Street photography, like street food has its own flavor. Not a genre that can be easily adopted or for that matter perfected by all, this particular kind of photography requires an understanding of the place, culture, human emotions, an eye for picking out the ‘clickable moments’ from a clutter and flutter of activity, lots of patience and energy.
Along with all the above mentioned traits, a street photographer needs to also have a basic understanding of other types of photography – portrait, food, travel, nature, and animals, as the street is home to all this and much more. It also requires that one have the sensitivity and maturity to back off if someone objects to their photographs being taken. This said, it is undoubtedly one of the best forms of photography if you want to showcase a place and its culture in its natural form.
We’ve put together a few important tips and tricks that you must keep in mind to ensure that you get the best shots for your ‘street photography chaat’!
Be Prepared and Dress for a Walk – Goes without saying. Street photography requires you to be on the street for long hours. You need to dress comfortably, keeping in mind the weather of the place to ensure that you are able to put in the long hours without feeling uncomfortable. Along with dressing right, we recommend that you also pack light, if you’re going to be exploring nooks and corners of the city.
Practice Small Talk – Get in the habit of making small talk and eye contact with people as this will help make them feel comfortable in your presence. If they get good vibes from you, it’s unlikely they will refuse or object to your taking their photograph or of something that belongs to them. This is especially important if you’re planning on taking street photographs in another country.
Equipment – Like mentioned above, try to take only the essential equipment with you if you plan to spend a lot of time travelling on foot. If possible, opt for a small camera that’s easier to handle in crowded places and also because it’s not too threatening. No one likes to think that they’re being stalked! Apart from this, you need your usual equipment – a sturdy backpack, view finder, extra batteries to ensure that you get your work done without any hindrance. Just remember, the less threatening your gear, the better chances you have of getting good photographs.
Technique – This is one genre of photography where the
technique really does not matter. Street photography, we believe is more about telling the story, sharing your perspective, then it is about technique. Experiment with the settings, light, and even the time of shoot. Concentrate on getting the shot right, try to take a series of shots and create a narrative that tells a story. Try to build expertise in getting enough photographs of a subject, act, place that you can build it into a photo essay.
Capture the Mood – Try to focus on the mood of the place.
Try to get expressions, the minute details that set the place apart from other places like it. If you’re visiting a new city for a street photography project, try to capture the spirit of the city at all times during the day – get some shots of early morning, afternoon, evening, and night time. Each time of the day shows a different side of the city. This will make your photo-essay more compelling and interesting. Try to capture historical monuments, religious places, local food, people, and markets during your street photography expeditions.
Have Fun – Like we always say, have fun on your shoots. It reflects in your work, making it more interesting and engaging.
Cover Image Courtesy: Raghav Sethi