Even though I mainly do fashion photography now, it’s not where I first started.
My first love in the art was out in the streets, where I learned to develop my creative eye and ability to capture that “decisive moment”.
Along the way, I guess I learned a thing or two:
Control your shutter speed
This is an obvious for seasoned pro’s in the game but if you’re just starting out, and you want a sharp image, think about switching your camera to sports mode or to “time priority” and then increasing the shutter speed. If however you want a blurry ghost-like effect of people walking you’ll most likely need a tripod to keep the camera still, thus allowing the habitat to be sharp whilst your subject is caught in motion.
Consider your Lens/ focal length
This will depend on what kind of photographer you are, as a person. If you are someone who likes to get up close and personal to your subject, then you might want to go for a 35mm or 50mm lens. If you prefer to be at a distance, you’ll most likely opt for a telephoto lens.
I stood for a moment with a friend the other day, pointing out all the things that passers-by would probably miss – the shapes of surrounding architecture, the colours of people’s shoes, the reflections in the shop window, the different expressions on people’s faces, etc. Developing your ability to notice things will open your eyes to interesting things happening around you.
Shooting from the hip?
Let’s face it, sticking a camera in front of a stranger’s face isn’t the most comfortable of situations, especially not for “the subject” seeing as they have no idea who you are (mi5) or why you want so badly to take their picture. The answer? Try lowering your camera to waist level and see what unexpected results you get.
Ditch the DSLR
Mine was once referred to as a “big computer camera”, and I can see why somebody would say that. DSLRs can be quite scary-looking for non-users but if you have a less intimidating one, like a fisher price camera or just a more compact one, your photo opportunity might be a lot more welcoming. If somebody stuck a toy camera with sound effects in your face would you laugh or hide?
“The decisive moment”
Choose your timing wisely. Good photography isn’t about shooting 500 images and then picking the best one. The masters of the game tend to be a lot more patient and shoot less because they understand this important principle, aiming to get it right first time in-camera. If you shoot with film this will train your ability to anticipate the magic before it happens.
Contrary to above point, switching to continuous burst mode does have its advantages. If you absolutely must get the perfect image of your subject, taking 10 photos in a single second will indeed allow you to choose from the best of them all. Cameras have different functions for a reason – exploit them!
Change your vantage point
Most people for reasons unbeknownst to me, tend to take all their pictures from standing eye level, no matter what or who they are shooting. Why not try crouching down low, sitting on a bench, shooting from an escalator or a moving car (just don’t stick your camera out the window because accidents do happen, whoops)?
Tell a story
By this I don’t mean sitting in the middle of the street reciting Hansel and Gretel, but do try choosing an overall theme that will piece your images together into a collection. Who knows? You may want to create a photo book from them one day to be published and sold for millions, yay!
The word social nowadays comes with a sense of irony. Sitting on the tube in London whilst everybody is glued to “social” media networks prevents them from being social in real life. Simply striking up a conversation with someone and asking if they would mind having their photo taken for your project can be a great excuse to make new friends and get some great street photography pictures. I was once approached by a photographer in a museum who had taken my photo without me knowing and when I saw the picture I was quite blown away by the beauty of the moment that he saw and told him it was fine for him to use it on his blog. Also having done street fashion photos enabled me to get out and speak to people about their style and allowed me to take some cool pictures. Result!