Street Focus 99: Q&A and Street Challenge

This week on Street Focus my guest is my good friend Alec Hosterman. Together we answer questions about photography education, workflow and editing time sent by Levi Shand and Ludo. We also give the winners of the Street Challenge, announce a new one and give our picks of the week!

By day, Alec Hosterman is a mild-mannered Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies program at Longwood University where he teaches courses in public relations, social media campaigns, and visual communication. By night, Alec becomes a diabolical photo geek who enjoys street, architectural, and nature photography. His secret weapons include the sleek Fuji X100S and the ever-powerful Fuji X-T1. Alec lives in the thriving metropolis of Farmville, Virginia (yes, that’s a real place) with his three sidekicks: one spoiled dog and two fat cats. Connect with Alec: &

And the winners are…

The last street challenge was about breaking the rules to create tension. We have 3 winners this week, congratulations and thank you to all who participated!

Elizabeth Gray

©Elizabeth Gray

©Elizabeth Gray

Berit Schurse

©Berit Schurse

©Berit Schurse

Scott Johnston

©Scott Johnston

©Scott Johnston

All three will receive an ebook of their choice from our friends at

NEW Street Challenge: Smiles of Strangers. Enter the most beautiful smile of a stranger captured on the streets in the show notes for this episode by September 8.

Picks of the week:

Alek’s pick: Black Rapid Metro Camera Strap

Valerie’s pick: Lensbaby Velvet 56mm

Images shot with the Lensbaby Velvet lens


Some of Valerie’s Beautiful Smiles of Strangers for inspiration 🙂

About The Author

Host, Street Focus

The day I picked up a camera I became a storyteller. I now live and breathe in pixels! After working as a commercial photographer for several years, I realized that my love for the craft could serve others. Sharing the passion is now where I focus all my energy through teaching international photo workshops, speaking at seminars, writing, blogging and now podcasting. I am also thrilled to be an X Photographer for Fujifilm USA. Although I photograph everything and anything that moves me, my passion for mankind drives me to shoot street photography every day. I thrive on searching the story in a single frame. Find my Street Photograph: First Steps and Beyond on my website!

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  • MontyMo

    Smiles! I LOVE smiles! I took this at the Farmers Market. Two blocks are closed to traffic. The street is mobbed. I spend most of the morning on the street. That said, I always make a couple “passes” on the sidewalks. Much less crowded and it provides another point of view. I took this on the sidewalk in back of the market a couple of weeks ago. 🙂

    It’s funny. When I review my photos in LR may of the photos follow the same pattern.
    Someone will notice me taking their picture.
    First comes a look of confusion. “What’s going?” (these can make good pictures)
    Then a look of anger. “Why is this weird guy taking my picture?” (never good pictures)
    Then, after I say something to them, comes a big smile! In this case all I said was, “You two RULE! So cute!”

    Thanks again for the show and your encouragement Valerie!

    Monty Montgomery

  • Jan Sears

    This is a photo of Michael. I met him while at my home town for the Forth of July while waiting to use the restroom. He asked me to guess the country he was from and after three failed attempts he gave me a clue and I guessed it. Ethiopia! He had such a warm sprit and friendly nature. Very present and grounded. I felt good just being in line with him. So I asked him if I could make a photo of him and he happily said yes! Here is the result.

    Thanks for all you do, Valerie!

    Jan. @jantheman113

  • Jan Sears

    Not sure if it’s important but I shot this with Fujifilm XT-1,18-135 at about 35mm. Classic chrome warmed in Snapseed.

  • Sheila Bodine

    Great show, Alec and Valerie

  • John R. Merson

    Smiling from a doorway

  • Jordan N

    Homeless man and his cat, named Levi, on Houston Street in NYC.

  • Bob Bond

    Guy enjoying his doughnuts along with other parade watchers in Lynn MA.

  • vincent bach

    here is my contribution to this challenge.
    last summer, when crossing the street on my way to the Louvre

  • Dennis Skyum

    I was going to go for a close-up street portrait, but then this lady walked into my shot yesterday. I wanted to shoot the bicyclists, but then suddenly this woman waltzes through the frame, notices me, and then puts up her arms with a Bacardi Breezer in each hand and just goes “PARTY! WOOOOOO!”.

  • Jae

    Only had a moment to capture this cheerful street musician in Glasgow, Scotland.

  • Keith Johnson

    Whilst on holiday visiting Downtown LA bumped into this group, certainly lightened the day.

  • John Dillworth

    I was shooting a parade and I caught this spectators eye. I asked her for a smile and I did get a little, but beautiful smile

  • Adam Sampson

    I was wandering around glastonbury festival after just buying a dlsr and whilst still being shy this man turned and smiled as took the picture. Sums up the spirit of glatonbury so well

  • Mark Coleman

    A street artist that was selling his paintings in Ogden, Utah. taken with a sony a6000 and sigma 19mm 2.8 lens.

  • Shayna Schulman

    Taken on a photo Meetup while crossing the bridge along the canal in Paddington, London. I love the contrast between the attitudes.

  • carmen hugo

    I took this picture while Solo City was in flood. I saw the smiles of the children, playing in the flood. It was paradoxal, but children indeed never lose hope.

  • Bill Houlton

    My friend and I were spending an afternoon at Como Park in St. Paul MN taking some pictures. They have an old fashion Merry-Go-Round there that is a fun place try and take shots. A woman working there (perhaps volunteering) commented that I should take a ride, as I was walking past. I replied I wasn’t going to ride, but I was going to take her picture. She gave me the most warm and welcoming smile I have seen in a long time.

  • My wife and I were on our honeymoon in Hoi An, Vietnam when this little girl ran up and posed a great smile for us!

    Fuji X-E1, 18-135mm @ ~30mm f/5.6, jpeg from camera with slight tweaks in LR

    • Hans Eckardt

      The smiles in the background are pretty fantastic, too!

  • While leading a photo-walk, she dropped her wallet in front of us…
    I grab it, call her, she turn around surprised and lost at the same time.

    And then she understand that I am bringing her back her lost wallet before she even realize. Camera in hand, I snap her enlightened and smiling face.

    In Ann Arbor, Michigan (using canon 5M KII and 24-105mm F4).

  • Niko

    Found this lady trying to hide in her booth when I walked up with my camera. My smile and nod warmed her up, and I managed to capture her smiling back at me.

  • John Goddard

    I ran into this man during a Sunday afternoon walk down Tejon Street in Colorado Springs. He saw my camera and invited me to take his picture. I was happy to oblige.
    Fujifilm X-T10, 18-55, 1/60 at f/11.

  • yuri rasin

    Taken with a Canon 650D and a fixed 24mm lens. While waiting for my train back from Nimes, France. I noticed that guy from about 20 meters away, rushing past me. Just as he passed me by I noticed his smiling guitar, without any hesitation I quickly took the shot.

  • Nathaniel Paolinelli

    Here’s my stranger smiles photo. Taken while walking home one night these two passed me by. Shot with Sony A7Rii and 35mm 2.8

  • I saw this girl while traveling and having lunch in Boston in July. Her wild colored hair caught my eye. I asked if I could photograph her and she agreed right away with a big smile. Sony NEX-6, ISO 400, f5.6, 1/80.

  • Jan Lipton

    Smile, Zurich Bellevue. Nikon D600

  • Scott Symes

    Port Washington, WI, USA

  • Soukiram

    She was being carted around at an art fair, looked like she was deep into a day dream.

  • Soukiram

    She was being carted around at an art fair, looked like she was deep into a day dream.

  • Hi Valerie – here’s my entry for the ‘beautiful smile of a stranger’ competition.

    As I was walking towards Waterloo Bridge in London, I saw a small group of Hare Krishna followers playing music, singing, waving their banners and generally enjoying themselves. This chap was very happy to have his photo taken – and I hope that this comes across in my image. It makes me smile whenever I look at it!

    Thanks, as always, for your podcasts, and belated congratulations on reaching 100 episodes – I look forward to the next 100!

    Best wishes

  • Gordon Elliott

    Glamorous smile.

  • Maayan Porat

    Caught in the mirror 🙂        Tel Aviv. Fuji X100T

  • Hans Eckardt

    Loved the look of this guy in Long Beach CA. Sometimes the smile is in the eyes!

  • Judy

    She was painting a wall at the Native Education College in Vancouver for a mural festival – she took a break to smile for me!

  • Ted Buck

    One of the many Artists doing their thing at the monthly James St N Art Crawl in Hamilton ON, Canada.

  • Gordon Elliott


  • Benny

    I met Dorthy at an Air Show honoring WW II and Vietnam aircraft. She is dressed up as a WW II solider. She came to sign the US National Anthem. It was midday, hot and she was excited to sign. I found out she has only recently became a United States citizen.

  • Sally Utley

    A quick encounter with a bride on a street in Venice. I loved her authentic, pure smile – not withstanding the look of suffocation on the groom and the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” look on her attendant 🙂

  • Valerie Jardin

    Entries are now closed. Thank you!