The essence of street photography is about documenting the reality of everyday life in society. It can be practiced anywhere. Travelling is not necessary for exploiting the beauty of the streets. It is a candid for of expression, done without the permission or the knowledge of your subject. Posing for pictures is also a popular way of inducing a sense of beauty in the pictures you click. Something may catch your eye and asking for permission from people to click their pictures. Wandering up to people and clicking their pictures in the environment where they work. Showcasing their struggle and their lifestyle.
Having fun and getting out there to explore the streets is the most important part of street photography. The main goal is to capture humanity, emotion and depict the struggle that people go through on a daily basis. Street photography takes time to perfect with patience and practice.
1. Always Keep Your Camera On You
Street photography is all about spontaneity, it waits for no one. It is a discipline that is perfected over time with a lot of practice. The camera is an extension of your vision and perspective regarding the world. It is a unique form of expression that cannot be replicated. If you are serious about street photography you will carry your camera with you at all times. You will regret not having it if you come across something that catches your interest. This art form is all about the ‘decisive moment’, where you have a split second to capture an image that will be gone if you miss it. Such moments rarely ever return,
The most convenient settings for street photography are using the AV(aperture-priority mode) and choosing the ISO and aperture manually. The shutter speed is set autimatically by the camera. The ISO and Aperture should be adjusted according to the shutter speed. You risk capturing blurry pictures if the shutter speed is too low, which can be corrected by increasing the ISO or choosing a wider aperture. Beginners often resort to the Auto mode, where the camera does all the heavy lifting.
This works great while shooting in a hurry but you have no control over what the camera is doing. It does an acceptable job but it may not work as effectively in conditions of low light, this is where the knowledge and experience of a photographer step in.
3. Image Quality Is Not Everything
Photographers often disagree with this statement, but while shooting on the streets image quality usually takes a back seat compared to shooting for commercial work or landscapes. This does not mean that image quality is not appreciated where it can be included, it is just a variable that should be considered after the light, composition and the emotion you are trying to convey. As these are the most important factors to be kept in mind while shooting on the streets.
The effects of sharpness, low noise and image quality are negated if your picture lacks a proper composition. It is important to consider the aesthetic beauty and attractiveness of the environment rather than the quality of the image.
4. Choosing The Best Lens
Choosing the perfect lens to use is the most important part of street photography. Some photographers may be tempted to use a telephoto lens, but that is most likely to result in more harm than good. Standing on the street with a huge camera seems extremely creepy, aiming a giant lens at strangers. Looking inconspicuous is of the essence in order to get the perfect candid picture. Choosing a compact camera that is less confronting than a large DSLR is better as it is smaller, lighter and more discreet.
5. Creativity Is Key
Photography is a great tool to portray powerful ideas and emotions in the simplest of environments. Street photography is often wrongly associated with portraits of people on the streets, but it is so much more than that. Capturing interesting juxtaposition or exposing a sense of unity in diversity is intrinsic to street photography. It is a little difficult to capture in busy and bustling streets, but true beauty can be revealed to you in the lonely streets of a metropolis or the ghostly alleyways in rural settings. It is an excellent way to express one’s creativity in a way that may or may not employ the presence of people to make it aesthetically beautiful.
6. Don’t Overthink
Street photography as an art is something that people often struggle with. One of the biggest concerns involved in street photography is that people might get worked up about the fact that someone is waving a huge camera in their face. They may threaten you with abuses, violence or they may even call the cops on you. All this can be avoided with practice and experience. This is a common problem that people face, it gets better once you start getting out more often. One of the most important factors of street photography is to find an interesting spot to sit in. There is action all around you, all you need is an eye for detail. Spending time in cafes and restaurants is often quite effective. You will feel at ease sitting on the sidelines, observing the world go about their business in peace.
Listening to music and tuning out helps you create an environment of focus and tranquility. It helps you get negative thoughts out of your mind. It will help you feel comfortable in your surroundings. Music helps you drown out the ambient sound and noise. It induces a sense of ease and helps boost creativity.
7. Shoot From The Hip
Photos that are clicked from the eye level are usually quite attractive. Although there are several instances when shooting from eye level is not possible. This is where shooting from the hip comes in. It is very helpful to capture decisive moments. It is a great way to capture candid shots. People often get camera conscious and tighten up. They may feel a little pressured if they know their picture is being clicked. Shooting from the hip proves helpful in these cases. It helps you click pictures inconspicuously. Therefore the images come out unadulterated.
8. Shoot At Night
Night photography is a different ballgame all together. It is much more complicated than shooting during day time. It is a great opportunity to have fun with the bright lights and the serenity found in the dark. There are many things that should be kept in mind while shooting at night, low shutter speeds may cause blur therefore it is best to avoid it. The ISO and aperture should be adjusted in a way so as to compensate for the low light environment.
Best long exposures are shot with the help of tripods. They help keep the image uniform and steady. Fast aperture lens, alternatively, help you shoot in low-light conditions and still freeze the action. Nighttime is a great opportunity to find interesting compositions for instances, rising flames in bustling markets, interesting lines, shadows etc. Silhouetted subjects are often aesthetically pleasing and brings out the beauty that is often left in the dark.
9. Proximity To Your Subjects
Wide-angle lenses let you get up close and personal to your subjects. It gives the viewers the feeling of being right in the moment. Wide-angle lenses help you get lost in the crowd and not stand out like a sore thumb. The best street photos are taken only a few meters away from the action and sometimes only inches away. You may come out with the best pictures simply wandering through a busy street, park or a market. All you need is a keen eye for detail for the action. Pictures don’t always come out as what you wished for, using your feet as your zoom to get closer to your subject is the best solution for the same.
10. Have Fun
It is important to enjoy what you do. You will be able to shoot unique pictures only if you are passionate about the same. If street shooting is not your cup of tea, chances are you will probably end up shooting ordinary pictures, since street photography involves a lot of commitment and spending hours on end searching for the perfect picture. Creativity does not flow without passion, it cannot be forced.