Since the dawn of the camera, the art of street photography has served as an important social commentary. But beyond that, it’s also widely (and rightly) considered as an art form in and of itself. Whether you’re enrolled on one of many online photography courses or trying it out on your own here are some essential tips that will help you get the most striking and engaging images that you can regardless of whether you’re using a phone, a pocket camera or a high-tech DSLR. |
Always Carry a Camera
Again, this is easier than it used to be due to the high quality capabilities of smartphones, but for the serious street photographers it means making sure your chosen camera is always with you – either around your neck (preferable) or at least handy in a backpack. Unobtrusive is always best so you can blend in, so this isn’t the time to be dragging out your long lenses and bells and whistles. The number of missed opportunities due to not having a camera at hand are unquantifiable – so don’t be the person who talks about ‘the one that got away.’
Top tip: When you’re shooting spontaneously there’s often no time to consider exposure and shutter speed, so it’s a good idea to set your camera to aperture priority, then you’ll have one less thing to do in the heat of the moment.
Be Patient and Be Still
While you can and will get some wonderful images as you wander around a location exploring in nooks and crannies, a really good tip is to sometimes simply stand still and let the world come to you. If you plant yourself as an observer in one spot and really spend time getting to know and take notice of what’s going on around you, you’ll be more easily able to spot that ‘special’ moment and quietly shoot off a few frames.
A great many of the best street images are taken of secret, unguarded moments, but there’s also great power in those taken when the subject is aware. If you see an interesting character, it can sometimes be of more benefit to go up and introduce yourself rather than skulk around trying to take a sneaky picture. Of course you’ll get a lot of rejection but you may also be surprised at the number of people who are willing and flattered to be asked. It can add an entirely new dimension to your image if you’re able to shoot an unusual character looking right down the lens.
Don’t be a Chimp
The term ‘chimping’ refers to someone (using a digital camera) who looks at every single picture they take, as soon as they’ve taken it. Of course it has its place in portraiture or even landscape photography in order to help make decisions, but it has no place on the street. The time you waste looking at the viewing screen could mean missing that spontaneous one of a kind image that just happened while you weren’t looking. Not only that, the practice also slows you down creatively.
Sign Up for Online Photography Courses with the Masters
No matter how novice or experienced in the field, everyone can learn from studying the work, ethos and techniques of others. Online photography courses with the world’s greatest photographers allow you privileged access into the hearts and minds of some genuine artistic legends. Not only will you learn valuable tips and techniques, the best online photography courses also facilitate connection with other like minded people, so you’ll become part of a community to share ideas and inspiration.
Adam Harper is a Photography Consultant at Masters of Photography, which offers online photography courses with some of the world’s greatest photographers. Suitable for all levels, the courses provide lifetime access to easy to follow classes, allowing participants to learn valuable tips and tricks and take big steps to improve their photography. The online community affords the opportunity to find inspiration from both the Masters and fellow students.
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