Street photography is an art of documenting and presenting the society’s everyday life. It is more than just capturing events but telling the story of that event. Street photography is one of the most adapted subgenres of photography in the past two centuries.
There is no exact definition for it nor should anyone attempt to provide a strict definition of this free and non-uniform style. As long as an image is taken in a public space or environment, you can categorize it under street photography. In fact, even if you do not have to take the word street literally. In other words, you are not limited to alleys and pavements. You can snap images of people indoors, too.
The best street images are taken at an opportunistic moment. They are unposed or unscripted. They are candid moments in the street, bar, cinema, or football arena captured by a photographer who happens to witness that particular scene. If experts can provide a strict rule in street photography that would be that the photos must have an unstaged setting with unaware subjects. This way, they can truly mirror the society.
This single rule is what makes street photography the most genuine and honest form of art. No paintings, movie, and sculptures have ever been more honest than a good street photo. Sadly, this rule also makes street photography hard. It takes a sharp eye and an opportunistic moment to capture the extraordinary in the ordinary and everyday human activities.
No one has the knack for timing on the first or even second try. So do not worry, through practice, you will soon develop the right skills. In addition, while doing so, you might need to try the following tips:
- Follow a street photography route
Know the places you will visit before you go. This will make your day fruitful and productive. The ideal locations are the busiest places like parks, public transportation, and markets. There, you will find many interesting activities and people interactions.
- Be quick
Remember, your subjects must be unaware that someone is taking a photo of them. Therefore, you should be quick to act. Set your camera ready for snapping.
The key to not interrupting a scene is to be quick. The longer you have been shooting street photography, the easier you will find it to take what you want and leave. It is important to know if an image is worth taking, though. It will also help if you know the things you want to photograph.
- Smile when caught
When your subject caught you taking a photo of them, just smile. This works all the time. However, you might want to look for another unsuspecting subject. One thing that you can do is to look at anything but in the direction of your subject while photographing.
- Take as many photos as you can
The decisive moment rarely comes. So take advantage of it as much as you can. Even the expert street photographers capture at least ten photos of the same scene in different angles then, later on, pick the best one out of the many.