Some of the simple things are the most difficult when starting.
I have been asked many times why some people find street photography so difficult. Many photographers never get past the first step. Here is some advice to help you.
Getting out there is difficult if you think it is. Actually the most difficult thing is letting people know you are doing it. Most people just ignore you. My advice to beginners is, “just do it!” If you don’t start you will never do street photography. Once you are out there the next thing is taking shots of people. My best advice here is, “be a conspicuous communicator”. Walk up to people and talk to them. They will let you know if they are not interested. No harm done, say thanks, and just walk away. If they are interested then talk. Next, invite them to be photographed. Offer them copies. In fact, communicate. Most people love communicators. Do it the way you know best. Do it with enthusiasm. Then do some photography. That’s how to get started. Once you have done one or two shots you will wonder what the problem was to start.
Some things to do…
- Find a busy place, stick with it for a while. People will be easier to approach from one spot.
- Look for your shots. Don’t just photograph anything and everyone.
- Make your shots important and meaningful. Have a very good reason to push the button.
- Have your camera pre-set so you don’t spend ages fiddling around with it.
- A good lens is a 50mm prime. You can use a zoom around the same focal length.
- A setting of F8 gives you good depth of field and flexibility for street shots.
- Try getting some candid shots of people (just capture them as they are).
- Ask some people to pose or be themselves – talk to them before shooting.
- Get in close when you can.
- Be a part of the street scene, not a voyeur. People hate to be watched, love to be included.
- Respect the people you photograph.
- If you are asked to delete a shot – comply.
- Remember you are an artist not a spy.
- Search out peoples expressions and natural poses. Show what they feel.
- Be chatty and grateful, apologetic and gentle.
- Practice patience.
Some things not to do…
- Don’t approach people in quiet places or where they may feel threatened.
- Don’t be a predator, be a facilitator.
- Wear simple, non-threatening clothes and appropriate for the weather.
- Remember, make your intentions clear and friendly.
- If you are uncomfortable/threatened don’t stay. Get out of there!
There, that’s it. Take it easy, have fun. Talk to lots of people. Take lots of photographs.