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Beijing Street Photography

My name is François Nadeau, I’m a photographer from Montreal, Quebec now living in Beijing China. My first encounter with China happen in 2013 when I was invited to participate in a international photography event. Since then, I went back to China a dozen of times for different photography projects. And loving it even more and more every time. In 2018 , I decided to definitely move there. I sold everything I had and arrived in Beijing with one suitcase of clothes and a suitcase with my camera gear. I now pursue my professional career as a photographer, videographer and I teach photography in schools and camp for Chinese kids. In 2019, I started Beijing photography workshops.

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Beijing photography workshops, as its name implies, are workshops that i give in Beijing. But i think of it more than workshops. It is a discovery experience of the chinese culture as well. It is a great wey to discover different aspect of Beijing and before my workshops, i always ask the participants with section of the city they would like to explore. These workshops are either in french or in english. Theyre are several of them like introduction to photography, post-production on ligthroom but the most popular one is street photography. And Beijing is a perfect place for street photography. Actually, that’s one of the reason i have moved to Beijing.

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Beijing is a huge city. And theyre is so much to see. Either you like the more traditional places like the Forbidden city or the Summer Palace. Or the super modern side like the Guomao CBD area, the art district 798 or the more fashion Sanlitun. But my favourite places to do some photography are the hutongs, these old parts of the city. Unfortunately, they are disappearing for more modern accommodations but they are still a few good interesting places. People in Beijing are nice and friendly. It is quite easy to get around with the subway but i prefer just to hop on a shared bike and go around and discover. Ok, and i am not taking about the food. So many things to taste and discover. Whatever and wherever you would like to do or go, i will give all the infos so that your experience is fun and memorable.

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Like i said, one of the main reason i have decided to live in Beijing, it is because it is a fascinating city to do street photography. Besides all those places that you can go, i find it very easy to photograph people and you have a surprise at every street corner. Beijing is a very safe city and i never had problems doing street photography. Universal language is a smile and being friendly. A simple “Ni Hao” (hello) will do. You could ask “ Neng paizhao ma?” witch mean can i take photos. But usually, just go and take your images, people dont really bother.

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Few tips. Always be ready, Beijing is a city with a lot of action. Always be ready to shoot. Try to avoid taking photographs of military or near the presidential palace. But don’t panic if you get a warning. Just say you did not know and be polite. They will not arrest you!! And just be careful when you walk, cross the streets or stop to take a picture.

Sometimes, you make great encounters. Either other photographers (I like to meet and exchange with chinese photographers) or some beijingers. Like this old auntie that invited me into her hutong house to have a tea and show me old pictures that her husband used to take. Beijing is definitely a city to discover, full of surprises. If you come, get in contact with me and we could arrange something.

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