17 May 2011

Street Photography Tips

Susan Brannon 
Street Photography!
·      With a 35 or 50mm lens, you will have to get close to your subject in order to make them the primary object in the frame. 
·      Gain trust by talking with the people you want to photograph to get them relaxed.
·      You will tend to get nice photographs when you are part of the scene and reacting to the emotions around you.
·      Try to choose places where the camera is “normal” such as a park, the zoo, a tourist attraction and sporting events.  You will blend in with the crowd.
·      Avoid touristy shots!  Get behind the scenes and real life situations.
·      Expect the unexpected, keep your eyes open and be ready for that shot!
·      Best to go auto focus
·      Adjust your shutter speed according to the light changes as you walk around.
·      Always remember to have your hand on the camera and ready to click away, if you have to spend all your time adjusting the focus, the frame, the shutter speed…your shot and subject will be gone.
·      If you have a digital, show your subjects the images you took of them they will love it and probably let you take more!
·      Blend in with the crowd, don’t wear a mini skirt or high heels, or professional photo gear draped all around you that gains attention. 
·       Keep yourself light for fast movement.

Angles and Framing:
·      Don’t be afraid to go diagonal.
·      Find ways to go high and low.
·      Stand on a wall, or lay down in the park.
·      Experiment with angles before shooting.
·      Exaggerate the moment, make the background blurry and the subject crisp!
·      Look for the composition. A person standing near a sign that points to her, etc…

Your mindset:
·       Don’t worry too much, relax and enjoy the moment, the environment and the people!
·      Observe the moment and the people around you.
·      Don’t feel shy or timid, it will show in your images and the people around you will feel it.
·      Be creative, have a since of humor, view the fun part of life and humanity it will come out in your images.

  • Photograph different ages, genders, situations that are representative of that culture.
  • Don’t just take images of one person, but two or three interacting.
  • Get close and fill in your frame of the persons face, then show them the photo!
  • Pay attention to the background, don’t put a pole coming out of the persons head!

Related lessons:
Aperture and f/16 Rule
Shutter Speed Basics

Depth of Field
Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking 

    Street Photography and Cameras

    Susan Brannon

    Normally, in street photography, the photographer wants a natural look of the environment.  You don’t want to pull out your 24-70 mm lens when trying to create the natural environment because it grabs too much attention!  I like using small, non evasive point and shoots with either a wide- angle or 35mm lens.  For my Crossing Borders Project, I distribute disposable cameras with a 35mm lens and surprising enough they take wonderful images.

    Outside of the project, the ultimate dream camera is the Leica M9, the new digital camera or the older manual . This camera gives the totally manual feel.  It has the components a street photographer would want:  it is non invasive quick, silent in terms of the shutter sound, can control your exposure through aperture and shutter speed and built like a tank!  However, with this rangefinder, the lens window does not reflect how your image will show up.  Inside there are lines showing the borders of how much of the frame your camera will actually capture.  The new digital is a replica of the classic 35mm.  However, the camera is very expensive to buy but do not fret! There are many other options to choose from.

    There are the disposable cameras, automatic, in color or black and white that are small.  However, with these camera’s you need to look at the lens window, and give some room for the “real” lens view.  The windows are normally a bit higher than the lens, so the photos do not turn out like the view that you see.  You will need to compensate for that difference.  Sometimes these cameras work best in the natural light when the subject is in the sun.  The flash distance is not very far and normally unless you are right next to your subject, the flash will not cover the subject when photographing inside or in the shadow.

    Holga’s  can be quite fun for taking images in the streets.  I have the Holga that has a medium format.  It is small, but because it is film and automatic I found that it is best to take images in the sunshine!  However, each Holga is different and the fun of it is that you never quite know what you are going to get.  I have three Holga’s when I go out and about. 

    What camera to use, really depends on the photographer, their mood, and the type of essence they want to capture through the lens.   The camera arena is wide open for a street photographer.  It is quite possible, to set up a SRL with a telefoto lens onto a tri pod and stay in a public place to snap shots.  After awhile the crowd will get used to you and life will continue as normal.

    Related lessons:
    Aperture and f/16 Rule
    Shutter Speed Basics

    Depth of Field
    Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking