Street photography as another genre of photography
Street Photography
Pixean
March 21, 2018

We have all heard of street photography but there is quite a debate on what exactly street photography actually includes. Broadly, speaking street photography includes photographing life in public places. Although most of street photography is candid, some photographers argue that it does not necessarily have to be. Posed street portraits like Humans of New York and Humans of Bombay are also a form of street photography. Street photography is about stories and most of the time it includes some human element if not a crowd. However, street photography does not have to be directly focused on including people as long as it has a story to tell and has some indication of life – human or otherwise. Objects that indirectly provide a sense of life on the street can also be the main subject in street photography.

Street photography is not just another genre of photography. Most photographers find the process of street photography to be quite therapeutic.  As a street photographer, you will have the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures. It involves capturing visually appealing and fascinating images that have a story to tell which will require you to be a keen observer of the nuances of everyday life that most people miss. Street photography also requires a degree of social skill. You will have to be aware of the laws, customs and traditions of the place. You may have to blend into the crowd and not intrude if you are going for candid pictures. If you are going for posed pictures, you will have to approach people and ask for their permission and guide them through it. Street photography also requires a lot of patience - to deal with all the activity in the background and wait for that perfect moment. In some situations, it also requires you to be quick, as you may not have any control over when or for how long a camera worthy scene occurs.

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As a beginner, you can try your hand at different types of street photography until you find your niche. You might feel the need to carry your camera everywhere in case of chance encounters that might lead to a great image. This involves a lot of walking around and being inconspicuous so do not carry too much bulky equipment with you. 

Having a camera strap is imperative. Point and shoot cameras and quiet and light DLRS like Nikon D750 are suitable for street photography. Pancake lens are great for street photography as they are compact. There is no single right lens for street photography; the type of lens you can use will vary based on the type of image you want to capture. Generally, a 50mm lens is considered apt for quite a lot of scenarios in street photography. You can also use a 35mm lens or a 85mm lens depending on how close or far you can be from main subject.

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With all the movement and uncertainties that street photography involves there will be times when you will need a sturdy support for your camera. Tripods are not a good option for street photography as they are neither light nor inconspicuous. A gorilla pod is small, light and versatile and hence is a better fit for street photography than a tripod.

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Timing is another important aspect of street photography. Although bustling streets offer a lot of interesting subject matter it might be challenging to photograph people at this time as they are headed somewhere or are involved in their activities. You will have to take care not to get in their way and you will have to be quick. The golden hours are also great for street photography as the light is soft and the city is just starting or shutting down giving you enough time to click away. Remember to spend some time in the street studying it before you start clicking.

What do you capture and when do you capture something in street photography?  As Henri Cartier-Bresson, a humanist photographer also considered a master of candid photography said, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms, which give that event its proper expression”. Look for unique moments, capture people’s emotions, keep an eye out for interesting cityscape and try capturing everyday day objects in a different light. So head on out and enjoy the wonderful experience street photography provides.

Street Photography
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