Seeing the shot – Robin’s view

In the spirit of sharing more of what I normally do during my shutter therapy sessions, I came up with this idea of showing what happens immediately before and after I shoot an image*. Utilizing the Olympus specific feature “movie + photo” mode, I was able to capture video footage and a full RAW image file simultaneously. I thought it would be fun to see the moments leading up to the press of the shutter button. After all, timing is crucial in street photography and in this video compilation you will see a lot of blink and miss it moments.

*Note: this is somewhat similar to MT’s How To See video series.

I had to work with an older Olympus PEN E-PL7 camera because the movie + photo mode was unfortunately not available in the E-M1 Mark II. I am inviting you to come along with me to my hunting grounds and see what my camera sees. In the video you will also see how I frame my subjects, interact with random street portrait subjects and anticipate moments before they happen. As a bonus, there is also evidence of how cats on the streets love me.

I hope that you will see that street shooting can be super fun, exciting and totally unpredictable.  If we show respect and are courteous to people around us, they will respond in kind. A genuine and warm smile can go a long way, and keeping a positive attitude can help make you more approachable and look less like a threat to your street subjects. Things happen so fast and you have to be quick enough to react and execute your shot reflexively. It is perfectly okay to miss some shots but keep that optimism going and soldier on to the next opportunity.

Let me know if you find this video helpful and would like to see similar content in the future. I had a lot of fun doing this and am excited to hear your thoughts.


We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2018 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. David Coomber Effect Studio says:

    At last a photographer on WordPress who’s pictures are a pleasure to look at

  2. A very interesting idea Robin. I am now wondering how I can incorporate such a thought into my paintings. After all life flows like a movie and a photo is a specific moment and now you have given the two a relationship. √√√

  3. Eugene Tan says:

    Thanks. Very helpful.

  4. Steve Gombosi says:

    I think I’m way too introverted to be a successful “street” photographer – but it was fascinating to see your approach. I’d really like to see more!

    • Robin Wong says:

      There are so many ways to do street photography, and there is no right and wrong. I am not that aggressive, there are more direct right in the face approach which I do not use. You can adopt a more passive, observational and candid style which can work wonders too.

  5. Bill Walter says:

    Robin, what a great idea! I’m surprised no one has thought of this (and if they did, I’ve never seen it). From an instructional viewpoint, this is a great technique. I would disagree with one statement however… when you see a cat, don’t pet it, shoot it! Anyway, congratulations on a creative and unique video.

    • Bill Walter says:

      just to clarity, in my post above the word “shoot” means “photograph”.

      • Robin Wong says:

        Thanks Bill, I have had this idea for a while, was just too lazy to make it happen. Of course, I “shoot” people all the time too. We are on the same page here.

  6. Richard Southgate says:

    Hi Robin, what a brilliant and informative idea. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Andrew Franta says:

    Terrific video! I love your photos and this is very instructive.

  8. Thank you for sharing this view of your process. Think I learned a bit more about how to see and find a shot, and I like how you put strangers at ease for a portrait 🙂

    Pity that stills shooting during video recording got dropped from the EM1.2, though, but I’m glad that didn’t stop you from making this video.

    • Robin Wong says:

      I was spending a solid half an hour going through the menu, reading manual and asking my connections at Olympus for answers. At the end I gave up and used an older E-PL7. I wish they include this function in ALL their cameras! Heck all cameras from any other manufacturers should have it too.

  9. Thanks Robin very enjoyable and instructional

  10. Liked it 😉

  11. Alan Claunch says:

    Excellent article, both informative and fun. Thank you!!

  12. What a great teaching exercise, and as usual great street photography. Thanks for doing this.

  13. Hello, Robin, I, too, have followed you for a while. I hadn’t written any comment because you’re a “pro”. 😉 Anyway, I like this post a lot. It helps me understand the process better. Thanks.

    • Robin Wong says:

      I am not a “Pro”, nowhere near that at all! MT is the true pro here haha. Thanks for the positive comment and I am glad you find the video useful!

  14. Michael says:

    Very well done. Its impact is heightened by the quality of the photos and the simplicity of the video production style. More, please.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks Michael for the kind words! Simplicity works best in many situations.

  15. Matthias says:

    Hi Robin, I’ve been following your blog (and Ming’s) for years, and this “around the photo” video is just such an interesting view into your approach that I finally feel compelled to say thank you! Very helpful, I’m looking forward to more videos like this.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks for the constant visits and thanks for taking the time to comment, we (me and MT) both appreciate feedback from you all!!

  16. Make the people senyum is photographer’s most important skill. 😃

  17. How nice! Thanks for this Robin – and more cats next time please! 🙂

  18. Imagilink says:

    Dear Robin! What a refreshing new approach to photography instruction. I have looked at it with great pleasure. I hope this video gets a sequel in the future. Thanks!

  19. Nice work with a new idea!


  1. […] soon. Perhaps, for the next session, I will make a video (similar to the one I previously produced here) to share how I “see the shot” at […]

%d bloggers like this: