How to Photograph Street Scenes
How to Photograph Street Scenes[S]TREET PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHICALLY DOCUMENTING EVENTS as they unfold in public places. Its subjects are people, most often strangers, who are photographed without their knowledge or participation. But the photographs do not necessarily have to be pictures of people. The public places where the subjects are photographed are usually street locations. Yet they do not necessarily have to be streets, nor the photography be done on the street always. It can be shot anywhere, as long as it is open to the public to enter and leave as they please. Therefore, it cannot truly be done in a private place, such as a person's home but can be done in such a public place as a hotel or office lobby It is not so much about people and streets, as it is about the style of the photograph. As a street photographer, you take photographs of what you see in public places as coming to life before your camera. What you see must be meaningful to you, and must move you, as well as the viewer. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MUST TELL A STORY Most importantly, your street photograph must tell a story. Consider the elements that go into your picture. What kind of story is it telling? Whether you are shooting on the street or in a park or in the mall, it is basically just telling a story. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IS CANDID PHOTOGRAPHY Photographing street scenes often relies on the candid quality of images of people, caught unaware by the camera. While photojournalism often set out to tell a story in images for submission to the press, candid street photography simply captures people living an event in the most sincere way. It encapsulates the true emotions of an event more powerfully than posed photography can. The photographs in the following video illustrate the meaning of this concept. [cleveryoutube video="KXYTzXoWvxk" style="1"]
“How do we predict the decisive moment in street photography? I want to share some practical tips, insights, and thoughts on how to better capture the decisive moment— by predicting it beforehand.
First of all, capturing the right moment in street photography is the difference between a mediocre and a great photo. Timing is everything. Not just street photography, but life. You need to have good timing when starting a business, when investing in stocks, when asking someone out on a date, and when to shoot.” Read more…BLACK AND WHITE IS THE PREFERRED FORMAT FOR PHOTOGRAPHING STREET SCENES Most street photographers tend to favor photographing street scenes in black and white. The reason is that color can be distracting, especially when photographing street scenes. You have so many different colors that make your eyes wander all around the image and not focus in on what the photographer wants you to see. A black and white image takes away those distractions and helps to bring back the mood of that moment into the image. However, there are certain images that really benefit from color. It really is just about what the scene is calling for. So, in the post-processing stage, decide whether to remove it or not. If color works well for your image, do not hesitate to retain it. HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE AS A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER One of the scariest things about street photography is that you have to get out there, and take photos of people who might not want to be photographed. How you get out there and shoot is your personal choice. Whether you get up in buddy's face and really get in there if you have that type of bravery or if you kind of shoot from the hip or do some other techniques that are a bit less aggressive, that really is up to you. If you are uncomfortable starting out in street photography, go to a place where there are many photographers. Maybe, go to a touristy type of spot in your area. There, you are not going to be the only one with a camera. That is a great way to start as well. It will make you feel right at home. Getting out there and actually participating in the scene with people and integrating with them will lessen your fear, as well. Blending in and not standing out so much will make you feel better. HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH STRANGERS WITHOUT PROVOKING ANGER OR DISAPPROVAL
Do not be conspicuous as a photographer
Try to blend with people on the street and not be conspicuous as a photographer. Do not carry your big camera bag. Maybe, bring a shoulder bag that you can throw over your shoulder to keep your extra lens and your memory cards in. Leave home anything that can make people suspect that you are out there to take their picture.
Do not be sneaky, trying to hide your camera. People are going to see it anyway, and if they object to having their picture taken, then just do not take it.
Respect your subjects’ wish
You must respect the person who refuses to be photographed. After taking his photograph, erase that image immediately, and do so with a smile. It lessens his aggressiveness.
Some people actually like to have their photo taken. You literally can walk to them, greet them with a hello and smilingly ask if you can take their candid photograph. Asking gives you validations and a feeling of confidence. This way, you do not feel as though you are stealing or robbing from them.
If you feel abashed when you take a photo of someone, just show him his picture after that. It may even make him happy, especially if the shot is a really good one.
When there is no need for permission
If your subject is situated at a far distance, you do not need to ask for permission. Just shoot, though most of the time you will not see the face of that person.DIFFERENT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TECHNIQUES There are several tips for shooting street photography.
Shooting from the hips
Instead of putting the camera up to your face and making it obvious that you are about to take a picture of a stranger, try shooting from the hips. Pre-focus and set that high f-stop. Start taking photographs from the hip area where your camera is down by your hip.
This may result in many images of undesirable quality. However, it also may result in one image that is spectacular. And this technique is something that you do have to practice and get used to. You know what position to put your camera to get a good angle and get somebody's face into the image.
If you have to put the camera up to your eye to shoot in a crowd, do it quickly. Don't sit there behind your lens and keep looking through the viewfinder over and over and over again. When you see a moment start to unfold and you feel like it's just that perfect decisive moment, put your camera up to your face. Take a couple of frames. Put the camera back down to keep that camera into a very subtle position, so it is not obvious. This will eliminate some of your fears as a street photographer.
Get your friend to assist you.
If you are bringing along a friend, have him stand next to the intended subject. You first focus in on your friend as though you are taking his picture, and then subtly move your camera to your subject. That is kind of sneaky, but it does help with making you feel more comfortable and getting you into the medium of street photography.
What about setting up a tripod?
If you are in a busy area, you may set up a tripod. However, you should first get the composition of your background ready. Then, just wait for people to walk by and take their picture, even without looking through the viewfinder. So, that makes it look like you actually are not taking a picture at the moment.
Do not be afraid to shoot the back of somebody's head. It just might be a great image, even if it is not their faces. Just being able to shoot the scene and the back of somebody's head can result in a beautiful image. So take all of those things into consideration whenever you are shooting.BEST STREET PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERA You can use pretty much any camera for street photography, even a smartphone, although one popular choice among photographers is a small compact with a large sensor and the fixed lens. The design and size of these kinds of cameras helps you to be discreet. The lens may offer only a single wide-angle or standard focal length. You typically will have a fast maximum aperture - this is great as it helps you to get a fast shutter speed that's required to freeze motion from people. Tilting-screen and touchscreen cameras [caption id="attachment_3259" align="alignright" width="300"]
“Street Photography is about authentic scenes and not artificially created art in post-processing. Nevertheless, with the right editing, you are able to emphasize the character of the street photograph, and can also push your personal style. The post-processing should be very simple and I am usually done within a few clicks, but in this Street Photography Editing Guide, I want to explain the steps that are behind every single image of mine. Editing a street photograph should be part of your normal workflow and not be too time-consuming. You can spice up your photographs, but you cannot change the basic flavor.” Continue reading…Photographing street scenes often involves capturing people in their natural, candid state. Though people are usually featured indirectly, it does not incorporate people all the time. It can include objects or environments where the scene is captured in a way that a decidedly human character is imparted in the aesthetic of the photograph. It often comments on the social or political landscape of the time. Therefore, it can be a wonderful tool to truly capture an event as it is. Street photography is a popular genre among enthusiasts and professional photographers, but it is also something that even beginners can try their hand at. So how do you get the most out of it? This article has attempted to share street photography tips for beginners – how to photograph street scenes successfully.
KEYPHRASES USED IN THIS TUTORIAL