Street Photography is one of those kind where you will find more hobbyists rather than professionals. The prime reason behind this is because it is so much fun. Most street photographers are there only because they want to be there. They want to do it. It is a different kind of experience all together. As Thomas Leuthard says, “Street photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
But this awesome fun-filled kind of photography has it’s own obstacles too. And you get to know more about them as you keep shooting. But once you master these obstacles, nobody can beat you. Below I have listed down a few such points that I have learned from my personal experience and can recall at this moment. Hope they are of some help to you, the next time you go out on the streets.
#1… Do not think twice!
If you see a frame in front of you that can build up into a nice story, don’t think whether you should shoot it or not. Coz even if you waste a second to think, the moment may just go away for ever. Shoot first and think later.
#2…Do not stop for too long!
Always try and notice your subjects from a distance and also plan your composition. By the time you reach him, you should be totally ready to just lift your camera and release the shutter. The problem with standing in the middle of the street is that firstly you’ll get pushed by people (if it’s a busy street) and everyone will get irritated. Secondly, your subject will also become aware of your presence and you’ll never get that awesome candid shot. So if you don’t make it at first go, just move on. Remember, there is a huge world waiting for you. One gone is none gone.
#3… Do not make eye contact!
Never ever make eye contact with your subjects. Not before the shot, nor after. Look at every possible thing around him, but never at him. Looking eye to eye with a person will only either freak him out or freak you out. In either case you are not gonna get your shot.
#4… Do not look back!
Once you shoot your subject and you are walking away from him, do not look back to check if he noticed you or if he is calling you or anything. Your looking back might just lead you to having to delete one of your best pics of the day.
#5… Do not exclaim!
By that I mean do not bring the widest grim on your face showing how over-whelmed you are at capturing the awesome scene. Carry a very stoic look on your face throughout your shoot. That will keep you off unnecessary conversations. Of course you can rejoice when you are done shooting or back home.
#6… Do not keep looking at your LCD!
Very very important point to keep in mind for all Digital shooters. Never keep looking at your LCD screen. Doing that will firstly make people suspicious of you, secondly you will miss the awesome moments that happen when you are busy engrossed in your screen, and thirdly you will fall into a garbage dump or maybe bump onto a pole, or worse, bump onto another person.
#7… Do not use a big camera or lens!
Although this point is not absolutely necessary to follow, but your common sense will tell you that the bigger gear you carry, obviously the more attention you catch, and that of course is the last thing a street photographer would want.
#8… Do not shoot Manual!
This is another point which is very subjective. Manual mode shooting is something an amateur fashion photographer can afford to experiment with, but not a street photographer on the street. Infact there are a number of professional street photographers who don’t shoot Manual. The best choices available are Aperture-Priority mode (Av), Shutter-Priority mode (Tv), or Program mode (P). For these shooting modes you only decide the depth-of-field, or the shutter-speed, or the ISO value respectively, and the camera gets the other settings in place to give the perfect exposure. Fiddling with Manual mode will only get you to lose those precious moments which otherwise could have been excellent shots. And remember, at the end of the day, what matters is your shots, not which mode you shot in.
#9… Do not be scared!
This is something that I mentioned in one of my earlier post too. And I mention it once more here because this is of prime importance. You need to have self-confidence and build up your courage if you plan on doing street photography. Remember, it’s only a notion that people have in their mind that any person they shoot will come and beat them up. That happens only once in a million times. Atleast I personally never experienced it, and nor have I heard of someone I know to have experienced it. Get you guts and go and shoot. And by the way, at times you might just be lucky enough to be greeted with a smile too. People are not all that bad after all.
#10… Do not get into arguments!
In continuation to the previous point, if incase you happen to be really unlucky and somebody stops you and asks you to delete the pic, just do it. Do not get into any kind of argument. Delete it and get moving. No pic is more worthy than your life. And I’m not aware as to where you live in and what kind of people are there. And anyways, if you are intact, then there will be a million more opportunities for you to get much better pics. Don’t sob, and move on in search of your next frame.
I’m not an expert, and thoughts may vary from person to person. But these are some of the things that I learned from my experience, and thought that sharing it with you people may benefit you in some way. If you liked and enjoyed the post, then please do share it in your circle. And as always, I’m completely open to feed-backs irrespective of whether you have something to say for or against this post. So feel free to comment.