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Top tricks for nailing the art of street photography

Aug-08,2021

In the words of ‘Elliott Erwitt: ‘ To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.’

Street photography is one of the most challenging and rewarding photography genres. Contrary to popular belief, documenting the lives of people in their everyday setting isn’t a piece of cake. Street photography requires patience, hard work, and a certain level of courage to go up to strangers and ask them if they can be photographed.

More than just point and shoot, street photography is all about mastering storytelling. Landscape photography tips can come in handy while creatively composing a captivating shot that draws your audience closer and helps them to experience the photograph on a very sensory level.

But what makes a good street photograph?

Street photographs are all about a clearly defined subject and adhere to the basic rules of composition like the rule of thirds, leading lines, use of negative space, symmetry, frames, and more. In essence, street photography is all about telling a story, helping the audience to get involved with the photograph and give rise to a certain curiosity – a need to know more about the photograph, and the lives of people captured within it.

For budding photographers looking for a beginner's photography course, there are quite a few online photography courses in India along with various photography groups that cover the genre of street photography through masterclasses and regular photo walks that can help you tune your skills for the genre. But nothing beats just stepping out of your home with a camera and getting better through regular practice.

Here are a few street photography tips to help you get started with street photography –


Credits: @arpitpurti

Have the right gear with the right setting

Before approaching your subject, it is important to have the right gear in the right settings. As, more often than not, the subjects in street photography are moving, and thus, there is very little time to adjust your camera settings.

Using Auto ISO helps ensure that your shutter speed is fast enough to capture subtle moments that are instantaneous.


Credits: @pxb_shots

Look for layers

Use an aperture of f8 and beyond to identify and contrast depths, use background, foreground, and even middle layers to add an element of complexity to your shots.

Look for natural elements

Use your environment to your advantage by integrating the leading lines, geometry, textures, and negative space.

Perspective matters

Perspectives help add an edge to your photographs. Experiment with your canvas by taking shots from below or straight. With practice, you will learn how different perspectives help to change the entire feel of a shot.

Composition

Composition is crucial to street photography. Never forget the basics – rule of thirds, golden ratio, or the Fibonacci Sequence. A good composition helps to guide your audience’s eyes to read your image and understand the underlying motive behind your photograph.

Details

Being sensitive to the minute details can help convert your shots into a story for your audience. A poster on the street, a mailbox, a street light, etc. can have a substantial impact on your image.

The Narrative

‘Storytelling’ or Narrative is the most important aspect of Street Photography. What is the context, what are the emotions you’re trying to evoke in your audience? These are some of the questions that you will answer through your photographs, because remember that you are sharing a piece of your vision with your audience, therefore the narrative becomes integral to forming a connection with your audience through your photographs.


Credits: @anshulpathak_

Timelapse

In photography, timelapse can be a great tool for capturing everything from the city streets to the cloudy skies above. Through this cinematography technique, you can take a series of still images of the same frame at regular intervals over a period of time, then play through the entire sequence rapidly to create the illusion of high-speed movement—manipulating time to make it seem as if the subject is moving rapidly.

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