A moment of peace in the City
I’ve written before about my love of street photography, and thought I’d just share some hints with you. There are many thoughts and schools on Street, from the incredibly intrusive and obnoxious Bruce Gilden, Right to the more social documentary type of John Free. But every one has their own style, that they feel comfortable with.
So here are my top hints.
- Travel light. You don’t need to take all your lenses and equipment. Carry a small choice of primes, or a single medium zoom lens. I prefer primes for street work as I find the zooming in and out with a zoom takes time. With experience, you will be able to “See” your frame without the camera, and have it framed in your mind before the camera is at your eye.
- Shoot in Aperture priority. Set a high aperture, so focus is less important. You might need to boost your ISO. That in it self is not a bad thing as the gritty look from ISO noise can help the image with the grain.
- Try to use shorter focal lengths. I rarely if ever go over 85mm. Long focal lengths have an effect on an image that just doesn’t work for street. It tends to distort the back ground. However, if you feel comfortable with longer lenses, by all means use them, remember, there are no hard and fast rules in photography. A contact of mine on ipernity, JayKay72 has outstanding shots with longer focal lengths.
- Dont worry about people. People, especially in city’s have one thing on their minds, and they will single mindedly go about it. They probably wont even notice you with you camera. They exist in their bubble, with as little interaction as possible. It can be hard to get over that fear of photographing people. Find a street performer, or someone who expects to be shot. Photograph members of the crowd. It will come with time.
- If someone starts asking what your doing, its normally out of curiosity. Be friendly, and honest. Dont aggravate a situation if one does develop. I’ve seen people steadfastly state it is their right, public street to take images, tough luck mate. I’d recommend if someone is grieving you, just delete the image if they want, and move on. There will be many more images and it just isn’t worth the grief. In all the time I have been shooting, I have however never had a problem. I’ve had some strange looks, but never a problem with anyone.
- Most street shots are Black and White. And there is a reason for this, colour can be distracting. However, experiment with your images, maybe it just works better in colour.
- Always look out for the “Decisive moment”
- Try shooting from the hip. This takes some serious practice. You have to know the framing of your camera, but it can and does give several unique angles and views. It’s a angle people are not used to seeing, and makes for unique shots.
- Dont be afraid to photograph the back of people’s heads.
- Get Out there and Enjoy it.
Hope this helps someone. 🙂
A rather serious looking officer of the Law, at the remembrance day parade in Harrogate
Here is an image I took sometime ago in York. He looked so lonely, so out-of-place, it was a photo I could not walk past. I looked at the image in Lightroom as I was going through, and this one really suited a treatment to be slightly darker, a little less colour to emphasise the subject and add to the idea of lonely.
York is a great city to do street work in. Being a high tourist area, people are used to seeing cameras around, along with the architecture in the city makes for some wonderful images. With the high number of tourists, you can always find people to photograph, either in the Market, in the street or around the Minster. Unlike many bigger cosmopolitan city’s, people are not running around, from A to B to do what they need to do and run away, they are there for the day, to really take in the City. That makes them easier to photograph than the runners and bubble livers in Leeds. The traffic is almost non existent in the city centre. It is just a nicer city to photograph in than Leeds.
Take a walk down the Ouse, watch the Riverboats scuttling over the river, and the local Rowing club practising on the water. Wander round Museum gardens and see the remains of past in the castle grounds.
I feel safer walking round York with a SLR than I do in most other city’s.
Have a Day out in York, its well worth the time.
Please feel free to take a look round my York Albums over on ipernity.
- ‘Everybody Street’ documentary looks at the legends of NYC street photography (theverge.com)
- 10 DO NOTs Of Street Photography (turn2pagelife.wordpress.com)
- Exploring York (europeanadventuring.wordpress.com)
- Leeds (mikethompsonphoto.wordpress.com)
- Peter Mitchell: Strangely Familiar (rikrawling.wordpress.com)
So I restarted this blog, as the last one I did got all screwy with the Flickr changes. So let me re-introduce myself.
My name is Michael, and for the past few years I have been an avid amateur photographer. I found myself falling into street photography, I tried other forms of photography but while I love all photography I have a softspot for street work.
It took me a long time to get the courage to photograph people in the street, but I realised, that most people, especially in city’s, seal themselves in a bubble and don’t care what goes on round them. They just have one thing todo, and that is get where they are going with minimal contact.
So to sum up, this blog will be about my photographic journey, and a “report” or such of my photowalks.
Let me know your photographic story’s in the comments, or just comment here, good or bad, it does not matter. Feel free to comment.