Sunday, October 9, 2011

Small city street photgraphy exists too

London, Paris, New York, LA, Hong Kong have all become mecca's for street photography, and the list doesn't end there.  Many people think you need to live in or a at least shoot in one of these big cities in order to particpate in street photography. 

This couldn't be farther from the truth, street photography lives wherever there is human life exists.  At its core street photography is the documentation of the beautiful moments that occur in everyday human life.  So why would it only be centered in the major cities of the world, life exists outside of those centres.

Even though street photography can take place in smaller centres, it can be a little more frustrating at times and slightly different techniques need to be employed to be successful.

streetogrOFFY mainly occurs in the small 16,000 person village that I live in.  I sometimes make trips into much bigger cities to work but the bulk of my training, practice, and images come from this small centre.

Street photography in the bigger cities is something to be treasured.  There is so much going on and so many people around, that not only is it easy to blend in as a street photographer, but there are so many different stories being told all at once.

As you move to a smaller location, the population decreases drastically and so too do the amount of stories you see.  They are spread out much more, and without the hustle and bustle of the big city, the residents are usually much more aware of their surroundings, specifically someone trying to take their picture.

This is where discreetness is king.  I used to used a DSLR when I started out and managed to get some great images but I needed something more.  It was too large and often would affect my ability to be the "unseen" photographer and document what I see.

I now work with gear much smaller, quieter and more discreet in order to get closer to the action and get the shots I want.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Street Photography for Beginners - The Social Butterfly

We are all on our way to becoming the next masters of street photography, continually developing and practicing our foundations of street photography.  But there is one more skill that is often overlooked. It is very common place for a street photographers to be out shooting and not say a single word the entire time they are out.

Our society has slowly moved to a place where people no longer smile or greet each other as they walk by on the street, everyone is preoccupied with their own situation.  Now this shift in society behaviour can work towards a street photographer's benefit because it is much easier to take your photos unnoticed. 

But if you are walking around quiet and sullenly taking your photos, it almost has a stalking appearance and that could put many people on guard while you are around.  By smiling lots and saying hello to people as you walk around you become a lot less threatening. This will allow your subjects to relax while you are around with your camera, allowing you to get better photos.

One exercise I like to work on each day is everytime I am out taking photos I like to take the time to stop and talk to at least one stranger.  By spending some time striking up conversations with strangers you will not only develop your social skills, but your confidence will improve dramatically.  

This added confidence will allow you to continually be able to get closer to your subject so you can get the framing and composition you want.  And you never know, while you are having your conversation you may just get the oppurtunity to take an excellent candid street portrait :)
 

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