Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Street photography-getting started, ready, set go...
I know how you're feeling, street photography could come with a lot of fear and insecurity.
like every art form, at the beginning part is hard to express your thoughts and ideas with the limited skill tool that you have. I remember my beginning, it was quite frustrating, I felt a lot of pressure to get good results and specially the fear to capture controlled me.
So I turned to street cats for fine objects, but I was always curious about people's behavior, as I find people the most complex and interesting subject.
It took quite a while until I was able to find my "spark" to street photography.
and it took a while to turn the "stranger" into "actors" of my mind.
So Don't give up! all you need is to start to create a flow!
It takes time, but Street photography has true magic. It is one of the most powerful tools to connect with your surrounding and reality.
And if you are reading this, I believe you need a small push.
I would be happy to help with you navigate your path to street photography,
here is some my 5 basic principles that helped me to create a "flow":
but first, what is street photography?
Street photography is just documenting human life , the way people live and interact with one another.
It doesn't have to include people, but the story will be much clear with them in it.
Although there are some photos, that delivers a strong image of humanity, without humans.
like this one by Robert Frank:
But in one way or another, as a street photographer, you will need to handle with the fear to interact with people, and it is not hard as you think, I promise.
all you need is to create a "flow"
What is a flow?
it's hard to explain, so I will let to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s who did a full research on what is a creative flow to explain:
“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
5 methods to get into the flow:
I have a powerful starting point for you!
why people are interesting?
just walk and observe and the answer will be revealed,
look at people and exchange eye contacts, you will find of untold stories and by eye contacting you will get you closer to them.
walk slowly around for 15-20 minutes,breath and feel your feet touching the ground.
try to be present to our fast and dynamic world.
forget about the camera, trust you inner peace process, it is essential.
By the walking meditation, I remind myself again how much human beings are an interesting creatures.
and this is why I am here for, and this is why we should photograph.
the basic role is- As long as you will love more people, you will become a better photographer that will turn up to be a happier person.
so before you start your session, Just walk and observe your environment.
the camera will be just an extension to your meditation.
2. shoot, shoot don't talk.
The second step is about creating a rhythm.
shoot strangers, candid or by asking, shoot them all.
forgot from all the technical staff, expectations to good results and what your photos are trying to say.
walk and create a flow, press and release the button without thinking too much.
as long as your heartbeat will get higher, as long as you will be more terrified to capture somebody, you will be more distracted.
actually, related to heartbeat, when the beat goes high, your mind is literally tells you that you got to take this photo, but he wants to protect you.
this part is about telling your mind, "I am OK, I know what I'm doing."
so doesn't matter what and where, just start to dance with the camera.
from shot to shot your self confidence will go higher!
3. say NO Result, YES creation.
Craft is part of the creative process.
So don't "Chimp", don't look at the LCD screen at your session!
order to create a flow, order to avoid self-judgment, order not to miss another moment, do a favor to yourself and be patient with the result.
in street photography, the final image is not everything.
embrace the process, think like a painter, for him there is no an instant result.
and for photography, craft is essential!
honestly, 95% of my photography is crap, but I'm living for the other 5%.
photography, like musicians, takes practice, you need to sharpen your eye to details in a friction of a second, and you need to sharp your visual stories vision.
so if creating a crappy photos, that's great! it is all matter!
Later your contacts sheet will tell an amazing story about the progress that you made.
as long as your session will proceed, you'll see how you getting closer and closer to people, how naturally you improved your composition skills.
and some beautiful surprises that you didn't expected will wait for you.
trust yourself, trust me, when you will start to release the fear and the self-judgment,
that's when your true creative vision will starts flow.
3. forget about the gear. forget about Techniques.
the most significant works created by a 40' 50' photographers.
Cartier Bresson used a 40' Leica rangefinder with just one lens for a 40 years career! there are cheap phones that will deliver a brighter result from Cartier's camera.
running into the techniques and gear staff is just an excuse. don't be one of those nerds photographers, you are not a nature photographer.
sharpness is overrated, a good photo is all about a feeling.
take Daido Moriyama as an example, the guy used a compact camera all of his career.
here is something that Araki, one of Daido’s colleagues said on him:
“The photographer had been a slave of the camera for a long time. Good camera, good lens, Leica, etc. These were the masters of a photographer. But in a way, Daido Moriyama is a photographer who started to make the camera his own slave. Photography is not about the camera.
4. who do you want to be today?
Your process of becoming a better photographer, will start applying when you will start seeing more details like shapes, lights, darkness, negative, colors etc.
a useful way to sharpen your vision is by picking a subject and minimize your all world to it. subjects like hands gestures, people eating with a full mouth, certain types of colors, or whatever, just choose a topic.
you will get the same effect when you hungry, when you belly tells you to feed her you will be more awake to restaurants around, you might even discover a place in your own neighborhood that you never saw before.
the same will happen with photography, you will feed up your vision.
focus your mind, "meditate" on few things and you'll find an incredible details and patterns that your eyes didn't saw before.
as well, this practice will build and improve your skill tools.
5. Wait, just wait a bit.
The rush to show your work to the world, is a source of a healthy motivation.
I believe that everything that i pushing you to go out of bed has a value.
but sometimes our will to taste some sweetness and to get to the dessert right a way might make you miss the main dish.
good things, takes time.
order to detached your self from the work and the effort, order to get a zoom out perspective, let your photographs nap for a couple of days.
it will help you a lot to keep grow as an artist.
feeling too much passion and attachment to your work can skew the perception of it.
so meanwhile, take a big breath or keep shoot.
after 2-3 days, your editing will be more efficient.
b.wait with the cyber love.
don't upload your photos right a way!
I have a lot to say on social media, generally i think it kills photography.
I will talk about that later on.
but for now, i don't want to be hypocrite, cause I'm using Instagram.
so for now I'm just recommend you to take a period of time, don't rush.
create a series of 10-15 photos the you are really proud of, and than cut it to 8.
when you will realize that less is more, you are ready to upload them.
my own struggle, is to remind myself all the time that I'm NOT into photography for the external love and appreciation, just for internal one.
when I'm not rushing to upload them, I'm stooping to give a fu*k about the likes and the followers, cause I truly stand behind my work.
patience is a strong tool to get there.
so remind to yourself, you are photographer cause_______(fill the blank).
for any questions, I'm right here.