Now I am not going to preach to you about street-photography shooting with a zoom or a prime if you don’t feel like getting too close .. no problem even though street-photography is more rewarding getting close :) This is entirely up to you to see and catch the mood and moment in the shot. What I am going to share is just my experiences , observations ( or tips if you prefer) on street shooting.
As much as I am a creature of the city from my youth, I now live in somewhat quieter surroundings, that does not necessarily mean you cannot get interesting Street Shots. People have to go about their daily lives and this is where you can capture these moments in your camera, and I guess this is what draws me into Street-Photography.
1. Get comfortable
Get comfortable with your camera and carrying it around on the street and even shooting at eye-level. This might make you feel uneasy or anxious but it will help conquer any fears you have about getting close and shooting on the street. Experiment with different camera settings in between shots and prepare your camera settings up front , to make things easy shoot either in P ( Program ) or A ( Aperture ) Priority. Although, if you just want to shot in Auto this is fine too ( I know the purists will hate me for saying that )
2. Patience, Slow Down
Find a busy street or market place and watch people looking for a good moment to capture. Don’t rush in and fire a 100 ‘snaps’ this will draw too much attention to yourself. Keep Calm :)
3. Be friendly and don’t look menacing
Keep smiling even when you are getting strange looks with the camera in your hand. Most people are interested in what you are doing and even feel flattered that you are taking a photograph. If approached, explain what you are doing . “I am learning photography and taking photographs of interesting people I see on the street” if you have a small business card hand these out it adds some credibility to what you are doing instead of looking like a stalker! I carry some Moo mini cards with my contact details then I can hand these out and email an image to those who ask.
4. Don’t carry too much gear in your bag
The camera and lens (a zoom or a couple of primes) will do and ditch the tripod and flash, you are going to use what light is available. You are going to be walking around and carrying too much gear will really slow and tire you down. If you have space carry a bottle of water with you if you are on walk-about for a long period of time.
Stuck for inspiration …. Try an experiment of just shooting 24-36 frames, even though carrying a digital camera gives you ample opportunities of taking many images this could be a bit of overload.and help you slow down and get to see the right moment.
Shoot at different angles
Look for reflections or shoot through glass.
Use a different prime lens ( or focal length) or zoom to give you some flexibility for varied shots.
Don’t feel under pressure by looking at other photographs thinking you are not good enough , it takes practice and you should be thinking “Wow.. how can I take a shot like that?” Be prepared for taking a lot of bad shots for every good one that you get, you will get used to this as you practice more with your camera and observing what is going on around you in the street.
Don’t spend too much time in Aperture/Lightroom processing your images, processing should all be done in less than a minute (or less) per image. If you have a specific look, save that as a preset to speed up your workflow.
Remember there are no rules to doing street photography, and no right or wrong tools/cameras for getting the job done. This is all about you capturing a shot in a moment of human decision making. So get out there and start taking some street shots, trust me you will get to see the world and people in a new light.