For some reason, I found myself into a niche of selling shopping malls pictures. Maybe it is not so hard to fathom. Afterall, gals are most happy when we are out shopping. And there are hundreds of shopping malls in Singapore!
Wanna some tips?
Best lighting is afternoon, maybe after 4pm plus
Normally shopping malls open from 10am. Morning and noon time do not give the best lights exposure – can be very harsh.
Use Ambience Lights
I like the time before sunset, around 6.45pm or so. Just like nature photography, urban photography has its magic too. No need to use the camera flash. The street lighting and building reflection made fantastic photographic canvas.
Outside Tripod Ok, Inside Tripod – No, No, No
It is fine to bring along a tripod for that added stability and taking photographs outside the mall. However, bring it inside and that is an invitation from security to come over and check you out. Got any permit?
No Close Contact
The best angle to avoid reflection is to place the lens right smack on the glass windows but again that is an invitation to security especially if you are photographing branded stuff or jewellery. Just shoot discreetly and not be so obvious about it.
Don’t you love festive seasons? This is also the time when shopping malls put up their best decorations. Don’t just come for the shopping, take photos too! Best time is Christmas.
Shopping malls attract the most customers during weekends and there are usually promotional events held at the mall atriums. Plenty of photography opportunities or just people watch.
Don’t Block the Way
During busy times, best not to stand in the middle of a large crowd walking in cross directions trying to photograph people shots. The annoyed and killer looks are not worth it. People hate being photographed.
What sells? People shopping, browsing in stores, carrying shopping bags, sale signs, etc. I used to hate pictures with blurry people movement. I have learned to appreciate it as it creates dimension to the photos and alludes to movement. With fuzzy movements, faces of people are not recognised so there is privacy there.
Exposure and Aperture
Indoor shooting can be very tricky depending what sort of lighting the stores and shopping malls used. I have taken one photo with this specs : Aperture F3.5, Exposure 1/4 secs with generally white indoor lights. Another specs : Aperture F3.5, Exposure 1/8 with lots of yellow lights, this was Christmas time with lots of balls hanging from the ceiling. For outdoors daylight, increase the F number to capture more details. I had one picture taken at 1.42pm with this specs : Aperture F16, Exposure 1/8.
BTW, the photos look fuzzy because they were uploaded at low resolution. Best way to preserve details is take RAW pictures – they can be edited without much loss of data.
So instead of bringing the credit cards to the shopping malls, how about bringing along the camera instead? Simple retail therapy!