Some of you who have been around on my blog since the start of the year will know that I started getting into manual photography (figuring out all the settings yourself rather than leaving your camera on auto the whole time) back in January. However, I’ve been interested in shooting photos of things that are happening on the streets for quite a while longer than that. I think this interest in street photography stemmed from travelling – coming into contact with ways of life so different to what I experience back home made me want to capture these moments on camera.
I’m still very much learning about shooting photos on the street, but I do feel like I’ve learnt a few things about street photography since I started getting into it. So today, in collaboration with Panasonic, I thought I’d share those tips with you all. I’ve been aware of Panasonic cameras for almost as long as I’ve been interested in photography – my dad has had several different models over the years and has always had great things to say about them. One he doesn’t have yet though is the recently released Lumix mirrorless camera, which is capable of shooting high quality images and videos in 4K. Sounds like it could be a great companion for shooting on the street!
But no matter what camera you have, there are several things that I think are important to take into account if you are looking to get into street photography. Here are my top six…
Privacy and Respect
The first one, and arguably the most important, is of course to know the boundaries of what you can and can’t shoot. This one is mainly common sense really – don’t shoot into any private spaces (through windows that aren’t public ones, into gardens, etc.) or take photos of anyone who makes it clear they’re not interested. Something I haven’t yet mastered is asking people’s permission to take their photo – some photographers insist this is good practice but many argue that it can ruin the ‘in the moment’ nature of street photography. But if someone seems upset with me pointing the camera their way I will stop. You don’t want your subjects to be uncomfortable!
Most of the time people are either indifferent or thrilled to be captured though.
So now you’ve gotten yourself over that initial hurdle, you’ve got to actually choose your subject. This is normally an easy one – someone who stands out in some way because of what they’re wearing or what they’re doing is a good place to start.
Or even just someone who is standing/sitting in the right place at the right time.
Once you’ve found someone to take a photo of, you’ve got to figure out how to capture them best. The rest of the considerations I mention below are all about working that out…
The distance between you and your subject can make a huge difference to the overall feel of your image when shooting street photography. Do you want to put space between you, to have various focal points in your image?
Or do you want to get up close and personal? The latter can be a lot harder to achieve, and definitely requires greater confidence, but it can look great if you can pull it off!
This is one I really want to improve at. The way lighting is used in photos totally changes the mood, and shooting on the street offers up plenty of opportunity for capturing strong shadows.
I’m not sure I’ve taken many photos with great lighting yet, so instead I’ll share with you a couple of Instagram accounts whose lighting makes me drool. (Not literally.)
This is another one I’m trying to improve at. A desire to capture colour is probably the thing that got me into photography in the first place, and although colour exists all over the place, it can be challenging to capture it in a satisfying way.
I couldn’t write about colour in photography without mentioning my current favourite street photographer…
Last but definitely not least, framing. Particular framing is definitely noticeable in the screenshot of Joshua’s Instagram account above – all the images are quite cropped, taking out a lot of the context of the photo. This is a great technique because it makes the viewer curious to know more of the story. Think of it as holding something back to keep people engaged and wanting more. Don’t reveal everything, tantalise them!
Another great way to frame street photos is by creating more distance, like I mentioned before, in order to create a story bigger than the subject itself. In this way you can create more of a street scene, rather than simply intriguing portraits.
And so that concludes six considerations for street photography – I hope any beginners to this area of taking photos find this genuinely helpful.
I’ve started posting my attempts at street photography on my Instagram account @alysjournals, so if you’d like to follow along with my journey to hopefully improving my shots check that out!
If you’re already into street photography, chances are you have some different ideas about how you go about taking photos, so tell me what tips you have in the comments below…
Anf if you’re looking for tips for getting into manual photography, then you’re in luck as I have written a post all about that right here 🙂
This post is sponsored by Panasonic. All views are my own.
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