We share some tips for street photography
WE TACKLE STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN THIS ISSUE
There are many types of photography in the world today and like food, there may be some that you like, and some that you don’t. This month, we take a look street photography and share some tips that we think would be useful for this kind of photo excursion.
Not a Fashion Fiesta Malaysia isn’t a very cold country. Walk a couple of minutes and you’re bound to build up a sweat, thanks to the sweltering heat and high humidity. This is why it’s best to wear something that’s comfortable and light. We suggest wearing cargo pants and sports shoes. Cargo pants give you plenty of room to carry an additional camera battery, or maybe extra memory cards. Using sports shoes is an obvious choice, as you’ll be walking throughout your “photoshoot”.
It’s also a good idea to bring a towel for two reasons: you’d be able to wipe your sweat and use it as a makeshift tent for when you need to quickly review your photos. Be Lazy! More often than not, the lighting will change drastically from one street to the next. While you may be tempted to set the camera to full manual, we’d advice against that. Instead, we’d suggest putting the camera in either Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority mode. When doing so, the camera still automatically determines exposure settings, but it also allows you to quickly make changes if the settings are a little too dark or bright.
Know Your Camera
Although setting your camera to Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority mode will solve a large amount of exposure woes, it’s also important to know how your camera functions. Knowing where and how to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture comes in handy when you want to get a little creative and do stuff like movement blur or underexposing the foreground.
If you got that reference, than you’ll know that you’ll need to be as discrete as possible. Carrying a huge DSLR may give you optimum image quality, but it’ll also attract unwanted attention. More often than not, when people realize they are being photographed, they tend to freeze up and act unnatural. We suggest using a good mirrorless camera like the Sony NEX series, or a great compact like the FUJIFILM X100S. These kinds of cameras are much lighter than a DSLR, so you’re able to be much more discrete. There is a drawback however – battery life of these kinds of cameras often doesn’t last as long as DSLRs.
On the other end of the spectrum, some may argue that taking candid shots of people without their consent is unethical. If this is a concern of yours, simply walk up to the people you’d like to photograph and politely ask them for permission.
If you’re taking the stealthy route, just remember to always be courteous and smile or wave if the person(s) you are photographing spots you taking his/her/their photo. If they approach you and request that you delete their photos, please do so as they have every right to refuse being photographed.
Composition, Where Art Thou?
Regardless of which style you wish to adopt, you should never forget about composition. Have your subject framed properly and your photos will always look better. Take a while to survey your surroundings and if you spot a nice framing spot or background, you can just wait for a subject to enter the frame and take your picture. Patience is a virtue when it comes to photography.
Having said that, when you see a great photo opportunity, it’s alright to break the theories of composition once in awhile. After all, they’re only theories and the main purpose of photography is to capture great moments around you.
Primed for Success
One of the first “mistakes” you may be tempted to make is to use a zoom lens instead of a prime lens. While zoom lenses make it easier to close in on a subject, they’re also mostly large and bulky. This makes you stand out and makes it obvious that you’re focused on one particular thing.
A prime lens (something along the lines of 35mm to 50mm), is considerably smaller and gives you a wider field of view. This allows you to be more discrete and lets you get more into your frame. Prime lenses also have wider apertures, so it’s easier to take photos in darker areas.
Digging For Gold
Great photos can be found anywhere and in the most unlikely of places. This is one of the reasons why street photography is a source of inspiration and ideas for many photographers. When you’re doing street photography, it’s sometimes better to “feel” your way to a good picture. Laugh all you want at this statement, but more often than not, your instincts will lead you to a good photo.
The first step would be to absorb your environment by taking in every sight and sound. Once you’ve found a place that you’re comfortable with, simply walk around and look out for moments that shout out to you. Such moments differ from one person to the next. However, a rule of thumb is to shoot something that evokes an emotion in you. For example, the black and white photo of a couple running in the rain (refer to “Rain”) makes you feel melancholic.
Fun is the Name of the Game
At the end of the day, the objective for doing street photography differs from one person to the next. We would like to think that it should be done in the name of fun. Not only will you get to photograph candid behavior, you would be able to document a large variety of activities that make for good stories for when you’re with friends.
The subjects in this photo may not be in focus, but this photo still looks relatively good.
You don’t always have to take photos of people!
Or you could go low.
Sometimes, you just need to look up.
You may want to experiment with different effects, such as HDR.