Street Photography #3 Work A Scene…

This has to be one of the most important, yet often overlooked areas of Street Photography. You may be nervous when shooting a scene or a person, I know that I am. It is perhaps these nerves that give us a small dose of adrenalin, the ‘hit’ of getting a good shot. Unfortunately this adrenalin rush can push us into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. I do not want to get into a fight when out taking photos, but our urge for flight can be strong. Now is the time to take a breath, assess the scene and work out the angles.

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I hung around and got a dozen photos of this guy.

When someone is first confronted with a photographer their body language can be defensive, this is natural, when I take someone’s photo I am taking their space and their time. A defensive position can create a ‘stiff’ and awkward looking shot. If you hang around, then often the person being observed will:

  • start forgetting you are there. This is perfect and you will get some natural looking photos.
  • carry on, pleased that someone has noticed them. This can be great, although it can end in more of a ‘show’ for the camera.
  • just carry on, too busy to get involved. Again this is ideal, but often people will start to get annoyed if you take too long, so know when to move on.

I find the last point is the most common occurrence and am getting a sixth sense regarding when to move on. Slowing down allows for time to think. Try to run through these mental checklist…

  • grounding, this refers to what is in the background. Try and keep it clean and not too distracting. Check you depth of field (DOF).
  • check your camera settings, don’t ‘chimp’ after every shot, but check your pictures and if the lighting is tricky look at your histogram.
  • look for patterns, such as repeated colours, phrases or groups of similar people.
  • make sure you are looking at the edges of your frame, are there leading lines that can be used, or do you need to adjust your shot so there are no awkward objects in the corners? Are there lightbulbs stealing the show that could be eliminated with a simple bit of re-framing?

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Find a good background and just wait…

Finally, if someone knows you have been taking shots of them, go and show them the pictures, pass on your email and start a conversation. Lets bring the world a little closer through our photography.

If you have read this far, why not hit ‘follow’, or make a comment and join in the conversation?

Keep clicking, Chris

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