Chinatown Street Portrait Walk: A Photo Shoot Narrative

Shimyia was very gracious in wearing a red, body-fitting dress which she wore like the fashion champion that she is. We shot for more than an hour, exploring different locations around Chinatown, NY. Checkout Shimyia's portfolio ( or follow her on Instagram: @myia_essence

A location like Chinatown in southern Manhattan makes street portraits a lot of fun. There are engaging motifs and textures on most street corners, so In the case of this photoshoot with Shimyia, there wasn’t any excuse to not make things work! However, looking back to this body of work, I can’t help wishing I had included more of the environment. So rather than a telephoto focal view, a shorter lens like a 35mm would have been ideal to have. Chinatown is incredibly photogenic, the antique buildings with exterior fire steps that makes it so recognizable are calling me back.

Nearly immediately after we began to shoot, I suggested Shimyia position herself in front of a red wall painted with an intricate mural, which served as a great background and accentuated her remarkable beauty even more. I also attempted to include some of the location's environment, but that proved to be very challenging due to how busy and space limiting it was. As we continued exploring Chinatown, we then shot in front of a mustard-colored wall and completed this session in Columbus Park until the humidity level made it difficult to shoot anymore.

Chinatown is a location that certainly has a very iconic look, but including that on a single street portrait session requires planning, especially traveling light with just essential gear!