Street Photographers – 5 Tips to Street Photography

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5 Tips for Street Photographers – Just five to be getting on with but the following blog isn’t the be all and end all. It’s like everything photography… Subjective. It’s a few tips that work for me when and it’s either going to be very useful.. Or.. Don’t bother to read it and CLICK RIGHT HERE to see some more seriously interesting work!
In 2010 I took to the streets of New York for the first time. I saw a homeless person sleeping upright on a bench in Central Park opposite The Plaza Hotel.. To this very day I could not identify if they were male or female. The composition was phenomenal without even looking through the lens. It was sub Zero.. Chillingly cold and 4 weeks before Christmas. A styrofoam cup of coffee was on the floor, their coat resembled a gigantic sleeping bag, but the thing which made the image, was the Abercrombie & Fitch Carrier Bag. The collision of poverty and pure consumer vanity stuck in my throat so much. It was literally two worlds that would never conjoin in society. It was an image that forever changed the way I viewed street photography.
If you’re about to start out in this wonderful genre, then 5 Tips for Street Photographers is all you are going top need to push you in the right direction. There are some basic concepts that every street photographer needs to know.. What camera do I need? , What settings should I use? What should I look at shooting? How do I deal with the public? Hopefully, 5 Tips for Street Photography – The Epic Guide will help!

All images showcased in this blog have been shot by Lee Blanchflower of Blanc Creative. Lee Blanchflower is an established Commercial Photographer and won the SWPP Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2013.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.

What is street photography?

Simply put, street photography is the art of photographing the world around us as it unfolds during everyday life. Candid street photography has opened up a whole new world to photographers and the voyeurs who trawl the pages of social media online. Very little is private anymore as street photography captures society at every conceivable level, from the poorest, to the richest, from the fashionable to the third world and everything in between. Documenting everyday life and society gives photographers an infinite subject matter only dictated by evolution. Every day throws a different perspective to the same places, through the eyes of different people and different photographers. It’s what makes photography the subjective choice of creatives. If you find yourself drawn to shooting photos in public and those filling the space around it.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers.

Tip 1 – Don’t go overboard on kit.

The great saving grace about street photography is that nobody gives a damn about what type of camera you have.  One of the first money saving options is definitely don’t go shelling out on expensive bits of kit if you don’t own it already. You really don’t need a specific camera to shoot with. You can shoot street photography on any camera. We’d all love to go out with a Leica-M-Edition-60 but even as a professional photographer I find it hard to justify £12000 on a single camera. You have to sell a lot photographs to cover this sort of outlay. In-fact, I personally know street photographers who will shoot with smartphones and hipstamatic because they consider it more of a challenge. Generally, smaller cameras tend to be preferable simply because DSLR’s can be bulky and make you look like a professional, thus drawing attention to the photographer. Something like the Olympus Pen with a pancake lens is a great piece of kit, however, I shoot religiously with a 5D MKIII, because it’s a tool I use five days a week.

5 Tips for Street PhotographersIt’s what I’m comfortable with and that makes for a lot pf sense when shooting. Make it easy and use a camera that you’re familiar with or will feel comfortable to have in your hands. One of the most important elements in the rule in street photography is keep your camera with you at all times. The amount of times I’ve been out and thought ‘Shit’ I wish I had my camera right now! The best moments on the street ‘WILL ALWAYS’ happen when you haven’t got your camera. Mark my words! They are very true!

Tip 2  – On the streets

You’ve chosen your camera, your lens and you’re ready to go for it. What’s out there on the streets. Do I shoot people, landmarks, objects? Now what do you look for when you’re out on the streets? Tip2 of5 Tips for Street Photography is: Shoot whatever you think looks Epic. Starting out with street photography, many photographers really just don’t know what they should be taking photographs of! You will develop a feel for your subject really quickly, but when I’m out shooting Street, I focus mainly on people. I personally shoot the poor, the homeless, the people who have hard lives. The expressions on their faces or their surroundings tell the story for you much of the time. For me, emotional connection of the subject to the surroundings helps to tell the story.  One of the biggest problems that new street photographers have to content with is approaching people they wish to photograph.

London Street Photography

Marrakech Street Photography
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers
Street Photography Norwich – Anglia Square

Due to the idea that street photography is a focus on the humanity around us, this can be difficult, particularly when dealing with the street of culturally different countries. Start small. Work in your home areas where you are familiar with the surroundings and what you think or know you can get away with shooting. We’d all love to shoot the money shots, in hostile, dark, moody surroundings, but safety has to be a priority and a good portion of learning to overcome your fear is understanding how people think. If you’re polite with people and maybe explain your reasoning for the shots, you’re more than likely going to get a half decent reception. Just use common sense and don’t go waving a big Dslr with a 500mm zoom lens out in areas where you know crime is high or that is out of your comfort zone. Research where you are going to shoot and know where to avoid.

 

Tip 3 – Get Close

Lots of street photographers talk about the 35mm lens as being the best lens length because it mimics the focal plain of the human eye as close as possible. Let’s be honest, to me, it’s a load of tosh. More and more street imagery today seems to be taken from distance, but 5 Tips for Street Photographers  No: 3 is Get Up Close. It really is a wicked opportunity to shoot your subject. How you do it will depend on your own morals for encroaching on personal space and how comfortable you feel about getting into peoples faces. The ability or need to shoot subjects or areas that may be deemed disturbing, is something that you may develop with time and will solely depend on your own confidence. Don’t photograph subjects if it will upset you, because it will ultimately destroy your love of street photography. I always try and look for the story  One possible method for being discrete is to stand pretty close to someone and look above your subject, pretending to frame and shoot  a picture of something above them.  Lowering your camera, shoot as you come down, taking their their photo. People may think that you had no interest in them as a subject, however, this is not really an option in quiet streets unless you have a silent mode on your camera or if the subject is particularly active (High shutter speed ‘may’ work.) The second option is to wing it. Shoot on the fly with a ‘hit and run’ approach. This works well in areas where your camera is seriously unwelcome, such as non tourist areas of Marrakech where shooting was pretty dangerous and we were constantly harassed, threatened and subjected to abuse and attempts to literally extort money from you on the streets.

5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
Street Photography Norwich - Anglia Square
Street Photography Norwich – Anglia Square

Tip 4- Framing

“Framing”. It is undoubtedly one of the key words for storytelling in street . To convey the message your audience, it’d really no good having distractive content that forms no part of the image you’re trying to get across. “Cropping” really can be one of your best friends for street photography but it’s worth noting that you really should be trying to nail your photos through the lens and not in photoshop. Bin the distractions and your story will unfold so much easier.

Street Photography London

Travel Photography - Street Photography Paris

Street Photography Norwich- The Death of Anglia Square
Street Photography Norwich- The Death of Anglia Square

Tip 5- It’s Not All About People

Our final 5 Tips for Street Photography for beginners is: It’s not all about the people. Street photography has some misconceptions that it’s all about people. ‘s often wrongly associated with being entirely about photographing people on the streets. Street photography is about people, or more specifically about human nature, but people don’t need to be present in the scene. There are an infinite amount of opportunities out there for epic street photos without people. You just have to look for them.

Marrakech Street Photography
Marrakech Street Photography

But let’s not dismiss street photography without people. Urban landscapes are as much about street photography as the people who live in them. Urban landscapes can be impactive for the viewer, can tell their own stories and make for awesome storylines. Take the example above. This was taken in a residential of Marrakech on Festival of the Sacrifices or Eid al-Adha in the aftermath of the sacrificial slaughter of sheep. The image is simplistic, void of people but retains a visually impactive message representing bloodshed and death. The image content is unsettling in its simplicity. Architecture can depict life without having to include people and this aspect of street photography makes the whole process easier for people who are embracing cautiously into the world of urban photography.

Street Photography Norwich
Marrakech Street Photography
Street Photography Norwich
Marrakech Street Photography
5 Tips for Street Photographers.
5 Tips for Street Photographers.

I hope that this very small insight into my own perspective of shooting the public and urban life unfolding. Keeping your camera with you is a must and with practice, increased time out on the streets, you will soon be into a place where you are comfortable and know your limitations. Your imagery should flourish in a very short time. Don’t forget that The more you shoot, the more your confidence will undoubtedly grow.. So just keep shooting, learn by your mistakes and most importantly, Enjoy!

List of street photographers

This is a list of notable street photographers. Street photography is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters

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London Street Photography

London Street Photography


London Street Photography

One of the main lessons I learnt about London Street Photography is that anything has the potential to make a s good subject for a photo.What might seem meaningless at this point in time, could, in years to come, develop into something historical.  It’s one of the cornerstones of taking London Street Photography, so pretty much everything is on limits.. Within reason that is! The pure density of London’s buildings, inhabitants and 24 hour lifestyle, mean that you simply should not come home without exciting imagery. Step out into the night and the cityscape for London changes beyond belief. You can find solitude literally a few steps away from main roads and images take on a whole new perspective.

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

Street Photography London

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography – The Homeless

London Street Photography

There’s a lot of photographers out there shooting London Street Photography who will gravitate away from homeless people as subject matter. They call them “Easy Targets’. Homeless people are on the streets.. Right? Too bloody right they are! o people who are always on the streets anyways? Nearly seven in 10 Londoners say they are appalled by homelessness in the capital, according to a survey. The You Gov poll, commissioned by the newly launched Lead London Home campaign, reported 68% of respondents saying they either tended to agree or strongly agreed that they found the scale of the city’s homelessness problem appalling. Homelessness affects people from many different backgrounds for any number of reasons. The breakdown of a relationship is one of the biggest causes. Some people become homeless because of an addiction that has taken over their lives. Some people are escaping abuse and have nowhere to go. Others come from the armed forces and are finding it difficult to cope with civilian life. From a perspective of London Street Photography, the subject matter, the personal stories and circumstance, the absolute resillience of living a life on the streets in which most average ‘Clapham Omnibus Man’ would literally never survive, is enough for me as a professional photographer, to want to document stories and life on the streets.

WHO IS THE MAN ON THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS

Running the risk of causing a social media backlash, which really isn’t my brief here today, street photography can be as easy or as engaging and difficult as you make it. I totally agree with the opinion that anybody into iphoneography can pull out a phone and shoot crap photography of any subject. It doesn’t matter if it’s a homeless person or a national landmark. It’s about capturing a moment in 1/60th of a second or however fast you choose to hit the shutter button.

“The reason I don’t like shooting street performers and the homeless are because it is rare you will get a compelling or unique image. Not only that, but it is too easy.”

I totally disagree that you can’t take compelling images of homeless people and why not. Raising the issues of homeless as part of a street project is perfectly acceptable and all down to your own moralistic interpretations. Sleeping rough has serious consequences and A homeless rough sleeper is 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person. On average, homeless people die at just 47 years old, compared to 81 years for the average UK citizen. Combined with high percentages of drug and alcohol abuse, the visible scars on many homeless leave plenty of opportunities to obtain fantastic London Street Photography images. The following images were all shot within about half a mile of Kings Cross Station. Some of the images were caught in a few seconds. Others were shot after returning to the same spot and seeing how the situation had developed. London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

London Street Photography

Lee Blanchflower is Director of Photography and owner of Blanc Creative, Norwich. In 2013, Lee won the SWPP Travel Photographer of the Year. He continues to document Street Photography whenever his commercial photography commitments allow.

What is Street Photography?

Travel Photography New York

How to get over your fear of Street Photography.

Street photography is a daunting genre to dive into. Sure, it can be very hands off and journalistic in nature, but it’s also possible to create a much more personal style, where you are much more interactive with your subjects (think Humans of New York).

Street Photography - Morocco

Sweet Photography - New York

To help get over the fear, Kim created a video that explains a few tips and thoughts he utilizes to get over that fear of shooting strangers on the street. It’s 45-minutes long, so it’s a bit of a doozy, but as with all of Eric’s stuff, the presentation is very casual and easy to get through.

Images © Blanc Creative content via Reddit.