Thanks to smartphones and tablets, we’re perhaps snapping away on the streets more than ever before. Street photography is very much in vogue, so much so that author Jackie Higgins has published a new book paying homage to the genre. You can view some of the photographs in the collection online thanks to the Wall Street Journal, here.
If you fancy turning some of your everyday encounters into images worthy of becoming personalised wall art, you can find even more inspiration in the flickr group Onthestreet. Observing other people’s work is a great way to start forming ideas about what to shoot when you’re exploring a new subject topic or style, so take a little time looking at what kind of images you like, what makes them so interesting and how similar images might look on your own custom canvas prints!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, carrying a camera at all times means you’re less likely to miss a shot. You don’t need to carry a fancy DSLR, you capture fairly decent street shots with a point and shoot or your phone. In fact, one of the winners of this year’s iPhone Photography Awards was recognised for a fantastic street shot that he took on his phone, read more about his efforts and making the most of an iPhone with our Simple iPhone photography tips post.
As well as taking advantage of photo-worthy events as they happen, it pays to give yourself the chance of grabbing a great shot by frequenting places where you know people will be doing interesting things and you’ll also be able to get into a good position. Map a few local locations such as markets, bus and train stations and in particular consider where there are nice wide streets or corners.
It’s tricky to get a true candid shot with zoom, instead, shoot close and wide. People will often assume you are photographing behind them if you are close up and you’ll actually look far less inconspicuous than if you’re crouched across the road with your camera pointed straight at them.
The best way to get a natural shot is to go unnoticed, which means dressing in a manner that doesn’t make you stand out and acting in a similar fashion. Some photographers feel uneasy taking photographs without the permission of the subject and you may want to experiment with different tactics to find out what you are most comfortable with. In the UK, you don’t need to ask permission to photograph someone in a public place unless you plan to sell the photograph commercially, though you might decide you at least want to acknowledge your work by giving your subject a reassuring smile and thank you nod after your click and of course, you’ll want to avoid photographing children. If you choose to ask permission up front you will get a different type of photo but that doesn’t mean it won’t be without merit and it could well be a great image to transfer to canvas.
Once you’ve given yourself a fighting chance by frequenting interesting places at the best lit part of the day (morning or early evening) you can start looking for unique shots. These might start with a particular character your spot in the street or an unusual object you place in context by juxtaposition with a passing group or individual.
Street photography has a reputation for being gritty but it can also reveal the softer side of society. Do you have any of your own street photography displayed in your home? If so, do you have any additional tips for first time street photographers?
Start creating your customised photo to canvas here.