You would think walking around taking photos of random people in the the streets where you live would be easy.
Well for some photographers it is, but for the majority it can be a bitter sweet experience.
Just the thought of walking around the streets with their camera can be reason enough not do do it.
If you do not do this type of photography at least once, I feel you are missing out on a great experience and a chance to meet new people and collect great photographs in the process.
So what is Street Photography?
Some would say it is about capturing the moment that tells a story on some poor unsuspecting person that had no idea you took their image. Others would say it is about the interaction with people and places and trying to capture a moment in time, again trying to tell that story in your image. Walking around the streets looking at the architecture, shadows, lighting, the unusual, using what is around you to create imagery and not interacting with people at all.
There are lots of theories about what street photography is and I am sure everyone will tell you something different. But for me it is about getting out there and having fun.
For the majority of us it can be stressful and quite a challenge, especially if you are on your own and carrying an expensive camera in unfamiliar places and this results in images that we are never really happy with and an adventure we wish we had not taken.
Making Street Photography Fun
This is how I started to make what was a difficult task easier. I always liked the thought of taking so call street photography images but in the back of my mind there was the thought of being confronted by an angry individual asking why I was taking their picture, was always there.
To get around this I started going to a location where cameras are not an issue, places where everyone is carrying one and happily taking images. Going with a family member or friends and making it apart of my sightseeing day out worked well for me.
I found that street markets in London were great places to take images. The store operators were used to having their image taken, people photographing their food and the people walking around were used to seeing cameras.
Events and Carnivals are also good places to get the human interest story, this is still taking images on the street.
When taking images of people close up, just ask if that is OK nearly all will say yes and once you have taken their image do not just walk away, say thank you and show them what you have taken.
Many street photographers will have you believe that that amazing image was taken on the spur of the moment but they are usually staged with the subject’s permission and the image presented may not be the only image taken.
My take on getting started in Street Photography is, if you are new to it then treat it as part of your day out. If you work in or around a tourist area then take the camera to work and on your way in to work or at lunchtime and even the evening just go out and take image of the life going on around you.
Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if possible, respect people’s privacy and most of all make it fun.