Google Glass for Photography: A Street Photographer’s Perspective


Street photographer and Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley Richard Koci Hernandez (known best as just Koci) lucked out when he won Google’s #ifihadglass contest and earned the right to purchase (that’s right, they didn’t give them to him for free) a Google Glass pair and become a “Glass Explorer.”

We also lucked out, because Koci has been able to do what many Glass Explorers can’t: give us a street photographer’s perspective on the revolutionary product that may one day do to smartphones what smartphones did to point-and-shoot cameras.


We got in touch with Koci after we found out about his koci_glass Instagram account on which he shares street photos taken exclusively with his Google Glass. In response to our questions, he was kind enough to put together a comprehensive review of Glass on his website and give us free rein to share all his sample photos and thoughts with you.

In terms of photography, Koci was overall impressed with the set and its capabilities. Even though it only takes 5MP photos and 720p video, he finds himself wearing Glass as often as possible (or until his 15-year-old daughter begs him to take them off).

The first photo Koci took with Glass at his fitting.
The first photo Koci took with Glass, taken during his fitting.

Taking photos is as easy as using the shutter button on the top right of Glass, which is Koci’s preferred method, or tapping the touchpad on the side, saying “ok glass” and then “take a photo.”




“The shutter button is a great option for street photography because all you have to do is reach up to your frames and it almost looks like you’re merely adjusting your glasses,” says Koci. “You can see how this is preferable to speaking the words out loud if you’re practicing street photography.”

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that no matter what method you choose, taking the picture is accompanied by a beep that can be heard by you and anyone within arms length — stealthy photos in quiet environments aren’t an option.




Speaking further about the pros and cons of Google Glass as a tool for street photography, Koci explains:

The noticeable shutter lag is certainly a con at this point especially for capturing moments instantly. On the bright side, it has certainly pushed my limits in terms of learning and practicing to time certain photographs with much more anticipation. Also, wearing the dark shades that come with the glasses are particularly helpful as they don’t seem to stand out any more than a sporty pair of regular sunglasses.




You can read more of Koci’s thoughts on Google Glass and what he as a photographer thinks about them over on his website by following this link, but the overall impression has been a good one.

He doesn’t see them as a professional tool until Google squares away issues with shutter lag and adds some basic exposure compensation, but they are, after all, still in beta. The answer to the question “are they ready for ‘prime time’ photography?” then, is a simple “not yet.”




Whenever that “yet” comes along, however, Koci is ready to jump on the bandwagon: “I would certainly want a pair of these as an audio/visual option once it’s out of beta,” says Koci. “In the meantime I will continue to enjoy this early product release with much fun and experimentation.”

To follow along as he conducts these “experiments,” head over to Instagram and follow his koci_glass account by clicking here.

Koci Studios Reviews Google Glass [Koci Studios]

Image credits: Photographs by Koci and used with permission.