Every moment, there is a story unfolding around us and it requires an ability to be aware of one’s surroundings and good observational skills, and of course a decent camera, to witness and capture that story. From comic to romantic, and from scary to downright bizarre, life presents an immense number of moments that make for great photo opportunities. A passionate street photographer would find something interesting in the most mundane surroundings, creating a masterpiece while still not leaving the terrace of his home. Here are some tips and techniques for the budding street photographer in you:
- Walk light: Make sure your equipment is light and not a nagging weight round your neck. Choose your camera and lenses with care and ensure the camera strap is comfortable. After all, you do not want to miss spotting a click-worthy moment because you are distracted by a hurting neck or shoulder.
- Let the moment come to you: It’s good to be a go getter in this world, but if you want to be a great street photographer, learn to slow down, take in the surroundings, observe the people there, anticipate their move, and wait around for that perfectly candid shot that would capture a raw emotion, or a wordless story.
- Be invisible: Its best to go unnoticed while taking a shot in order to maintain its candidness but sometimes, it may not be possible. One way of overcoming this problem is shooting discreetly with your camera hanging till your waist. This, of course, requires some practice. Another tactics for not giving your intentions away is to go around looking through the camera pretending that you are just filming the street or searching for a subject.
- Choosing the right camera: As far as street photography goes, there are no set rules about the type of camera that you should use. It really depends on what you have, or what you can afford to buy as a beginner. So, you could start with a good DSLR, or make do with your mobile phone camera. Just try not to use a camera that’s too flashy or too bulky. Before heading for the street, fine-tune whatever settings are available as per your requirements. You may want to tweak the exposure, focus, flash, etc. depending on the intended subject and the time of the day.
- The lenses dilemma: There are two schools of thought where the choice of right lenses for street photography is concerned. While some photographers prefer to stay unnoticed and use longer focal length to focus on the subject, others prefer close ups and keep the shot candid by catching the subject unawares. Most though prefer wide angled prime lenses as street photography leaves little time for elaborate adjustments.
To sum it up, street photography is all about finding interesting subjects; or ordinary subjects in interesting surroundings and clicking them as discreetly as possible so as not to disturb or destroy the magic of the moment. Having said that, make sure you carry not just your equipment, but your best friendly smile and self-confidence out there!