I’m sure you have come across many candid photos on the internet that left you puzzled. If you are thinking of joining street photography. I’m going to lay out the roadmap to help you get started as a beginner. In this article, I’m going to define this type photography and describe its core premises. I will also give an insight into why this genre is attractive to many photographers, and how it’s different from other forms of photography.
Furthermore, I would like to share tips for taking street photos which will help you avoid the pitfall trap and enable you to capture candid photos.
What is street photography?
This special genre of photography involves capturing life, culture, and humanity candidly in public places such as parks, streets, concerts, wedding halls, and bus or train stations, hence the name.
However, contrary to what most people think, this type of photography does not have to necessarily show a street. The term ‘street’ originated from the aspect of ‘time’ as opposed to ‘place’. Basically, street photographs capture events that happen in the society. It does not involve manipulation or instructing the subject to take a certain pose.
Most often, the snapshots are captured without the knowledge or participation of the subjects.
Unlike many other types of photography, this genre does not conform to any formal norms or rules. This makes it an interesting and fun-filled art as it reflects flexibility and freedom. Besides, it’s quite rare due to the special skills it requires.
A professional street photographer has a unique talent of identifying perfect images in public places.
This photography art is increasingly getting popular in the modern world. The art is also extremely rewarding when the photographer has what it takes to encapsulate life through the technical device. While it may seem to be an easy affair, as a beginner you are likely to make many mistakes.
The following are top tips for beginners in street photography:
1. Choose an ideal street photography lens
The type of camera lens you decide to use will determine your success in this art. It’s advisable to avoid the telephoto lens as it is more likely to make you conspicuous. It’s best to use a wide angle lens so as you look inconspicuous in a busy crowd.
However, you can choose according to your needs, A telephoto lens like Canon Ef 50mm F 1.8 STM (Click here to see more detail about it) is difficult to capture wide angle but sometimes creates a masterpiece if you shoot at the right moment.
A wide aperture camera allows to create a shallow depth of field, and you will need the fastest shutter speeds since you’re constantly moving and shooting quickly. Choose a compact camera that is less confronting, unlike a large DSLR.
Maybe Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm IS II Lens is the best choice for you. It’s a DSLR camera but lightweight (less than 1,1 pounds), great image quality with APS-C Sensor. And It’s now the best seller on Amazon
2. Use the ideal camera settings
When taking street photos, it’s recommended that you switch your camera settings to AV (aperture priority mode) and select your f-stop (aperture) and ISO manually. The camera will automatically set an ideal shutter speed. In optimal light conditions, set you camera at around f/16 with an ISO between 200-400. A shutter speed higher than 1/200th a second is okay. It’s important to be very careful with your camera’s shutter speed and adjust the aperture and ISO accordingly.If your camera is set at a shutter speed below 1/80th, you are most likely to take blurred photos. To avoid the blurring effect, you need to increase your ISO and choose a wider aperture.
As a beginner in doing street photography, it’s a good idea to set your camera to P mode (program or auto) and let the camera select the correct settings. Equally, you can choose to adjust the EV depending on the exposure you want to a achieve.
3. Street photography is the best shot at night
When you capture street photos at night, you are more likely to take unique photos. While it may not be easy to shoot photos compared to daytime, you will need to be keen with shutter speeds to avoid causing a blurring effect and utilize ISO and aperture to compensate for low light. If you intend to do long exposures, consider taking a tripod stand with you.Alternatively, you can use a fast aperture lens to enable you to shoot low-light scenes and still be able to freeze the action.
4. Street photography requires focusing on details
The bets street photographs focus on the small details and not the whole picture. Therefore, instead of taking a whole shot of the subject on the streets, focus on the specific details. By showing less of what is happening in a photo, you create mystery in an image.
5. Get close to your subjects as possible
As mentioned earlier, using a wide angle camera lens helps you to get close to your subjects. It gives the viewer a sense of being there in the very moment. You also get to blend in with the crowd as part of the environment instead of conspicuously standing in a street with a long lens. Nice street photos are taken only a few meters from the action.
6. Do not leave your street photography camera behind
This kind of photography is spontaneous in nature and without your camera within your reach, you are likely to miss an amazing photo opportunity. Therefore if you really want to perfect your art in this type of photography, ensure you have your camera within reach at all times.
7. Look for street photography juxtaposition
Unlike other genres of photography, this aspect makes this genre of photography unique and fascinating. Juxtaposition serves to convey irony, humor, and uniqueness. Therefore, it’s essential that you look for things that are contradictory to the people to the people standing around. Look for two subjects that seem to be differing in various aspects.
8. Confidence and respect are key in street photography
While you may not be doing anything wrong, if someone does not want their photo to be taken, respect their opinion and move on. Do not argue with them. Much as you may be within your legal rights, it’s essential that you respect other people’s opinions. Besides, desist from taking photographs of people in vulnerable and embarrassing situations.
Street photography is ever evolving with culture changes. There is no other type of photography that is so powerful and exciting like street shooting. So if you are a beginner and you want to scale the heights of this type of photography, don’t let anything hold you back. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you’ll produce strong street photos captured in a simplistic manner. The more time you spend out there, the more your eye will develop and your confidence grows.