Digital Camera World
The streets are paved with gold… and blue, and pink. Shoot pops of colour in urban scenes, with tips from street photographer Marcin Baran
The street photographer shows us how to find pops of urban colour
MY PHOTO challenge is to look at your streets in a different way, seeking out colour. I know: same old streets, same old neighbourhood… but your familiar surroundings can be really deceptive. You don’t need London, New York or Tokyo for urban street photography – places you live in, work in or visit will offer great scenes. I strongly believe that you can find amazing photo opportunities anywhere in the world. Sometimes, pops of beautiful colour have been right around the corner for years, but you didn’t pay attention to them.
Capturing people in certain places can create a lovely splash of colour, too. I’m fascinated with humans in all kinds of urban environments, so it’s very difficult for me to take a shot without a person, a silhouette or even an animal in it.
Weather and the time of day also play a great part in street photography. Try walking to a spot in the morning and in the late evening, then try looking at it again in late afternoon light or in early morning misty weather.
You also need to experiment with different points of view. You can never take super-interesting photos if you only walk on the pavement and take shots from your eye level. Experimentation is definitely the best thing you can do. In terms of kit, leaving a heavy full-frame camera behind and going for an advanced point-and-shoot was the best decision I made for my street photography. Having a handy, light camera means you can melt into the crowd and not be perceived as a photographer. It’s much easier that way when it comes to shooting in the streets.
I also really like leaving the camera in full auto mode when I’m walking around the streets. I think 30 per cent of my shots are taken in auto mode. For the other shots, when going for blurry or action shots, I use Shutter Priority. Often Aperture Priority is really helpful – in good light conditions, I can set it to f/8 or so and be sure that capturing people will not result in an out-of-focus shot. When it comes to ISO, I always set it as high as possible, even to 6,400. Of course, your settings will depend on your camera and lens’ capabilities.
However, I’m more than sure that the camera you use, the lens that you crave, and the tons of photo equipment gathered in your closet often distract you from the most important thing: showing the world with your own eyes. Your camera is just a tool, but your eye is unique. Pay attention to what is happening around you, and concentrate on searching for perfect moments, light and colours.