10 Tips for Successful Street Photography
During your first few days of street photographer, the main obstacle is how to overcome the fear of taking stranger’s photographs. With a little practice however, you can easily overcome your fear and reluctance of photographing strangers and learn some techniques that will set you on your path to taking some unique shots.
Generally, you are required to know a few things like which camera to use, what settings to use, how to approach strangers, what to look for, and how to overcome the fear of shooting on streets. Most importantly, you need to have fun and enjoy the whole adventure. Here are 10 Tips for Successful Street Photography that you can use to overcome the fear and fire some of the best and most rewarding shots of your street photography adventure.
1. Travel light and carry the right lens
Do not carry to much baggage. Choose your best lens and stick to it. Ideally, you should go for a compact, wide-angle, non-conspicuous camera which is somewhat less confronting. Since you will be on the streets for the better part of your shooting day, the lighter, the better. While choosing lenses, you may want to stick to prime lenses such as 35mm or 50mm, these will give you sharper images than the zoom lens.
2. Mind your camera settings before you start
For best street shots, set a mid-range aperture, between f7 and f11. This will allow you to capture more details in the shot than you may otherwise miss if you use a shallow depth of field. An ISO setting of between 200 and 400 is fine for a start. But you can always make adjustments to the ISO and aperture settings basing on the shutter speed reading on your camera.
3. Take your camera everywhere
As a street photographer, your camera should be practically an extension of yourself. Any time you step on the street is a chance to take some stunning shots. Always keep in mind that the best shots are spontaneous and won’t wait for you or fit in your schedule. In other words, master the discipline of carrying your camera at all times
4. Closer is better
Sometimes the best street shots happen on busy, crowded streets. This gives you a chance to take close and intimate photos that give the viewer a sense of being in the moment. To get nice close-up shots, invest in a wide-angle camera that will allow you to shoot from a few feet or centimeters away from the subject.
5. Keep off from the zoom.
Fixed lenses give the best street shots. But if you have to use zoom, then set it to your preferred focal length and leave it alone. A fixed focal length will enable you to master composition and shoot quicker if you are not spending precious time playing with zoom before shooting.
6. If you can, shoot from the hip.
Bringing your camera close to your eye gives you the advantage of focusing and placing yourself in the frame before firing. However, it may not be possible or comfortable to do so all the time, especially if you’re still mastering the confidence bit. Practice to shoot from the hip and with time, you will be able to get same excellent candid shots.
7. Look for the light and shadows
It’s common knowledge that late afternoon and early in the morning light is better and softer, but you can get great street shots any time of the day as long as you pay attention to where the light is shining and shadows are falling.
8. Look beyond image quality
Unlike shooting commercial work or landscapes, image quality is not everything in street photography. The first order of business is to capture the real moment, composition, light and drama in the nick of time. As much as you should strive to take the best quality shots, it’s not possible to do so at all times, so don’t be disappointed when you hit below the quality pass mark at times.
9. Don’t ask for permission before shooting
If you ask for permission first, chances are you will end up with street portraits, which is quite different from street photography. All you need is confidence, and if someone notices that you’ve taken their picture, just smile and say thanks.
10. Enjoy the adventure
It’s not street photography unless you are having fun. So if you don’t enjoy the adventure, chances are you will just shoot ordinary photographs with nothing unique to marvel about. Having passion also cultivates creativity, which is kind of the currency in this trade.
Practice, passion and patience are the key secrets to success with street photography. The more you get out there and practice, the more you become confident and creative. Additionally, minimize post-processing and any kind of manipulation to maintain perceptive, originality and the natural flow.
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