About Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson is a digital strategist based in London. He works with clients on brand strategy, business strategy and social media. His professional blog is called the Economics of Innovation. Welcome to the Peter Thomson photo blog. You can also find Peter on Twitter at @peterjthomson

Stephen Tolfrey / Portrait 6 of 50

David (shot taken – Brooklands Race Track, Surrey ):

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. A footballer.

Q. Where would you like to be right now?
A. Menorca, on a beach where its warm and sunny.

Q. If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be?
A. President of the United States of America.


Peter Thomson / Portrait 1 of 50

Gabrielle (shot taken – Clerkenwell, London on a Panasonic GF2 with Olympus 12mm lens):

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. Secretary General of the United Nations

Q. Where would you like to be right now?
A. Watching the sunrise over Wellington harbour from my parent’s house in New Zealand.

Q. Who would you like to be for a day?
A. Jacque Cousteau

The Questions

You are going to ask each of your 50 faces three questions so that you can convey a sense of their story to the viewer.

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
2. Where would you like to be right now?
3. If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be?

Fifty Friends

The idea

When I first bought an SLR I took lots of pictures of leaves (with a very shallow depth of field) but eventually I realised that the point of good photography is to tell a story.

The challenge

So we’ve created 50 Faces as a place for photographers to share tips and tricks on the journey to taking 50 portraits of their friends, family and community.

The portraits

We’ve got lots of ideas for future photo challenges:

  • Street portraits
  • 100 Strangers project

Street photography is fun but shooting a good portrait is even harder.

Street Photography in Africa

When we travel, our eyes are a opened a little bit wider. This is the perfect time to shoot street photography. Good street photography is all about people. But, photographing people in a new culture isn’t always easy. I’ve just returned from shooting in Uganda and Tanzania. Africa is a wonderful place to shoot street photography but you need to keep your wits about you.

Street Photography in Africa

You can get close if you smile and put your subject at ease

So, how can use the techniques from street photography to make your travel photography better?

Continue reading

Lightroom Preset for Street Photography

I’ve been asked a number of times what presets I use for processing street photography in Adobe Lightroom. Even with digital cameras, street photography is a style that seems to benefit form very simple black and white processing. Black and white lets you focus in on the details, the light in the city and on the story of the people you are shooting. I process my images in Adobe Lightroom, looking for a gentle film look that puts all the attention on the subject and their story.

Street Photography Lightroom Settings

It’s hard to find a consistent look for your black and white images.

I shoot street photos to tell a story with the image. I want viewers to say to themselves; “I wonder where that woman is going?” and not “I wonder whether he used Instagram for that photo?” So I’ve created a Lightroom 4 Preset that is specifically designed for street photographers who want the images themselves to do the talking.

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14mm Lens Review

My GF2 came with the Panasonic 14mm lens as part of the kit so I never realised how many street photographers haven’t tried this powerful little lens. Recently I’ve met more and more micro four thirds street shooters and I’m still shocked at how many of you haven’t tried the pocket rocket.

Panasonic 14mm pancake

The 14mm handles bright lights fine. There’s a bit of flare but it’s part of the charm.

Put simply, the 14mm is the best value lens for micro four thirds. If you’re building a kit for street photography then the 14m is an important part of your toolkit.

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Oxford Street Flasher

On the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Rd today I stumbled across a photographer using a hand-held flash to grab street portraits. It was a moment of serendipity because I was wandering along, thinking about how “asked” stranger portraits like the Extra Day Project are different to candid street photography. I stopped to chat for a moment.

Flash Street Photography

Using a flash for street photography changes the social interaction with your subject.

He’d been spit at, chased and attacked. But said that most people react very positively. In fact, many play up for the camera.

Continue reading

Abtin Eshraghi with the GF3

Abtin Eshraghi is a self taught photographer from London. He was born in Iran, raised in the UK and lived briefly in the US. I first noticed Abtin’s work through Google Plus, which has a great network of street photographers. His photos have a gritty energy that jumps off the screen.

Street Portrait

Getting out on the street frequently increases your chances of capturing that spontaneous moment. (Photo by A. Eshraghi)

I enjoy Abtin’s photos because he’s using a GF3 to get spontaneous and slice-of-life photos from around London. He also shoots film and a DSLR but I’ve chosen a few of his micro-four-thirds photos because they showcase the extra freedom you get from a smaller camera. Continue reading

Anthony Stonehouse with the Lumix G3

Each month we’ll be profiling a local street photographer from around London. Not all of the photographers will be pure street photographers, but there is something about street photography that we can learn from all of them. This month we’re profiling Anthony Stonehouse, a Design Director who’s worked in Australia, Japan, the UAE and the UK.

Anthony and I met while we were both trying out the Panasonic GX1. He told me that “Most of my images are taken for their composition or light, rather than for a particular subject or candid moment.” I think this brings a bit more depth to his composition than many of my own run-and-gun candid street photos. I’ve picked five of Anthony’s photos that helped remind me to explore composition and light.

1. Do you prefer wide angle or zoom for street photography and why?
I prefer wide angle as I generally like to capture a scene, rather than just a crop of a particular subject. I quite like the challenge of shooting with a longer focal length though, and think it makes you look for subjects of interest rather than being as concerned with composition.

High angle street shot

Conveying a message or sense of place and culture, even if only subtly gives your street photos depth. (Photo by A. Stonehouse)

2. Do you interact with your subjects?
Never, unless I know them. Continue reading

Digital Rev TV Street Photography

Kai and the Digital Rev team have put together a series of street photography tips with some “Dos” and “Donts”.

Most of them are common sense, but it’s great to see the team out and about on the streets of Hong Kong. The team have made other videos about street photography and they’re always interesting.

Digital Rev are an online camera store and have been producing YouTube videos for a few years now as part of their marketing. They are amongst the world’s best because they’ve managed to put their personalities into the videos. You can learn alot from how they come across on camera while talking about a potentially dry subject.

And Kai’s street photos may be patchy, but some of them are damn good.