I believe we all hate it when we get stuck in a creative rut. But hey, it happens, and there are ways to overcome it. One of the ways to get out of it is to try a different genre, and that’s exactly what Manny Ortiz did. The portrait photographer hit the streets and tried something new – street photography. It didn’t go quite as he expected, but he learned a lesson that will be valuable to all of you who are currently experiencing the creative block.
Street Photography is hard to do well. Really hard. Even if you are great, most of your shots will not be.
The internet is filled with boring street photography. The biggest problem is people thinking any photo taken on the street is now Street Photography. There is so much more to Street Photography than that so how do you capture more in your Street Photography?
One way to strive for great Street Photography is by avoiding some of the habits of boring Street Photography.
Here are 7 of the Most Common Habits of Boring Street Photography:
The world’s largest fetish event, the Folsom Street Fair, is controversial in and of itself. But still, it has managed to spark controversy among the photography community. In 2014, the Ask First Campaign originated at the event, telling photographers to “ask first” before taking photos. Since the fair is held in a public space, many photographers believe that they have the right to take photos without asking for permission. And the question is – is this really true? Should you just shoot what you please, or should you ask first?
No matter how many times this subject comes up, it’s always extremely uncomfortable for a great many photographers to approach people in the street. Whether it’s the feeling of being perceived as weird or simply being rejected, a lot of people are afraid to just walk up to people and say “Hey, can I make your portrait?”.
It’s something that photographer Jamie Windsor‘s struggled with, but he’s determined to get over it. So, he reached out to fellow photographer and YouTuber, Pablo Strong, to ask for some help to get over that fear and learn how to approach people in the street.
Street photography is a weird genre of photography. So many want to try it, but they’re afraid. Afraid of rejection and potentially hostile reactions. There are two schools of thought when photographing people in the street. The first is to just shoot, and worry about consequences later. Legally, that’s fine in many parts of the world. The latter is to obtain permission first and then shoot the photo.
There is the argument that asking takes away the spontaneity. What you saw and wanted to photograph ceases to exist. But it becomes something else. A street portrait. That, too, can be a great thing. In this video, photographer Jim Rogalski shows us how he approaches strangers in the street, even in other countries where there are significant language problems.
Do you find photographing strangers in the street extremely awkward and even unpleasant? I know I do, so this video from Jessica Kobeissi and Mango Street really amused me, but also got me inspired. The three young photographers teamed up, created “Free Portraits” posters and interacted with strangers in the street asking them to take their photo. It’s a fun experiment of pushing personal boundaries.
Street photography is a scary enough prospect on its own for many people. But to actually approach random strangers on the street and ask if you can shoot their portrait? That fills many with a fear akin to walking the plan over shark infested seas. You have to really push yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and do something you’re not happy with.
And it can be a very difficult fear to get over. But photographer Matt Higgs from WEX is here to help with some advice. His challenge is to photograph 30 random people in the streets in 2 hours. For those counting, that’s a new person every 4 minutes. A lot of pressure, especially if it can take you 10-15 minutes just to work up enough courage to ask the first,
If there is one genre of street photography I specialize in, it is “street portraiture.”
I love talking with my subjects, engaging with them, and focusing on their faces. If I started shooting street portraits all over again, this is the advice I would give myself.
This is one of my favourite subjects. I love teaching in my workshops as most people feel awkward about approaching people on the streets to photograph them.
Through experience, trial and error, I have had the pleasure to understand the psychology of approaching perfect strangers to ask them for a pic and the wonderful joy we receive by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.