Street photography can be understandably a little intimidating for beginners. You don’t want to be the photographer that goes up to people and sticks a lens in their faces, but equally, you don’t want to always be using a massively long lens on the other side of the street, FBI style.
In this video, photographer Gary Gough gives some excellent tips to help you begin exploring street photography. For me, it’s a genre I’ve typically shied away from as it embodies a couple of elements that I really find difficult. Namely, patience, having less control over the outcome, and photographing strangers. But it’s time to be brave! Here are Gary’s tips.
- Gear is irrelevant. It’s all about storytelling, and more expensive equipment doesn’t equal better images in this genre.
- Study Photographers. Study the greats, but don’t get too bogged down or intimidated by them. We only ever tend to see the pinnacle of their work, not the many years it took them to get to that point in their career. Consistent practice is everything. Check out modern-day photographers as well. It’s easy to get nostalgic for eras when the streets are not littered with parked cars and it can be difficult sometimes to really see the life in front of us in our own time.
- Choose your locations wisely. Some are better than others, and it’s not just about having a great background or lovely light. Places that are used to tourists will have people that aren’t camera shy generally. Likewise, during festivals and parades, people tend not to mind having their photos taken as much as if going about their day to day activities.
- Keep your camera settings simple. Choose shutter speed priority at 1/125 and you’re pretty much good to go for most instances. Obviously, if you want to freeze or blur motion for creative effect then you will want to vary the shutter speed accordingly.
- Expect to fail. Lower your expectations. Good for all areas of life I find!
- Tell stories. Story is king here, you want to evoke a sense of narrative within your images.
- You cannot get it wrong. Just keep taking photographs!
He finishes by making a comment about not getting bogged down by what defines street photography. We often get caught up in what is or isn’t a particular genre, often to our detriment. The fact remains, that you only get better at something by doing it. So go outside, find a street, and start taking photographs!
What would your tips be?