One unique type of photography to consider practicing is street photography. This art is all about shooting people’s day-to-day lives. It can sometimes be chaotic shooting photos as people move around you in the bustle of the streets, but that’s what makes it so fun.
Taking a perfect shot is challenging. Even if one opts to buy quality equipment, this equipment will be useless without learning proper street photography techniques.
For me, the techniques I apply are more important than the gadgets I use. With a few tips, you can improve your street photography and capture your perfect shot.
Traits of a Perfect Street Photographer
Timing, subject, and composition are the most important factors that make a great street photographer. The way I compose my photos can either weaken or strengthen my finished projects.
A perfect street photographer must have a precise target and timing. Also, you must obey all the photography rules. Unless you observe these rules, you will always be an ordinary photographer. I aim to create pictures that make people wonder.
In street photography, the target is usually unaware of the shot, but the photographer must be aware of the target to capture quality photos. People on the streets will not hold a pose for you and may regard street photography as a waste of time. They are also unlikely to pay you.
As a result, beginners may feel discouraged due to a lack of interest from their targets. This is why observation skills are necessary in street photography.
Why Observation is an Important Skill in Street Photography
Observation skills are essential for every beginner. Learn how to observe the environment. If you possess good observational skills, your photos will turn out pleasing as well.
Work on observing little moments in the street as the people move and interact with one another. Maybe you see a woman walking over to pet a cat. Frame the subjects ahead of time so you can capture them when they’re interacting organically. Henri Cartier-Bresson explains the essence of observation in his idea of photographic psychology.
Henri Cartier-Bresson developed a concept of decisive moments through observation. Henri notes that when photographers focus on visual and psychological aspects, their photos will be perfect.
It is impossible to produce quality photos without having good observation skills. A perfect street photographer must have an eye that distinguishes the outstanding features of an object.
It is my responsibility as a photographer to determine the perfect moments to shoot. Good observation skills make photography work easier by focusing on form, energy, function, and essence. Take photos of people engaged in various activities, like a mother trying to help her child or an athlete about to score.
These little moments may seem insignificant, but they can help you start your street photography journey.
Street Photography Techniques You Can Apply
I always practice taking shots that can trigger questions from my viewers. Photography is an art, and every art needs the right skills and techniques. Beginners often find street photography difficult.
I believe these five techniques can help anyone improve their street photography.
1. Set Your Camera
Setting my camera can help me begin my photographic journey. The less gear I have, the less intimidating I will appear to subjects. Before I approach people, I must ensure my camera is correctly set. I never know when I might take a shot.
Aperture priority is ideal for me when taking street portraiture. Also, I prefer boosting my shutter speed through the use of Auto ISO. These techniques ensure I am ready for any shot. For these reasons, I consider a compact system camera or mirrorless camera the perfect tools.
The mirrorless camera assists in getting shots without hauling a heavier DSLR around. I also take RAW photos where the rest of the settings are set to default. Before I go out to the streets, I must always remember to set up my camera.
2. Take Shots from a Distance
I prefer shooting with some distance separating me from the target. However, I always take RAW photos without zooming the camera.
My main subjects are always nature, exciting characters, and musical items, groups, and players. I rarely get close to these targets. Instead, I shoot from a distance until I am more comfortable with them.
3. Focus on Street Animals More Often
Photographing street animals was a great way to begin my journey. I always remembered to focus on animals whenever I was out taking shots. Shooting street animals in the presence of their owners helps me create a bond with the owners, and I have observed that most animal owners are friendly.
Taking pictures of street animals can help you become a great street photographer. Remember to always go low while shooting. For better shots, a close and wide range makes animal photos lovely.
4. Set the Stage Where Necessary
Location, location, location! I have learned to observe and set up in a public area or space. I was once shy about moving around while taking pictures. Instead, I resorted to the stage-setting technique whenever I found new locations.
Before I set the stage, I take some time to observe my surroundings. After understanding my environment, I frame my camera and set up my stage and equipment. Then, I focus on the targets. Remember to resist the urge to capture anything and everything. Patience and focus are important virtues when choosing unique, specific targets.
5. Shoot More Silhouettes
Shooting silhouettes can make my photos really stand out. I prefer using a bright window as a background, then underexpose the image. This technique will expose the shadow of the target and a transparent background.
Silhouettes are essential for me. I enjoy taking these shots, but I am always careful with my settings.
Enjoy Your Street Photography Sessions
Street photography is one of the most current forms of modern art. Through your street photography, I am sure you will enjoy travelling around and taking pictures. Armed with the right gear and techniques, anyone can capture the world around them.