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#CreatorConversations: Street Photographer Paola Franqui On Her Go-to Lenses, Approaching Strangers & Staying Focused

#CreatorConversations is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) series hosted by @sonyalpha on Instagram. As part of the series, we were joined by talented street photographer Paola Franqui (@monaris_) of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective. See some of the highlights from her AMA below where she shares her go-to street photography gear, how she approaches photographing strangers and more. Visit the Instagram post for the full AMA and make sure you’re following @sonyalpha and #CreatorConversations to stay connected.

“...if there’s anything that I’ve learned, is that it is OK for me to take time to focus more on being present than being busy right now.” – Paola Franqui #CreatorConversations

"What’s your setup? What lenses do you use?" – @the_crime

Paola: “The Sony α7R III and for lenses I use the Sony 55mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.4 G, 85mm f/1.8.”

"What are your favorite settings on your Alpha?" – @_keyurpatel_ 

Paola: "Mostly on manual, center focus, continuous, high aperture ."

“Which lens is your go-to?” – @kkpeakphotography

Paola: “I would have to say my Sony 55mm f/1.8.”

“Any advice for photographing strangers? Do you like to try and catch them in the moment or ask their permission? Have you had any difficult times when people have reacted badly to you with your camera?” – @ddin35mm

Paola: “It can be very intimidating at first, that’s for sure. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get. It’s all about body language, the way you approach a scene, and if they happen to make eye contact I give them a smile back. I usually never ask for permission – I like the candid aspect of things.”

“How do you approach taking pictures of strangers? Do you go up to them and ask, or talk to them after you take it ,or neither? Your photos are beautiful and inspiring! I often find myself wanting to get into street photography and capturing raw emotion like these photos but I just never know how I should approach people.” – @canchickphotography

Paola: “After all the years that I’ve been doing street photography, I’ve learned how to work a scene. If I see someone that I want to take a portrait of, I set up, and most of the time, people are going to look at me. Now that my style has developed, I like that they look at me so I wait. At some point, they’ll look, and then I will take it. Then, I smile. I think that a smile goes a long way in street photography. A smile makes them comfortable — you’re not there to make them feel uncomfortable. And then I walk away. The more you do it, the easier it’ll get.”

“Best advice to take people photographs without getting into trouble?” – @mike.mn11

Paola: “To always react with a smile.”

“Any advice on how to create those faded green film tones in image 1?” – @mikescaptures

Paola: “I get most of my colors from the tone curve. Have you tried playing with that?”

“How do you color grade?” – @iampulkitarora

Paola: “I use Lightroom to do my color grading. Most of it it’s done using the tone curve.”

“How do you find that perfect flow and aesthetic for your page when your mind wants to shoot so much, from street photography to portrait work, to land/cityscape and now studio (lol I love it all), yet you want your page to flow? – @khalildowney

Paola: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to shoot everything...on the contrary, it shows how versatile of a photographer you are. It took me a while to find my aesthetic – years and years of playing on Lightroom. Just keep doing it, changing it up and one day you’ll find what you like.”

“Do you have a ritual prior to shooting street or would you rather just go?” – @jebsalomon

Paola: “No ritual, just an open mind and an open heart.”


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