A world where all your shots feature unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. This ‘genre’ of photography is one that craves exploration, vision and creativity, from streets to parks to building tops and more!
In today’s world, there is so much we can do with photography and in ways where we can often tell a story with just one picture. It’s common for people to believe that street photography is limited to just streets, roads or buildings, although it is much more diverse than just that. There are many different styles that illustrate the definition of street photography, including the use of candid portraits, architecture, nature and wildlife, and the list goes on. Those are just a few examples of the environment of where and what these photographers shoot.
One thing many people often get confused with is how to tell the difference between a portrait and a street candid. A scenario in which a person or figure is acting natural and unaware of the camera, would be considered a street candid due to the natural state of the subject in the photo, whereas in a portrait, the subject is aware of the camera and poses, or stares directly at the lens. Street photography candid’s can focus on people and their natural behaviour in public by recording details from people’s history. This practice also entails having to navigate and/or negotiate changing expectations and laws of privacy, security and property. In some environments, photographers encourage their subject to push the boundaries of a specific setting in hopes to capture a stunning result for their photo. Take climbing a bridge for example, where the subject is in a natural state, and the photographer observing and capturing. Typically shots of this nature would be captured through full-frame prime lenses, with the increased depth of field and angle of view, however, the camera’s ability to capture stunning quality photos isn’t affected.
There are various techniques to consider when getting set to embark on street photography adventures. Deciding on what lens is a huge factor in how your images are going to look. Primarily, a full-frame prime lens is your best option, however, not having one won’t restrict your ability to gain high quality images effectively. Prime lenses give the photographer a more broad depth of field, in order to capture the most detail possible without depleting the quality. To put it in perspective, take a look at the photo above. It was shot with a variable zoom lens at a focal length of 20mm and a 3.5 aperture. Take the same photo with a prime lens at 35mm and a 1.5 aperture, and the outcome would look much sharper and more in detail. There’s no right or wrong because it’s up to the discretion of the photographer but taking the lens’ type into consideration changes the perspective of the photo.
To put it into simple terms, street photography is about documenting the everyday lifestyle of society and what surrounds it. A street photographers goal consists of two things; To encourage the viewer to visualize what only the human eye can see, and emphatically create real life sights through an image. There are moments in life where we only get to see something of significance for a few minutes or even a split second, and the key is to take more than one photo. Consider taking 20-30 photos per situation because they might not all turn out the way you anticipated, and there’s a much better chance of your photo resulting in the best compositional structure. Nonetheless, shooting more rather than less is vital on the outcome of your vision. Happy shooting!