Friday, January 9, 2009

How to handle street photography

When you are out on streets with your SLR gear, you are the center of attraction for many. But as a street photographer, you got to do your job and a good job. Unnecessary attraction of people not only can jeopardize your shoot but also can bring in unnecessary elements within your frame. Here are few tips that I follow while shooting on busy street and they are helpful:

#1. Don’t hang your camera from your neck, which attracts others’ eyes. Take the strap of the camera; give two rounds of that on your wrist. It comes handy and you can shoot quickly.

#2. Try to use a medium to long telephoto lens, an 80-200 or 70-300 kind works best while taking candid shots. The subject (mainly people) even doesn’t come to know what you are focusing at.

#3. Wide angle lens can work in 2 ways – to get a complete picture of the place and secondly, it gives dramatic results if shot from closed distance. But probably, you need to take permission of those people to go that close.

#4. Remember, most human being likes to be shot. If your intention is right, then they usually don’t object. Only thing is people are skeptical what you are going to do with the images. If being asked, be very upfront say the truth; mostly they’ll take you on your face value.

#5. Don’t stay or shoot in one place for long. Borrowing from the tagline of Jhony Walker, I should say, ‘Keep walking’! Whenever you are at one place for some time, you create interest among others on you. So the way of working is: frame in your mind, view it through the viewfinder, meter & shoot; and move.

#6. Be little careful while shooting different set of people. For example, if you are shooting beggars or prostitutes, better ask them before you shoot. These kinds of people usually don’t want to be shot at all.

#7. Keep the focus in auto mode so that you don’t have to spend time on focusing the desired subject.

#8. Shooting mode – continuous. In today’s digital era, we don’t bother about the number of frames. When you are shooting on a busy street, possibly some unwanted element will come over on your frame and will spoil the image. Don’t bother; a continuous mode will help you to get over that by shooting multiple images.

#9. Practice managing the controls without looking at the viewfinder. While you are standing with your camera in hand and trying to frame an image, you can quickly change the aperture or shutter speed without even taking the camera on your eyes. This brings down the shooting time drastically, but surely needs some practice.

Hope this help! Happy shooting!

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