Street Shooting hints

I’ve written before about my love of street photography, and thought I’d just share some hints with you. There are many thoughts and schools on Street, from the incredibly intrusive and obnoxious Bruce Gilden, Right to the more social documentary type of John Free. But every one has their own style, that they feel comfortable with.

So here are my top hints.

  1. Travel light. You don’t need to take all your lenses and equipment. Carry a small choice of primes, or a single medium zoom lens. I prefer primes for street work as I find the zooming in and out with a zoom takes time. With experience, you will be able to “See” your frame without the camera, and have it framed in your mind before the camera is at your eye.
  2. Shoot in Aperture priority. Set a high aperture, so focus is less important. You might need to boost your ISO. That in it self is not a bad thing as the gritty look from ISO noise can help the image with the grain.
  3. Try to use shorter focal lengths. I rarely if ever go over 85mm. Long focal lengths have an effect on an image that just doesn’t work for street. It tends to distort the back ground. However, if you feel comfortable with longer lenses, by all means use them, remember, there are no hard and fast rules in photography. A contact of mine on ipernity, JayKay72 has outstanding shots with longer focal lengths.
  4. Dont worry about people. People, especially in city’s have one thing on their minds, and they will single mindedly go about it. They probably wont even notice you with you camera. They exist in their bubble, with as little interaction as possible. It can be hard to get over that fear of photographing people. Find a street performer, or someone who expects to be shot. Photograph members of the crowd. It will come with time.
  5. If someone starts asking what your doing, its normally out of curiosity. Be friendly, and honest. Dont aggravate a situation if one does develop. I’ve seen people steadfastly state it is their right, public street to take images, tough luck mate. I’d recommend if someone is grieving you, just delete the image if they want, and move on. There will be many more images and it just isn’t worth the grief. In all the time I have been shooting, I have however never had a problem. I’ve had some strange looks, but never a problem with anyone.
  6. Most street shots are Black and White. And there is a reason for this, colour can be distracting. However, experiment with your images, maybe it just works better in colour.
  7. Always look out for the “Decisive moment”
  8. Try shooting from the hip. This takes some serious practice. You have to know the framing of your camera, but it can and does give several unique angles and views. It’s a angle people are not used to seeing, and makes for unique shots.
  9. Dont be afraid to photograph the back of people’s heads.
  10. Get Out there and Enjoy it.

Hope this helps someone. 🙂

 

 

Chimping

Chimping

1160 • f8.0 • 85.0 mm • ISO 100

Chimping. This is the habit of looking at your LCD every time you take an image. Its a bad habit.

It distracts you from your surroundings, you may be missing that shot, what ever you just took a shot of, may be doing something your missing.

Have you ever had an engaging conversation with a friend and then suddenly your friend gets a text message? What happens? Your friend says “sorry one second” and checks their phone, sends back a text, and slowly adjusts their focus back to you and says “Oh sorry–what were we talking about again?”

When taking photos, enjoy the act. Don’t put pressure on your self by inspecting each image.

LCD’s are not the best viewing platform either for looking at the image. What your seeing, is the JPEG, which has been rendered by your camera software, and passed through its various filters. What you see when you get home, may not be as exposed, vibrant as you see. And depending on the reflection your seeing on the LCD from ambient light, will fool you.

If you do look at the LCD, look at the histogram. This will always show you more than viewing the actual image.

And please don’t delete images from camera. It may look blurry, out of focus. But when you view it at home, there may be something about it, something you love. There are photographers who make their name with photos like that.

Just wait til you get home to inspect your photos, or wait until your in a coffee shop sipping on a mocha.

This is of course coming from the point of view of someone that primarily shoots street. And of course, macro, landscape and model photographers have an excuse. But not street. Enjoy being out, keep your eyes open and never miss a shot.

Robin Red

1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

A slightly tatty Robin here. I think some of it is because the wind is blowing behind him quite hard. The little birds here are quite friendly as they get fed by the visitors. They quite often come and land on the wing mirrors of cars.