leiter and his work and his inspiration and I’ll just give you a brief intro on who he is just in case you’re not aware I’ve got some notes that a reference to but I just wanted to talk a little bit about where Saul Leiter came from and a little bit of his background and he’s a painter and photographer he was really into painting then he picked up a camera a little bit later on and in the 1940s and 50s his work was very very recognized and it became an important contribution to what essentially is now the New York school of photography so a solid really has made an impact especially in street photography photojournalism in every regard with the way he captures some things and you’ll get you’ll get a sense of why I say that and some of the tips that I’m gonna get into and things that stick out in his work and you’ll definitely get a sense of that but he’s from Pennsylvania and he moved to New York in his late 20s and a lot of the professional work that he did once again he painted but he also did photography and it was in black and white work and he he was quoted to be inspired by and I’m not a hundred percent sure of how to say these names but it’s important because of how these painters who were also photographers not sure if he knew that or if they factored in but these painters their attributes contributed to the way his I became his soul was inspired by Edgar Degas Pierre Bonnard and édouard Villard avoid something like that I’ll leave those names down below if you want to check those out as well and once again they were photographers and painters and that’s how that became what was very interesting is once again looking back it was all the black and white work he was known for but it wasn’t until the 90s where people found our or was discovered that he was doing a lot of color work as well as well for his personal work and that’s really where you saw things I want to very very well-known for the black and white staff for his professional stuff but that was also the big thing as well as his color and that’s what really stood out and that’s what still makes an impact to this day and it absolutely does but sadly saw us all passed away in November of 2013 at the age of 89 but he left this legacy it was he was well known for a lot of things in the look and everything that he went through and his work really inspired a lot of people and really the people that I look up to now especially in street photography and they’ve become extremely popular they embody a lot of what of what Saul’s work has done as well as others as well but two of the ones that stick out to me are Joshua Jackson and Craig Whitehead 6th Street under if you don’t know their work I’ll link them down below as well a lot of work on Instagram in their own personal sites they do a lot of workshops and everything but they really embody a lot of these little I guess five or six things that I’ve learned from Saul’s work in their work as well and it really opened my eyes to look at things a little differently for street photography and kind of any photography one of the first things you notice in Saul’s work is his use of composition and mainly negative space and how he uses the negative space to tell the story to really draw your eye down or over to where you know he wants you to lead you to the subject and I’m gonna put up a lot of his work on here and I’ll leave all the credit down below to where I got these and they’re all Saul’s images and you’ll easily see like he’ll use a very dark portion of the frame then there’ll be a strip of light somewhere and then some going to be there or shot through something the frames mainly taken over but it’s a little area where there’s something that draws the interest and that can really help in street photography where you can eliminate a lot of the you know clutter noise everything in the environment and really focus in on the subject in the story you want to tell second big thing that jumps out to me is his use of being abstract but not fully abstract in which you’ll see a lot of you see a lot of his work where there’s mist or rain or some fog over a window and maybe a hand is moved through it there’d be some like text on the window or something you know through a shop window and you’ll see a figure but instead of it just being abstract where it’s just like colors which which there are you’ll you’ll get more of a person but sometimes the way they are distorted because of the way the fog or something looks and how it bends light a little bit the personal look a little bit disordered as well and it just makes a unique scene so yes its abstract but it’s not fully making you wonder but it does tell a story which i think is pretty cute one of the third things is minimalism now you’ll notice that going back to the composition and the you know use of negative space but minimalism and the search for color and he’ll find a scene to where there there’s there is if there isn’t a ton going on but the way he shot it used to settings and everything he just used the he looked a little bit for color like someone with a red hat going by or unique color umbrella or something in the distance you’ll notice a lot of that in his work and that’s what sticks out you can use a juxtaposition of bright colors and everything to really see you know what’s going on but he did it in a very minimalistic way and he did certain things with his camera and lens which I’ll cover too which is different to achieve this effect but minimalism was very very key in Saul’s work but kind of go back to what I said the fourth thing is his love of shooting umbrellas in bad weather so and once again looking for that bright color and I’ve gathered it from looking at a lot of his work it’s just it’s just different not a lot of people like to go out into the elements but the way that the snow can fall and you can drag your shutter a little bit or slow it down can really create an effect you know the longer lines or you can capture the fine the finest of you know snowflakes falling or something like that and it can help you know frame your image or that it’s going through and he didn’t have a problem with focus where he didn’t mind probably the subject being out of focus if he got a little bit something in the foreground but that’s kind of where it goes back to the abstract thing Tori do you know what’s going on even though it’s abstract and maybe not fully in focus number five is about the gear talking back to the other point and it’s his use of a telephoto lens he really did like to use a compressed lucky telephoto lens and that’s what you noticed on especially in a lot of Joshua and Craig whiteheads work as well is using like fifty millimeters on the crop sensor 56 and millimeters to give you that telephoto look and which forces you to tell a story like you don’t have to necessarily shoot wide open always wear you know twenty to thirty five-millimeter in that range is popular and more common for Austria photography this forces you to do something differently and I noticed that as well once I purchased the fifty millimeter for my Fuji expert to is that you can definitely tell a story within it but you’re in a tighter frame so make it count but using a telephoto lens give that you know that compressed look and it looks really really good if you if you if you know how to tell the story that way and the last point six is something like kind of have to read because it’s a quote but I think it’s 100 percent Kiefer Saul’s work and who he inspires and it’s that he says the photo will come to you now he’s quoted as officially saying he never searches for a photo instead they come to you it’s a reaction and this was also a big philosophy that a bro song pretty much embodied as well where the feeling that the it just happened you you documented it the photo journalistic side of things you didn’t set it up it was it was a very candid action and you weren’t necessarily going out to search for something you were walking by you saw the background was amazing the light was hitting it a certain way maybe you waited a couple minutes but bam the scene found you the subject found you that’s very hard because I do found myself struggling with that you know kind of letting something happen or forcing something to happen where you go to a scene you have a great backdrop but you’re forcing something to happen you you want something to happen and just doesn’t and really gets you frustrated and that happens when you’re forced things too much and that goes beyond photography that goes with a lot of things in life you just got to roll with the flow but in street photography patience is absolutely key and one of the last things I come on end this whole video on is you know what have I learned fully and it’s on this quote and it’s what Saul said is and he goes I don’t have a philosophy I just have a camera and that that’s that’s true put all the BS aside put all that stuff aside you have a camera go and capture whatever it is you need to do achieve your goal and I’m going to leave a couple links down below especially to friend personal friend in front of the channel Ted Forbes on photography he covered a lot back in 2013 a couple years ago of Saul Leiter so I’m gonna leave some of his links down below and in a pin post if you want to learn way more instead of the basis that I just covered but I just wanted a couple you know just share some of the things that I learned and then we could kind of go from there and I want to know your thoughts as well what are other street photographers that have inspired you do you follow Joshua and Craig as well and the other thing I want to do if this video does you know decently well and gets a lot of engagement I have an extra photo file book of saw lighters work that I’d be willing to do a giveaway with in the u.s. once again it’s just a book it’s just got you know a ton of his work and everything in it but it embodies a lot of what I talked about in this video so if you want this giveaway comment down below give this video a thumbs up and we’ll give this bad boy away soon you know within a week or so I’ll go through and we’ll pick a random come you know comment through a number generator and go from there I’ll contact you with this and yeah so hopefully this finds a home with one of you guys and girls and we can go from there but that’s six of the best things that I’ve learned from salt lighter and things that have definitely helped shape my mind with photography more than just street photography [Music]

32 Replies to “6 Lessons Saul Leiter Taught Me: Street Photography (+GIVEAWAY)

  1. Wow great photos, some candid shots like Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs. I started street photography few months ago and I'd love to see those photos in person!

  2. Wow its like how many great artists do I not know about? It seems like ive been living under a rock. Would you consider doing more videos like this? Theres just so many great artists I never heard of.

  3. what a lovely insightful video, really inspiring
    thanks for sharing this with us
    really really enjoyed watching this

  4. 👍👍👍 could not agree more . It’s odd I was talking to another photographer not to long ago about Craig’s work and he mentioned the same thing how he can see Sauls influences on his work.

  5. If you ever get a chance check out La Strada by Keith DeLellis….great street photography book. Thanks for your videos, love to head about other photographers passions.

  6. I love Saul leiters work and loved learning more from Ted, especially that he mainly worked in black and white and then a friend of his found his work in color.
    His use of color is so incredible and interesting.
    Another of my favorite steet photographers is Diane arbus her choice of subjects were amazing.

  7. Thank you for the giveaway. I’d love to have that book to see and learn from Saul’s work. I feel like street photography is something that I’ve been avoiding but I’ve been trying to change that lately. This would appreciate that book very much

  8. I love my 50mm lens on my XPro-2 when shooting street photography. I've also got the 35mm & 23mm lenses, but find I shoot more with the 50mm than I ever thought I would. I'd like to get an 80mm to see how that works. Great video!

  9. This shows exactly how much photohraphy is a skill and art and in general so much more than just good gear. Great video!

  10. Good stuff, Eric. The bit about the photo coming to you is street gospel. Trust one's instincts and be ready when it happens. Hoping for more content like this in the future.

  11. Great video Eric. Saul is a monster (read master) in telling the story using minimalistic elements. I love his work and sometimes I get inspiration out of what he created. Tough to beat such a great eye but definitely nice to follow his steps and his amazing body of work. Good luck with the giveway (nice book btw). All the best sir, keep them coming😉

  12. Craig and Joshua are definitely two of my favorite photographers on Instagram, have notifications turned on for them. Started looking into Saul Leiter’s work because of them, and that style of photography is one I really feel a connection with.

  13. I'm glad everyone is enjoying this and its one of my favorite series to make! The giveaway will go for a week, 8/13, then a winner will be picked and will close. (The winner has been contacted, just waiting on their response. If I do not hear back, a name will be picked at random again from the generator.)

  14. Wow! 5 years already since we lost him! An amazing photographer! I’m not so sure he told a story as much as get the viewer to ask: "What is the story here?" The image of a hand through the rear window of a cab is amazing. It has no faces, no back plot and yet it is a phenomenal image even if it’s technically poor. How do these great photographers like HCB, Koudelka and Leiter take these images which would in probability fail the average photography course, but stop you in your tracks and leave you staring at them time after time? He makes you look at his work and think, far from an easy thing to do. Great video about a great photographer, thanks for posting Eric.

  15. Loved hearing your thoughts on Saul Leiter. I love his work and subsequently found josh and Craig’s stuff too. I’m obsessed 🙂

  16. tried to get in to wildlife photography but came back to street & urban photography, think it has to do with me being a city person & this is what I like I seem to be more creative with street stuff. Some of my favorites are Vivian Maier, Gary Winogrand & Gordan Parks, I really do like candid stuff. Like the way you give street & urban stuff props.

  17. Hello Eric..you actually were one of the people who helped me decide on getting my Pentax K1 mk2,and of course i love it.I dont think,i just do,and the camera let's me,without being in my way,having to get through menus.It's not a video monster,and i dont need one from it,so i am looking for a second camera,but i am not dealing with single card slots nor weak batteries.What do you suggest????

  18. I think a large part of why I like Leiter's work is because he merged painting and photography. My great-grandmother, and grandmother were both classical painters at CSU; while my great-great-grandfather, great grandfather, and my grandfather were professional photographers working in fine art and journalism. Looking at the images from Saul Leiter, it's like seeing paint captured on film, while hearing beautiful music with energy. Excellent video good sir!

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