Street photography – part 2

 

It would be fair to say that street photography is experiencing a revival. Carrying a DSLR around a city can lead to unwanted attention and even suspicion about your intentions, but with the introduction of high-end compact and compact system cameras, it’s now possible to shoot in a similar way to the pioneering masters using 35mm film and rangefinders.

 

Overcoming your fear of getting in close to your subject, however, is a big step, so this week we’re going to offer you some top tips to beat the butterflies!

 

Shooting from the hip

 

It’s possible to create evocative street images that translate wonderfully to canvas, but to get to that point you’ll need to blend in with your surroundings. Shooting from the hip means that you hold the camera down at waist level rather than up to your eye. Yes, that sounds crazy, but with practice, your hit rate will be much higher than you’d imagine. Here’s how:

  • Choose a wide angle lens
  • Keep your shutter speed as fast as possible
  • Look at your subject rather than your camera
  • Use a narrow aperture
  • Focus manually

This last point is pretty important. Because you’re not looking through your lens, you need to know that what you’re shooting is in focus, so set your aperture at around f/8, manually focus at a point say 5 feet in front of you, and practice shooting when your subject is in that zone. It's possible to get really good at this.

 

Be friendly and open

 

Shooting from the hip is great for confidence and some interesting compositions, but don’t do it exclusively. Eye level photos engage the viewer differently by making them feel part of the scene, so it’s important to shoot this way too. The problem you'll find is that people will notice you more, which can be slightly scary at first, but most of us respond to a smile – so if someone sees you taking a picture of them, look them in the eye and show them that you’re friendly. You could even engage them directly and show them the shot you took.

 

On rare occasions you will be asked to delete the image, and although you have every right to refuse, it’s good manners to comply with those wishes.