Street photography as a genre has gained massive popularity lately with everyone having cameras and high quality phones and clicking away all the time during their city walks. Many people who are just starting out with it and many outside of the genre have some common misconceptions about what it entails and how you can go about it. Here are a few of the top of my head.
You need to have a professional camera. Actually any device that captures photos will do. You'll be fine with an old, decent one that you can find used for cheap. You can even just use your phone as I did on certain occasions. Most of the phones nowadays have incredible cameras and you can do most of the work with them. Old film cameras are also an option. If you want to shoot specifically at low light then you might need to invest in something with better performances.
Street photography is creepy. Well I hope I don't look that way as I'm roaming the streets :D, but basically your vibe determines how you will be perceived. If you are honest, happy and with a smile, you are good. On the other hand, acting dodgy, hiding behind things and shooting with a telephoto lens - you might be looked as a weirdo. So don't do that, make sure to stay open and relaxed.
You need to ask for permission. Different countries have different laws about this so make sure to inform yourself, but in most cases you are free to photograph anyone in the public area and share the photos online. And even if your laws are strict, you can always do street photography in a way that doesn't display people's faces. More of a mysterious, esthetic look which I sometimes do as well. You should have a moral compass though - don't share images that portray people in a bad light. If they wouldn't appreciate it, don't post it. Sensitive categories like homeless people and young children are also something to avoid or at least do in a mindful way.
Street photography is exclusively a documentary, not a creative genre. This isn't true. There are many different styles you can go for depending on your preferences and nature. You can try shooting with low shutter speed and creating motion in the images. Shooting from a distance, only showing silhouettes of people and focusing on the clean composition is another way to go. You don't have to just photograph people in action like a paparazzi would do. I personally like to mix different styles like documentary, portrait and esthetic to make sure is doesn't get boring over time.
You need to travel to interesting locations. Street photography can be done anywhere. I'm on a day 11 of shooting (almost) everyday and 80% of the shots are taken in the same few blocks and streets. New people, new circumstances, new angles = fresh new photographs. You can do it in a small town, although it's likely you will stand out a bit more. But it's doable. It doesn't even need to be in the street, you can go to parks, beaches, forests. If there's people there, you can do street photography.
Leaving you with the photos from day 11. Taken with Fuji X-Pro2 and 35mm F/2 lens.
This challenge is designed to push me to shoot more, think more about what I'm shooting and also to start posting more regularly. It's supposed to imitate shooting a film camera, 1 roll each day and posting the results. Recently I shot a roll of Kodak film and it inspired me to bring this series back. Here are the general guidelines:
- Create up to 36 photographs each day
- Select and post at least 10 photographs
- Don't look at images on the LCD screen