Street Photography Tips – Earning Credibility
The Steps to moving up as a standout street photographer
Stand Out From The Crowd
1- Learn basic photography skills FIRST! – Please don’t pass this step by, because of the ease of technology in cameras these days. This is the most important step you need, and more geared towards photographers that already have basic photography skills down. Street Photography seems like the easiest style, but you will see that it’s actually the hardest to become good at. My street photography tips will help you weed through the unnecessary garbage.
2- Photography Equipment – You don’t need a fancy camera, or a the best lens that everyone else is using. Use what you have, until you find your sweet spot. This part took me about 6 months of practicing different techniques to find what worked. Until then, my photos looked like boring snapshots.
One day I sat down with a homeless man who had the most interesting facial features and character to go along with it. I got the nerve to ask if I could photograph him in a portrait style, right there were he sat. Thats what did it for me. Since then, I have won many international awards for my street photos. I started out was using a 1961 medium format 6×6 Bronica, built like a tank. When the shutter released it was almost as loud as a shotgun going off, lol. I loved that sound.
2a– Don’t Worry About What famous photographers Use – Buying the same gear that works for someone else, is never a good thing if you want to get noticed. *Find Your Own Way* A lot of Street Photographers that have recognition are sponsored by camera companies to use their equipment, and then blog about how great it is. You can get great street photography with just about any camera or focal length lens. It’s so much fun and rewarding to shoot with a lens that no one else uses, and make amazing street images. What I’m saying is, try all different focal lengths to see what works for you, because it all works guys.
3-Famous Photographer Tips – Educating yourself as much as you can goes a long way. You will get some great advice, and some not so great advice from them. Don’t forget that some famous Street Photographers can go places that you can’t. These places can have stellar photo opportunities at every corner. Some will tell you that you should be out photographing each and every day like they do. I guess, if you have the money to go places they can, thats a no brainer. Most of us just don’t have the means to do that. Just doing something photo related each day is a win. Most of us that love photography will be doing that anyway.
4- Auto or Manual lenses – I use both and have a 58 mm Voightlander manual lens and a Tamron 90mm macro autofocus lens. I’m going to be mixing it up again this year, using different focal lengths. Usually what I do is figure out a series I want to photograph and get the focal length I think will portray that best. Every time I try a new lens, its like a new piece of candy I never had before. I can’t wait to get out and see what I can do with it.
5- Color or Black & White – For me its mostly Black and White, but I do shoot color street photos as well. Most will tell you that soft warm light is best for photographing anything. Thats pretty much true, but not always. I love to shot Black and White in the daytime outside. It gives an incredible contrast in many natural light conditions. You just have to know when it’s too much or not enough. Thats all part of the practice, practice, practice. Make Mistakes!!
6- Tripods? – I do use a tripod at times, but not much. One of the tricks I use to get interesting street shots is to have my camera on a tripod manually focussed at a certain distant spot in the street. When an interesting person walks by in the crowd, I make sure we have eye contact, and say hi or something like that. Once they get about 10 foot past me, they turn around and look back at me out of curiosity. I push the shutter and wallah.
I love those shots. Im sure you can think of other ways to use a tripod as well. A lot of the times during my walking around, I see things that just interest me, especially urban the architecture. That is where different focal lengths can really give some interesting looks.
7- Creativity – This is probably the most important step after learning your camera well and getting a few street photography tips. Don’t get caught up in the hype on what everyone is telling you. Be yourself, and try new things. Many of us become robots and forget about the creative side of photography. I will have an in depth article in part 2 on Creativity.
It’s inspiring to see so many young Street Photographers using film these days. My hat goes off to you guys and gals.
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Part Two Coming Soon