Street Photography has been around a very long time. Since the invention of cameras really, and has produced some of the most important images of our time. It is considered that this image is the oldest photograph of what can be defined as street photography. But what exactly is Street Photography? Recently I received a call from a client for a photographic project, a pregnancy session to be precise. Long story short, I declined. My answer was simple; I did not feel comfortable working with something planned. I have been in love with Street Photography for a couple of years now, and it’s my thing. The response of the client to my answer confused me a little bit. She said, “yeah I know, street photography is trendy today”.
I really have not noticed a boom in general with Street Photography, however, I like to consume Street Photography a lot and the internet and books are generous in terms of material of this sort. Street Photography is not a trend; it is a genre that can be defined as “all the photographs that are taken in a public space”. After this, it can be understood that it is the responsibility of the photographer’s passion to present these images with a particular aesthetic to tell meaningful stories in a certain way. This way of doing things will ultimately revolve around the “daily happenings” with the generosity of Composition.
5 tips to up your Street Photography game!
In the following paragraphs, I’ll present to you 5 tips that I would have loved to receive in the early days when I realized that I liked taking pictures of people in their natural environment, at that time I did not know the name of “Street Photography” as such.
You need to understand the importance of composition
Composition is without a doubt the soul of all good photographs. Technically the image may not be perfect, but thanks to its composition, it can transmit a tremendous feeling. Composition is often misunderstood only as “the rule of thirds,” but there are many more ways to make a good composition.
My advice is to study, understand, apply, have fun with them, and just after that, them when necessary. In this sense, Street Photography is somewhat related to the magnificent greatness of Jazz, a musical discipline that is often seen as a great jam of improvisations. But this is not correct; Jazz has a particular architecture, which allows a musician to improvise after mastering a high level of musical understanding. If you don’t believe me, just remember Whiplash’s final scene (Spoiler Warning).
Street Photography demands more to invest in a good pair of shoes, then in a Brobdingnagian piece of gear. We can have a fabulous piece of equipment, but if we do not walk in the pursuit those great photographs, they just won’t appeal to you. Street Photography invites us to lose ourselves and to wander without a clear vision of what we want to find. We must get lost, but keeping our eyes open and the camera ready to capture those moments. Not all walks will produce good images, but that shouldn’t ever frustrate you.
Having a camera with you always
Which camera to choose? That is one of the biggest concerns of anyone who starts to take a slight interest in photography. And it is normal to have this concern because really, without a camera, there is no way to preserve images in a tangible way. You can check out our article on gear here for help.
A camera is a tool, which allows us to capture these images. The best criterion for me when deciding which camera should be purchased is the following: “the camera within the current budget, and that I can carry with me the whole day in a comfortable and reliable way.” My current camera is the Fujifilm X100T, before buying it; I worked almost exclusively with my trusty Canon G1X, and before that with an entry level Canon DSLR camera.
As you can see, I evolved into more portable pieces of gear, which allowed me to carry them with me all day without any hassle. You just don’t know when you’re going to cross with the photograph of our life, and believe me; you don’t want to be unprepared for it.
Mobile phones are very powerful, and they produce excellent images, but I personally think that being such an embedded element in our lives, it does not generate that special bite that invites us to look for photographs like a normal camera does.
Get crazy with books, not with gear
The best investment is not the one made in equipment or technology, it is true that they are our tools, but are not worthy to take us out of peace. It is better, without hesitation, to invest in photo books, not technique oriented or theoretical books but actual books filled with just photos. The last book I bought (used) is this one, the experience of seeing those images, is intoxicating.
Involvement with other photographers
Photography is enjoyed more when there are more people who truly understand our passion and that can share advice and experiences. This can be done digitally through groups on the internet, or more humanely, on the streets with other photographers. Personally, I don’t like to go on photo walks with other photographers, but I like to meet and just talk about photography.
I hope these deeply personal tips can help you in the endless process of becoming a passionate Street Photographer.
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