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Posts Tagged ‘Street’

5 Amazing Free e-books To Inspire Every Street Photographer

19 Oct

The concept of street photography is something that by definition, has no objective definition. My only rule is that it must be candid. There are no rules about gear or lighting. Famous US photographer Chase Jarvis says “the best camera is the one you have with you” which suggests anyone with a smartphone has the potential to do street photography. Continue Reading

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7 Tips for Capturing the Decisive Moment in Street Photography

09 Oct

There is probably no other term as often cited as “The Decisive Moment” in Street Photography. Yet there is no real agreement what a decisive moment defines.

The street is normally a very chaotic place. People are walking in every direction and there isn’t much “sense” when putting everything together. The decisive moment is different. Suddenly every single detail that is captured in the photograph has a meaning. Subjects that are normally not connected are in a relation to each other, they don’t know it, but the picture clearly shows it.

Dog Days What is the Decisive Moment

Creating such images is not an easy task in a candid genre. While some state luck as the most important factor, I believe that you can work towards the Decisive Moment and capture it more regularly. Here are seven tips to help you.

#1 – Become Quicker

The street is not a place where you can slack off and take all the time you want to take a shot. There is no second chance to catch candid moments. A decisive moment can last for a few seconds and be gone forever. If you don’t catch it in time, you lose it for eternity.

Photographing is a 2-step process. First, You have to be familiar with your gear. After spotting a beautiful scene, there is no time for adjusting the camera or learning how your equipment actually works. Take your time to experiment with different settings beforehand so you know what works and what doesn’t. Use the technique of zone-focusing and you will be a lot faster capturing interesting subjects too.

Decisive moment street photography 01

The second step is spotting potential scenes in time and developing an instinct even before something interesting happens.

#2 – Get in The Zone

To spot interesting scenes instinctively, you need the right mindset for street photography. Just going out with your thoughts somewhere else, won’t land you the money shot very often. Concentration is needed to absorb the chaotic environment and scan it for potential decisive moments.

There are a lot of distractions in the modern world. Smartphones and your camera are two of the main distractions that can keep your mind away from the street. Before going out on the street, make sure to not have anything important scheduled for the time being and for the best results, turn off your smartphone.

Decisive moment street photography 02

Also, don’t get too distracted by your camera. It is just a tool that helps you to display your vision. You don’t need to have a look at every image that you have taken at the very moment. If possible, try out an analog camera and see how pure minimalism can help you to get in the zone.

#3 – Overcome your Fear

Spotting a scene is only the first step to capture the decisive moment. Afterwards, you have to translate your vision into the form of a photograph. When you still have fear to get close or take an image, it will limit your creative freedom.

There is no need to be afraid of the street and strangers. After years of experience, I can assure you that with a minimum of common sense nothing truly bad will happen to you. In reality, the worst that can happen is that someone asks you to delete the picture, but that’s pretty much it.

Decisive moment street photography 03

The fear on the street is mostly irrational and your mind is playing tricks on you. Part of it is socialization and I will admit, that every social being feels this way, when starting in street photography. Not invading the “private space” of others has been beneficial for forming social groups, historically speaking. But it doesn’t make much sense in our modern world and is only a hindrance for street photography.

To overcome your fear, you could try to get rejected purposely by asking for posed portraits pictures. It will show you that most people are actually very relaxed and even if you do get rejected, it isn’t the end of the world.

#4 – Perfect the Composition

There are a lot of situations happening on the street that you aren’t able to display to their full potential. This is heavily dependent on the way you frame the image and display it.

Decisive moment street photography 04

Lots of images are destroyed because the composition is simply off. I know that street photography is often seen as a genre of freedom. But when it comes to aesthetics, there are natural formulas that are more pleasant than others.

The rule of thirds is not a myth, but a fact. To embrace this in your photography will make your images visually more profound than ignoring your natural instincts.

Additionally to the rule of thirds, I would also focus on leading lines, not pointing away from the main subject. For an even more interesting picture try to fill every layer from the foreground to the background with interesting details.

#5 – Be Inspired

Decisive moment street photography 05

The right mood can also influence you in finding a potential scene that can lead to an outstanding image. Inspiration can stem not only from other photographers that you admire but from any creative source.

Listen to music, watch your favorite movie or read a good book. Anything that helps you to open your mind for creating something outstanding, is suitable to bring you closer to the decisive moment.

#6 – Dedication

Decisive moment street photography 06

Street Photography is not a discipline where you can expect quick results after following a simple guide. It takes years or even decades of dedication to street photography to be able to create the decisive moment, seemingly out of nowhere.

Developing a photographer’s eye takes a lot of training. Therefore, I would recommend forming a group of other photographers who have the same goals in mind. Walking the street with multiple photographers can also open your eyes to their vision. They are able to point out scenes that wouldn’t even cross your mind on your own.

#7 – Stay Curious

Decisive moment street photography 07

Whatever you do, don’t lose interest in your environment and mankind in general. Curiosity can lead you to interesting scenes that otherwise would seem as if they had no potential. Embrace the tourist in your town.

Do you remember the last time you were on vacation and took some holiday pictures? Suddenly even the most mundane places can become interesting when you are in a foreign location. The little ice parlor might be totally boring to the residents, but for you, it was worth a picture.

Follow the same instincts in your own neighborhood. Rather take an image too much, than missing out on the decisive moment. But most importantly, keep the fun. Don’t force yourself too much.

Conclusion

The process of doing street photography should always be fulfilling even when the results might not satisfy you. Get out on the street, be mindful, have fun, and over time the results will follow.

The post 7 Tips for Capturing the Decisive Moment in Street Photography by Sebastian Jacobitz appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

01 Oct

Many people want to improve their street photography or get involved with this genre for the first time. But the major aspect that holds them back is the issue of taking close candid pictures of people without their permission. While I promise that it gets much easier over time, it can very difficult to get over the hump early on.

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

However, there are some steps you can take that will help ease you into the world of street photography if you do it right. Here are a few important tips that I believe will make shooting candid street photography much easier for you.

1. What to do if you get caught

Before we talk about how to get closer to your subjects, the first step is knowing what to do if something happens. The toughest aspect of getting into street photography is the fact that you will feel very uncomfortable with the idea of someone catching you and asking what you are doing, at first. However, while those situations are usually rare, if you handle them the right way, they don’t have to be all that bad.

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

To help ease your fears, it is important to know what to say if anyone should stop you and ask you if you took their photo. Smile, own up to it and say that you are a photographer or photography student doing a photo project on the area and the people in it. Tell them you thought they looked great and wanted to add them to it. Just be honest and open about it. If they then seem uncomfortable, offer to delete the photograph. It can even help to carry a business card with your photography information and to offer to email them the photograph after. The more direct and pleasant you are, the more disarming it will be.

To further keep yourself out of trouble, pick and choose the people you photograph carefully. It can help to stay away from photographing anyone who looks like they are in a bad mood, anyone with some sort of mental disability, or anyone who is homeless.

2. Light camera and prime lens

Street photography can certainly be done well with an SLR and a zoom lens. I shot for a long time with that setup. However, using a smaller camera such as a mirrorless, micro 4/3rds, or a Leica will make you much less noticeable. In addition, it will be lighter, which will make you faster and can only help with street photography. The difference is night and day.

By using a prime lens you will get used to the fixed focal length which will make you much more spontaneous. You will be able to intuitively know what your camera can capture before you even bring it up to your eye. That, and your camera will be smaller since zoom lenses are usually very large. With a light camera and lens, you will eventually notice yourself capturing images so quickly that your subject barely even notices you. This is the type of thing that is much tougher to do with an SLR and big zoom lens.

3. Picking a spot / getting in the middle

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

The next tip, which is often the most important, is to go where the action is and get right in the middle. It will be important for you to eventually photograph in all types of situations, from less busy to very crowded, but particularly when you are learning, go where a lot of action is happening. Go to fairs, get out at busy times, shoot from busy corners. The more that is happening, the more invisible you will be, and the less you will be noticed by other people. This will help a lot with your comfort level.

By picking a spot and letting your subjects come to you, you change up the dynamic of the situation. Instead of you entering their personal space, they will be entering yours. You will seem less creepy and intrusive because you will already be there with a camera. It will look like you belong.

In addition, when a moment occurs, you will already be the right position. You will be able to spend more of your energy watching your surroundings for a good moment to occur. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t photograph while you are walking and exploring, just that you should carve out some time to linger in a specific spot.

4. Acting

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

There are some photographers who will run up to people and get right in their face. If that’s your thing, more power to you, but many photographers prefer to be less conspicuous about it. We want to capture an interesting moment, we love to people watch, but we want to try to make the situation as comfortable as possible for both parties, and we want to be inconspicuous enough to not ruin the moment.

This is where a little acting can come into play. The most important thing is to act like you don’t notice the person you want to photograph that much. Look at things behind them, and to the side. They just happen to be in your way. Play the role of tourist, looking around. The more you do this, the more you will be able to get away with taking the photo unnoticed.

5. The camera snap and the way you move your camera

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Similar to the last point, the way you move your camera can play a big part in keeping the situation candid. There is one thing that most photographers do, called the camera snap, where they take the camera away from their eye instinctively right after they take an image. Of course, there will be shots that you take so quickly that people won’t notice. But for other moments when the people notice you, this will often give away the fact that you were taking their photograph. Instead, take the picture and keep the camera up to your eye. Then move the camera away like you were taking a picture next to them and slowly remove the camera from your eye.

Similarly, you do not always have to point your camera directly at people right away to capture the image. Instead, point the camera above or to the side of your subject as if you were taking an image of something behind them. Then at the last second, move the camera over them, take the image, and move on.

6. Hold the camera up high

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Whenever possible, try to keep your camera in your hands and at attention when you are photographing. If you allow it to hang off your neck, then when an amazing moment occurs you will have to locate and grab the camera before putting it to your eye. This is the least conspicuous way to capture an image.

Instead, try to keep the camera up high as much as you can. Then, when you take an image you will stand out less. It will feel much less conspicuous.

7. Zone focusing

7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography

Zone focusing is the technique of turning your camera to manual focus mode, pre-focusing it to a distance of about 8-10 feet, and then capturing your subject once they are in the range of sharpness for your camera. This is easier to do with a wide-angle lens with a medium to small aperture such as f/8 to f/16 so that there is more area of your image in focus. Keep in mind that this is a skill that can be improved – there are many photographers who can zone focus well even at f/2.

You can read more about zone focusing here, and while it is a little difficult to learn at first, you will quickly get much better at it. The main benefit of this type of focusing is so that you no longer have to lock the autofocus in on your subject. This allows you to be a little more spontaneous with your shooting, and it will give you an added split second to take the photograph. That, in turn, will allow you to better capture those very fast moving moments.

Most importantly, it will allow you to be a little more candid than you can be using autofocus. Since you won’t have to point the camera directly at your subject to lock in the focus nor will you have to look through the viewfinder to make sure you are focusing correctly, you can be much more inconspicuous. This will allow you to shoot from the hip and still know that your shots will be sharp.

Conclusion

I hope these tips help you do better candid street photography, and with more confidence.

So get out there, get close, and capture some amazing and spontaneous photographs!

The post 7 Steps to Improve Your Closeup Candid Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Graphicy Street Scene

26 Sep

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How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

19 Sep

Street photography is normally a very open and free-form photography genre, but sometimes because we are traveling it’s better to plan a shoot rather than relying on luck.

Fortune, they say, favors the prepared, and when all you have is a few hours in a new land, better get ready to make the most of what you’ve got. Makes sense, no? Here’s how I prepare a street photography shoot when I know time will be limited.

What to do a few days before

A few days before your shoot you will need a few apps and tools.

The first is an offline map, Google Maps allows you to save chunks of the map but some areas are off limits (I tried to save a map of Osaka and wasn’t allowed). You need to find apps that have offline maps from the get-go and download the map of the area where you are going. It sounds stupid and you might be tempted to skip this part, but when I went to Hong Kong, I wasted an hour and a half trying to get out of the subway area into the main roads.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

The second app you need is called the Photographers Ephemeris (iOS / Android). It’s designed for landscape shooters but it’s also useful for street photographers because it allows you to know where and when the sun will rise and set. It tells you what to expect in terms of light. It is a paid app, but alternatively, you can get that information for free online.

This is very useful information that you can use to predict what camera/lens you may require also. No need to get your high ISO camera if you plan to leave before the sun sets, for example.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Planning your shoot

Here’s the deal, if you had all the time in the world, you would stroll and go wherever you feel images are calling you. But you don’t, probably one or two days is all you have while traveling. So you need an idea of where to go while leaving things open to opportunity and chance as well.

1- Check the weather

Don’t miss this step! It may sound stupid but this not only allows you to plan ahead and might tell you to bring extra protective gear. I usually check the day before because the weather is very unreliable and the forecast can change quickly.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

2- What are your numbers?

You need to know when you are arriving and leaving. For example, imagine you are arriving at 8 pm and leaving at 4 pm the next day. What I recommend first of all is to set an alarm that tells you when to start and stop shooting, it usually takes an hour to get situated so I would set an alarm for 9 pm and 3 pm the following day. You need to figure out the amount of time it takes to get from the airport to where you are staying and to return again. I personally have an alarm for when to eat too.

While this might sound tedious, it gives you the freedom to shoot because it will tell you exactly when to start and when to stop, and you do not have to worry about it. When traveling you have no familiar bearings so the alarms get you grounded.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Consider your arrival time

The other reason for knowing your numbers is knowing what you can expect. Remember the information you got from Photographer’s ephemeris or online. When are the sunrise, midday, and sunset?

Let’s say sunset is at  7 pm and sunrise at 7 am. If you are arriving at 8 pm you would know that you will arrive at night. So if you want to shoot the morning light, you need to wake up before 7 am and you know that you will miss the sunset. This kind of information will tell you what kind of light you can anticipate. But you also need to know where you are going.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Where to go

When going somewhere new, I try to find the population centers and busy streets. So I google “[city name here] busy street” look at the results, and try to find the names of the busiest streets. It’s not magical, it’s probably overshot but where there are more people, usually there are interesting shots. Here are my results using Hong Kong as an example.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Note: This is where you want to google according to your project and style. If you have a project with businessmen, you want to find out where the central business district is for example.

When looking for populated areas, there is usually a long stretch of road that is popular that provides great opportunities. For example:

  • Market Street in Philadelphia
  • Times Square in New York
  • Dotonbori in Osaka
  • Ocean Drive in Miami
  • Gangnam in Seoul
  • Nathan road in Hong Kong

Then I map out how to go there from the airport. When you know your times and where to go, you have a clearer idea of what you can expect. All of your energy is saved for shooting and not figuring things out when you arrive. Like I said above, after sweating like a pig trying to get out of the subway area in Kowloon, Hong Kong, it zapped my energy levels greatly. I doubled down on coffee.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Use your gathered information wisely

It takes some experience but after a while, you start to know what to expect with all the information gathered. In the morning, you know what direction to be in to shoot the sun or have it at your back. You know when stores will start opening and people go to work. Knowing where you are going will help with your expectations. For example, if there are a lot of high-rises that will create shadow areas.

Knowing what time night falls will tell you when street vendors will start to close, the light from stores will create a new light source, or when to pull out a flash if that’s your thing.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Protection

You have to be careful. What you believe is a camera is someone else’s next meal for a month. Population centers and busy streets are opportunities for street photographers but also for street thieves. It depends on where you are going, some places are safer than others. I like the anti-theft Pacsafe brand, but you can make yourself less pick-pocket friendly if you turn your backpack and hold it against your belly.

Also, don’t flaunt your camera if you know you are going somewhere there are lots of pick-pockets. You have to be careful not to damage the camera, but some tape is perfect to uglify the camera. And as much as you can, avoid backpacks and bags that scream “camera bag”. It immediately flags you as having a camera.

How to Plan a Street Photography Shoot When Traveling

Conclusion

There you have my system for how to prepare for a travel street photography shoot. I would be the first to say that it’s better to go somewhere and leave things open, but sometimes that’s just not a good use of your time when you only have a few hours or days to shoot somewhere. It’s better to prepare and then leave things open. Be yourself, stay focused and keep on shooting.

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Greek Gods Graffiti: Classically Styled Street Art by Spanish Duo PichiAvo

14 Sep

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Greek gods and other figures from antiquity tower over a very different world from the one in which they were born, entwined with contemporary graffiti on building facades and other urban surfaces across the globe. The style of PichiAvo, a Spanish street art duo composed of individuals nicknamed Pichi and Avo, is undeniably distinctive, taking imagery usually associated with static, immobile stone statues and enlivening it with a sense of movement and lots of vivid color.

Sometimes, these figures are playfully interacting with the imagery around them; at other times, they’re translucent against their colorful backdrops, almost like ghosts temporarily visiting our realm and checking out what we’ve done with the place. The duo began working together in 2007, painting their creations all over the streets of Spain. Since then, their work has only become more complex.

They were particularly prolific in 2016, splashing a cherub across a five-story apartment building in Denmark and completing a mural of Prometheus in Murcia, Spain for the Festival Arte Urban Mar Minor. They also painted a pair of Greek figures on the side of an abandoned factory building in Valencia, Spain. For the latter, they tried some new techniques, including using spray paint for the background and mixing it with acrylic paint to create the statues.

The duo recently did an interview with Global Street Art, explaining how their styles work together and why they choose these particular visuals.

“We started our style thinking we should bring everything we know about art together and adding graffiti to help bring classical art back to life. The best way we could think of to do this was by working with classical sculpture, sculptures that today are white but people don’t realise they used to be covered in paint, so our painting the figures with the graffiti is our small tribute to the classical sculptures that have marked many historical recognised artists.”

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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8-Bitten: Space Invaders Street Art Tells Tile Tales

21 Aug

[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Urban street artist Invader has installed tile mosaics modeled after Space Invaders 8-bit video game characters in over 30 countries over the past 20 years.

Although he prefers to remain incognito like Banksy and many other street artists, Invader has a known personal history aside from his art. Born in France in 1969, he graduated from the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris though one wonders what his instructors think of his trademark works.

Classical training aside, Invader’s main artistic focus relates to the 8-bit graphic style of visual displays common to the first wave of electronic video games from the late 1970s. His choice of “Invader” as an artistic nom de plume reflects the influence of Space Invaders, one of the first shooter-style video games, released in 1978. The images above, captured by Flickr member Philosofia in Rome in June of 2011, are typical of the artist’s style and preferred placement in public urban settings easily visible but less than accessible.

We’ll Always Have Paris

Invader is not your typical tag & go, fly-by-night graffiti artist though many of his works ARE installed in the dead of night so as to avoid traffic and police. Instead, Invader typically plots his so-called “Invasions” of a chosen city far in advance, scouting out locations for his mosaics and semi-completing the works before he goes out to install them.

The artist’s earliest mosaics began appearing in Paris about 25 years ago. The examples above come courtesy of Flickr members Wally Gobetz (wallyg), Nelson Minar, and Ferdinand Feys.

High Plain Invaders

As time went by and word of Invader’s distinctive works spread, a black market for his pieces sprang up. Naturally, the artist disapproved of this – his works were and are designed to be not-for-profit installations.

In response to a rash of thefts and subsequent resales, Invader has made efforts to make his work more complex (and therefore more difficult to remove) and he’s also been placing them in higher, less accessible locations. The above images were snapped by Flickr members Allison Meier (allisonmeier), KnitSpirit, and victorillen in 2009, 2011 and 2009, respectively.

Miles Of Tiles

In June of 2011, Invader celebrated the installation of his 1,000th work in Paris alone. Over his “career” to that point, he had created 2,692 space invader style mosaics in 77 cities using approximately 1.5 million ceramic tiles. The mosaic above dates from February of 2013 and was snapped by Flickr member sinkdd in Tokyo, Japan’s famously trendy Harajuku shopping district.

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8 Bitten Space Invaders Street Art Tells Tile Tales

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You can now explore the International Space Station in Google Street View

20 Jul
Cupola Observation Module, Image: Google

Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA) spent 6 months on board of the International Space Station (ISS). During his time in space he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images of the space station’s interiors and unique images of the Earth seen from space.

As a result you can now explore the ISS and have a look at the blue planet from space using Google Street View.

US Laboratory Module, Image: Google

In his post on the Google Blog Thomas provides a little insight into the the picture capturing process in space: “Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn’t possible to collect Street View using Google’s usual methods. Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS.”

More information and images are available in Thomas Pesquet’s article “Welcome to Outer Space View” on the Google Blog.

Joint Airlock (Quest), Image: Google

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Google taught an AI to create pro-level photos from Street View imagery

18 Jul

Google is in possession of vast amounts of Earth imagery via its Street View product, and now it is testing machine learning as a way to harvest ‘professional-level photographs’ from that imagery. As detailed in a newly-published study, Google researchers created an experimental deep-learning system that trawls Street View landscapes in search of high-quality compositions.

Machine learning, while capable at tasks that involve ‘well defined goals,’ struggles in the face of subjective concepts such as determining whether a photograph has high aesthetic value. Google developed this latest deep-learning system as a way to explore how artificial intelligence can learn subjective concepts such as photography—training the system using professional photographs taken by humans.

Compositions identified by the AI from the Street View imagery were then automatically improved using an editing tool called ‘dramatic mask’ that enhances an image’s lighting.

Here are a few examples from the Google Research Blog:

“Using our system, we mimic the workflow of a landscape photographer,” the researchers explain. “From framing for the best composition to carrying out various post-processing operations.”

To test the quality of its AI-generated photos, Google asked professional photographers to blindly rate a collection of photos from various sources, including its Street View photos. The team’s conclusion from those ratings is that, “a portion of our robot’s creation can be confused with professional work.”

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How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

26 Jun

Street photographs on the surface may seem like they are independent of one another and can only go so far at telling a story, unlike say photojournalism. In some cases, this can be true, but there actually is a lot of crossover between documentary and street photography. Your street photographs can certainly tell a story.

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

If you look at the individual books or even the entire bodies of work of photographers like Martin Parr, Trent Parke, Garry Winogrand, or Josef Koudelka, you can see that these photographers had a point of view. They were able to tell real stories with their photography.

How do you tell stories with street photography?

But how do you do this? If you are just starting out with street photography, you’re most likely focused on taking good shots and not on overarching themes. You never have to start trying to show comprehensive themes in your work, many great photographers don’t. But if you want to, plan on developing this over time.

The reality is that there is nothing more important than consistent time spent shooting. But while you are developing, here are some tips to help you get there.

*The photos used in this article are all part of a series called Luxury for Lease, which is about the disconnection, hyper-gentrification, conformity, and consumerism that has noticeably increased in New York since 9/11.

1. Create collections in Lightroom and group your images based on ideas and themes

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

When you’re out shooting you want a clear head. Be open to whatever happens, so you give yourself the best chance to get lucky. Sometimes, if you’re too focused on one thing, you will miss everything else around you.

But during the editing phase is when you can really start to figure out what you are shooting. This is where you can develop your voice. Look through your photos, choose your favorites, and start to put them together. Pick out your images that seem to have some similarities in content, tone, or look.

They don’t have to perfectly relate, just in some way. Brainstorm, try a lot of things, and just have fun with it.

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

I use Collections in Lightroom to do this. Collections allow you to put images into a folder without moving them physically on your hard drive. It is a great way to build portfolios of your work and to build and change around stories and ideas.

Over time, these stories will develop. Sometimes they will turn into nothing and you will scrap them, but other times they will morph. Sometimes the seed will develop into a fully formed idea over years of shooting, and the end result will be something that you couldn’t have imagined at the beginning.

That’s the fun part, and it will help you to think critically while you are out shooting. It will add a new layer to your abilities as you are photographing since you will begin to notice things that will fit into your projects.

2. Study the work of other photographers

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

I can’t state the importance of this enough. It is hard to truly fathom the power of this type of photography unless you look at the work of photographers who have lived it for decades. Sometimes seeing what others have been able to do, particularly when looking at how diverse the ideas and styles are, will help you to form your own ideas. You may pick a characteristic from one photographer and a different attribute from another photographer and blend them both into your style.

Some photographers that I recommend you look up for street photography are; Robert Frank, Martin Parr, Trent Parke, Garry Winogrand, Josef Koudelka, William Eggleston, Todd Hido, and Daido Moriyama. Although, there are so many others that I could have mentioned here.

3. Go to the same areas consistently to shoot

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

I like to think about style as consistency in what you shoot versus just how those photographs look. Yes, there is a large element of how your photos look that go into your style, but it’s more than that. It’s about the feeling behind the images.

By repeatedly shooting in the same areas, you will allow this consistency to rise to the surface. You will begin to understand the place better and give yourself more time to come across the right images. Most likely you will know the area well since you can only really photograph consistently in places that are close to where you live – so you will have a nuanced understanding of the place already.

Try to show a feeling for what the area is like under the surface. Capture the feeling of being there. Is it happy or sad, are there fun aspects or stressful characteristics? What makes the area interesting (or not interesting)? There is so much you can do with this.

4. Capture emotions and gestures

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

This is street photography 101, but you can portray so many ideas and feelings based on the expressions on people’s faces or the gestures in their bodies. When putting together a cohesive body of work, this will be a way to add some powerful emotion to push a story forward. Try to understand what people are feeling and attempt to capture them as they show those feelings.

5. Look for images with something going on beneath the surface

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

This is a tip that is hard to explain exactly how to do. Look for images where there is something going on beneath the surface. What that is you don’t exactly have to answer – it could be left for the viewer to decide.

These images will begin to show themselves more often as you start following the other tips in this article. In addition, the more you photograph in the same place and start to understand the place, the more these images will begin to pop out.

6. Think about yourself

How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography

There are some photographers who show something about themselves in their images. This feeling makes their work that much more powerful. Happy photographers often take happy images, depressed photographers often take depressed images. Some photographers who seem happy on the surface, use their photography to express emotions that they are holding inside. Think about what emotions you are feeling and use them. The more you know yourself, the more you can let that shine through.

Josef Koudelka is one example – he grew up behind a wall so to speak during the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968. He eventually got out, became a stateless person, wandering and traveling, and he spent much of his life photographing travelers. He has also been working on an ongoing project on the Israeli-Palestinian Walls and on the bleak landscapes that have been influenced by contemporary man. He grew up behind a wall and he was drawn to photographing walls. You can see in his images, even in random places and at random times, that the subjects he was drawn to were the ones that showed his inner feelings.

Putting it all together

This may all seem difficult to do, particularly if photography is your hobby. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard. But if you photograph frequently enough and think about all of this, you can really see your work transform in just a few years. The more you are in tune with it, the faster it should come, and it is very enjoyable to see.

So go out and keep shooting!


If you’d like to learn more about Street Photography, then please check out my ebook The Essentials of Street Photography.

The post How to Tell a Story With Your Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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