I have a decent experience in street photography and the least I can say about it is that it beautifully epitomizes the daily life in the city.
It’s a whole different ball game than glitzy photo shoots you often scroll on your social feeds. There are no artificial lights or intended tripod settings, no fancy costumes, and no make-do backdrops. Everything is staged naturally. Everything’s raw and real. And, it entirely depends on your skills how you turn these fundamental street views into evocative, gold-like portraits.
If you’re starting on street photography and looking for a heads-up, I’ve come out with a few tips that can help you hone your photography skills. Take a look.
1. Wait and Nail the Moment
One of the key secrets to clicking stellar street shoots is the excellent timing. Choose an exciting location, keep the trigger ready, and wait for the subject to enter and unfold the magic. It isn’t about finding a safe corner and do the clickety-click. It’s about seeing everything with a lot of detail and identifying where you can get your ‘star’ shot.
2. Be Random and Effortlessly at That
The covert mission of clicking candids takes the best of you and is indeed a no mean feat. Covert, because you can’t poke your camera at strangers. The trick is – hold the camera in the right direction, but don’t see through the viewfinder. Doing so, you’re capturing what you want discreetly without facing those ugly, nasty glares from the people. There are many amazing cameras in the market with large viewfinders, helping you do your street photography surreptitiously.
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3. Pick Right Lens
Alternatively, you can always get the telephoto lens to snap candids while sitting afar and without the subject’s knowledge. The only likely problem is the quality of the pictures, which can get spoiled owing to the long distance from the subject. So, there is a bit of elbow grease committed to the task. Using telephoto lens can be a tad experimental, even embarrassing when caught, but a real test for your creative reflexes.
4. Ask for the Portraits Straight
Try mingling a little with the people and take candid shots. There’s no better way than this to do your street portraits with the kind of perfection you’re looking for. Be polite, wear a smile, and tell them how beautiful they look to you for a shot. Better yet, if you know the native speakers, try using that. Approach shopkeepers & shoppers, street vendors, children, street performers and other people who can turn up the charm.
5. Keep your Camera Ready
Magic happens when expected the least. Even if you’re rambling across the streets, don’t forget to keep your camera handy, because who knows you might get your ‘shining moment’ at this point itself. Being a street photographer, you can’t afford the luxury of missing the moment. If that box-sized camera is too bulky, your phone can be a saving grace. These days, there are plenty of smartphones with a professional camera mode, allowing you to do a lot more on the move than ever before.
The iPhone is, of course, an excellent choice, but smartphones from Samsung, Google and Huawei have also got impeccable standards. Keep that phone close and an eye for your surroundings. Always.
6. Don’t Ignore the Light
Since street photography is all a play around the sunlight, prefer stepping out in the best golden gleam. Go out just after the sunrise, and an hour before the sunrise, to capture the pictures in a softer light. For a stronger appeal, the time around the middle of the day looks decisive. That said, a lot also depends on the mood of the photography you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re aiming to click nightlife, you’ll step out in the evening hours and will try to get most out of the street lights.
Well, these are the six tips that can help you get around the nuances of street photography. Remember, it’s not about the places and people, but about how much life you see in every moment. And yes, don’t forget to caption them if you’re a social media enthusiast. I hope, you’ve got the hang now.