I’m a French/English photographer with a focus on Urban/Street Photography here in London. I started out in 2008 and have, mainly in the past year, seen an increased interest in my work. I’m an Olympus Ambassador, featured internationally in both print and digital (including Huffington Post, Olympus Magazine Street Photography Magazine, Londonist, F2 Freelance Photographer Magazine…), adverts, solo exhibitions…
In order to fund my photography, I also have been hired to shoot at the British Fashion Awards in December 2013 as well corporate shoots, the latest being for a major international oil company.
Early 2014 I founded and launched the “Street Photography London” collective with a total of 13 of London’s best street photographers. Our intention is to grow our community over the coming years but only through a very thorough selection process to keep the standards high.
I used to shoot with a Canon DSLR but rapidly grew tired of lugging around heavy gear so I switched to micro four thirds in 2012 when I bought my Olympus OMD E-M5. This is now my spare as I upgraded in January to the Olympus OMD E-M1. The main reason for the upgrade is the WiFi capability and ease of sharing essential for me as I have a strong focus on social media. The 1/8000 shutter speed also allows me to use fast lenses in bright conditions and the focus peaking is useful on some occasions as I shoot a lot using manual focus. Shooting at 10 fps is also very good to not miss that shot. Finally, the ergonomics have really been thoroughly improved. Oh…and the image quality is very good, although I’m not one to only think about pixels as what really matters is not to miss any opportunities in the street.
Here’s a description of my Micro Four Thirds gear:
1 – Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 75mm f/1.8 (150mm full frame equivalent)
The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 75mm f/1.8 is a stunning lens for portraits due to its focal length resulting in more natural looking shots, less distorted. It also delivers a beautiful shallow depth of field. It’s built like you’d want a lens to be, cold metal, heavy and with a smooth focusing ring. It’s got quality written all over it. A great lens for street photography if you don’t enjoy being too close to your subject.
2 – Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 (35mm full frame equivalent) aka “The Tank”
The Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 current favourite, it spends most of its time attached to my E-M1. Manual focusing prime and currently one of the fastest MFT lens on the market. Now be warned…it’s heavy, weighing in at a whopping 540g!!! But there’s just something very special about this lens. I wasn’t one to manual focus much but I got used to it in no time and absolutely love it, especially with the focus peaking on my E-M1. The image quality is excellent and you can shoot in low light to such an extent that I am always surprised. To many, this is the perfect focal length for street photography.
3 – Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 UMC Fisheye (15mm full frame equivalent)
The Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 UMC Fisheye is another manual focusing prime. If you want a bit of fun, get a fisheye lens. And actually it can work great in street photography especially combined with the art filters from the E-M1 such as cross-process or tilt-shift. Also interesting used to shoot skateboarding/ers and London urban landscapes.
4 – A7 leather camera strap
Get rid of your standard “out of the box” strap. This is not just an exercise to look cool, but you’ll see how comfortable these A7 leather camera straps are. I actually own two. You’ll also be less noticeable shooting street photography than if you had Canon or Nikon written all over.
5 – Mount July Filters
I was given a set of coloured Mount July filters to test exclusively here in the UK. These screw on like normal filters but add a retro/trippy look to your photos. Quite an interesting set of filters which I will soon experiment more with.
6 – Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Olympus HLD7 battery detachable battery grip
I recently upgraded from my trusty Olympus OM-D E-M5. It’s incredible how far micro four thirds have gone. I’m a great advocate and I need to be as for street photography I just can’t carry heavy DSLRs around. The quality is not compromised, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is a phenomenal camera. There are a lot of skepticism around micro four thirds and I think more people should give it a go.
7 – Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 (50mm full frame equivalent)
When not shooting with my Voigtlander, then the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 is my second favourite lens for street photography. The image quality is second to none and a fantastic lens to use in low light. It happens to also be great for portraits and even landscapes (as you don’t have the foreground in the shot, not usually the best part anyway).
8 – Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 (70-200mm full frame equivalent)
Everyone needs a telephoto lens in their camera bag. The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 ‘s secret? It’s a constant f/2.8 aperture lens, so it’s fast all the way through. And again, image quality is excellent. I actually use this one a lot in street photography. It’s the lazy option as I have no need to get too close, but some days I just don’t feel like invading people’s space so I go sniper mode.
9 – Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8
The name gives it away, yes… it’s a macro prime lens! I’ve had tons of fun shooting macro when I first got this Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8. But then as I’m more of an urban photographer I found that actually it’s also great for portraits and street photography. Although I use it a lot less than the rest of them.
10 – Olympus FL-600R Wireless Flash
Now you may think.. “what’s that got to do with street photography kit?”. Truth be told I don’t use this in the street, but a flash is important and as I also do jobs on the side, the Olympus FL-600R is in my bag.
Of course this is my large “general” bag. When I head out to shoot knowing I will be walking for hours, I take a smaller bag with me with only a couple lenses.
Add a couple extra batteries and a spare Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the kit Olympus M.ZUIKO 12-50mm (just in case) and that’s it.
Inside Nicholas’s camera bag:
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