Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2013

Matthew "That Nikon Guy" Granger

For all you Tokyo photographers and enthusiasts, the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2013, on this weekend at Yokohama Pacifico, has probably been circled on your calendar for months. You’re not alone. Photo pros from all over the world will have done the same.

Australian photographer and teacher Matthew Granger—better known online as “That Nikon Guy“—is no different. Granger’s popular tutorials use wit and humor to demystify some of the machinations of digital photography (take, for example, “How to Shoot Ugly People.” See YouTube clip below).

We caught up with him upon his touch down in Tokyo—and will feature an interview with him on the Tokyo MetPod this week.

Granger is here to check out the CP+ to see what announcements are going to be made, but he’s also doing a couple of photography workshops. First is an Intimate Portraiture workshop ($495, some spots left, reservations required) on Friday (6-10pm) and on Saturday (1-6pm) along with Bellamy Hunt (of Japan Camera Hunter fame), he will take students on a Tokyo street photography walk around Shinjuku ($110). And no, these are not for just Nikon users. The workshops focus on getting the images, not what camera your using.

The last time Granger was here he was on his honeymoon, though he’s been here five or six times to put on workshops for his large Japanese and expat followers here.

We asked him his top tips for getting better photos in the metropolis—whether using that expensive full-frame DSLR or your handy dandy iPhone:

  • Get your gear out
  • “That’s the first thing,” he says. “It’s the saying I use for my website.” You can’t take photos if you don’t have any equipment, so just use what you have. “Carrying a basic camera with you and taking lots and lots of pictures will get you far better shots and more variety than not using that expensive $10,000 camera.”

  • Simplify
  • “Use the viewfinder or your camera’s LCD screen to see what’s actually in the frame of the picture.” Don’t just take random or wide shots and lose track of your focal point. He suggests moving around or zooming in and out until the extraneous people are out of frame or the tree and coffee shop are gone. Focus on your subject and fill the frame.

  • Use different angles
  • “Get down low or get up high,” says Granger. “Everyone takes shots at a height of five foot ten. Get down on your belly or climb on top of something. Hang from a tree limb to get a different angle.” Just changing the way you view the composition will set your shots apart.

    Listen to our Tokyo MetPod report for more tips and tricks from “That Nikon Guy” on how to get better photos no matter what gear your using—then head over to our Photo of the Week page and submit your works of genius.

    “How to Shoot Ugly People,” from That Nikon Guy: