Guest Post – Street Photography

Today I’m offering a perspective on an area of photography I don’t work in but appreciate people who give it a try.  Kate Cooper is a colleague from photography school who is stretching her skills to learn about street photography as a way to see differently through her viewfinder – she can usually be found in her studio creating portraits or at weddings making videos of the celebration.  Not only is this different from what I usually write about, it has the added benefit of a perspective from Great Britain, a transoceanic viewpoint if you will.  Kate does follow this blog so feel free to comment on her article.

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Street Photography

I stumbled across this genre of photography when I heard about the Street Photography Now Project (www.streetphotographynowproject.wordpress.com)
As a photographer it made a refreshing change to take images just for the fun of it rather than thinking how can I make money from this.

Street Photography aims to document the world we live in, it needs to have a strong human element, and can very often focus on human interaction, but more importantly it has to have something that makes you look at an image again and again; sound familiar?

How do you do it? A lot of the time you can incorporate signs, posters and other written messages and put a wry twist on their meaning. Other times you can take something everyday and by photographing it in a certain way use it to say something completely different.  Shadows are particularly good for conveying different meanings.

What are the challenges? The biggest are taking pictures of strangers without first asking their permission.  If you alert them that you are going to take a picture you get a pose not a natural response. On rare occasions you won’t get a positive response so you have to be equipped to deal with adverse reactions.

What are the photographic challenges? Street is usually capturing the moment so you will normally be without flash and tripod, dealing with low light or artificial light, where getting the right aperture and shutter speed is a constant battle.

You also need to be patient.  If you see a good composition you might need to wait for the right person to walk into your shot, what colour clothes are they wearing, red can be very eye-catching, does it need to be a young or older person, male or female? 2point8 (www.2point8.whileseated.org/wow-footer/) gives some really good advice on the practicalities of Street Photography. Colin W. Hunt takes his Street one step further by using fisheye (www.flickr.com/photos/25162451@N04).

Interested? Join in, its world wide, have fun.