Here are my basic tips about what to do when we start to involved in street photography journey.
Keep in mind all of these points come from my personal experience, and based on my preference. Different person may have different opinions, and I realise each of us may have our own way to do street photography.
Things that I suggest to people to do when have passion in street photography:
Bring your camera everyday (Read here)
Start to have habit to shoot everyday. Not all of us have freedom to shoot street for hours as daily activity. However, 30 minutes a day of “practise” is way better than shoot nothing.
Choose your camera wisely
Pick a camera based on how it feels on your hand. User experience when operate camera is more important than image quality. There is no point to have best picture quality if the camera is too big and heavy to carry around. Read more about how to choose camera for street photography here.
Have BIG patience (Read here)
It is totally fine to have a small step in progress, but simply never stop to keep learn and experiment with new things
Understand that street photography is about capturing moments that happen in split second. Content inside your photo would be 100% depend on real life action. You can not create it. Have patience to “wait” until the right moment happen right in front of your eyes.
Create a strong Point of Interest (Main subject)
One of the best way to create a strong photograph is by showing main subject clearly. Either subject dominate the whole frame, have dynamic gesture (Read here), or avoid to shoot distraction objects as least as possible (Read here).
Shoot like a child
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. – Pablo Picasso
I believe we can consider child as a true artist because they able to create or do something purely based on their own preference, and do not afraid of being judged or get negative feedback. Also, children always curious about anything new in their surrounding. They excited to try or experiment with new things, which is great to open up new possibilities to achieve something great. Be confident with your taste, and be curious to keep experiment with new things!
Work the scene
Found a great spot to shoot street? (Like a place with strong light, strong colours, full textures, and many people passed by): Then DO NOT only take one shot and leave that place. Work the scene means we try to experiment with our angles (low, high, or diagonal angle), and wait till a (super) interesting subject or form of gesture appear in our frame. Related article: Fishing Technique.
Shoot anywhere and anytime
Street photography is all about creativity. We can shoot “street” literally anywhere and anytime. Most important part is we need to train our mind and eye to catch artistic objects around us (Read here).
It is true travel to new city or country can help us get “new perspective”. However, remember that create photograph in area that we already know well (example: our working place) will make us know better which great spots we can use to create artistic photos.
Do use social media!
While some people against this step (like Eric Kim) because social media can give PLENTY OF distraction to us, and can misjudged our photos with the amount of “likes” (We start to judged the quality of our own photo based on how many likes we got); Actually social media still able to give us benefits too.
Social media able to “change the world” with their ability to share millions of information in an instant. Means, we can get countless of photo’s inspiration (and learn about them) from all over the world.
Practical tips: Find photos that you like in Instagram/Facebook/500px etc, save them offline, then try to analyse why you like that photos (composition, moments, gesture, stories, etc).
Additional benefit: Online community! Imagine if you go to other country, and you can ask street photographer’s community there about good spots or whether any specific culture that we need to know before start shooting street.
I believe social media is a powerful weapon in street photography as long as we can use it wisely.
DO HAVE FUN!
Why fun? Because street photography keep challenge my mind and my imagination to create something unique from ordinary things that happen everyday.
It is true that street photography has minimum requirement (only need a simple camera, and we can do it literally everywhere in public places). Yet, it requires both complex skill and courage to properly do it. Read here about Street Photography is Fun and Street Photography Bring You Happiness.
The main reason we need to keep street photography as a fun activity is to help us keep learning and continuously improving our skill day by day. When there is no fun feeling inside, we will lose our passion (sooner or later), and we may think doing street photography only as a meaningless and stressful action.
Create an honest photo
Tips: Create a photo that purely based on your preference, based on your imagination, based on your vision, based on your gut. Create photo for yourself. Satisfy “your craving” about create a piece of art.
Doing street photography is like doing exercise in gym place, what matter the most is we compete with ourself, not to other person. Be patient, keep practice, experiment new things, and be a better you everyday!
Never stop shooting,