Today, I would like to talk about one of the photographic genres I love the most: street photography. As you might have already discovered in one of the previous articles on this blog, I think that street photography is an incredibly powerful way to express your creativity. Indeed, thanks to its accessibility, flexibility and different styles, it can be moulded to the photographer’s approach and reinterpreted.
However, street photography can be incredibly confusing at times due to its openness and pliability. When getting on the streets, the apparent chaos might look overwhelming. So, it is incredibly important to stay focused on your objective, while avoiding all the possible distractions.
I am about to share a few tips with you, which helped me in becoming much more productive and achieving more coherent and consistent results over time.
Tip 1: Take Notes
Taking notes is a very important step to make better photographs, especially in street photography. Very often street photography is about reacting to a specific and sudden event. As often, this genre is about finding an interesting location and waiting patiently for an intriguing circumstance to take place.
In the latter situation, it might be incredibly fruitful to scout for locations, take a note and go back to that place in a different situation – as light gets optimal, for instance.
There are several ways to take notes efficiently and the optimal approach depends on your style and necessities. For example, I like writing my ideas down on my phone, which I always carry with me. This gives me the accessibility and flexibility I need when photographing on the streets. However, you might prefer a more ‘analogue’ approach. I know that many of you prefer a more tangible method. In this case, writing your notes down on an actual notebook might be more efficient.
Sometimes, you might even use social networks to access other photographers’ notes. Indeed, by looking on social networks for specific geo-locations, you might get inspiration from your peers’ work. This is a great approach to see how conditions change over time without scouting the very same location repeatedly. Nevertheless, I recommend to scout your ‘magic spot’ personally at least once in order to get a better connection with the place, as I mentioned in a previous article.
Tip 2: Travel Light
Quite often street photography requires to walk a lot and for a long time. This is why, this genre is difficult and demanding from a physical point of view – and most street photographers are really thin… maybe!
Indeed, the lighter you travel the more kilometres you can walk without getting too tired. This is why I love shooting street photography with a single camera-lens set up. This allows me to be more efficient while being much more creative, as I mentioned in another article.
Another good tip, which is related to travelling light, concerns using a camera strap. For some genres, such as landscape photography, a strap might not be recommended as it might increase camera shake and the probability of vibrations. On the other hand, street photography requires quite a different approach. To me the use of this tiny piece of equipment is fundamental to improve your efficiency. On the one hand, you can carry your camera for a long time around your neck or on your shoulder without fatiguing your wrist. On the other, you can wrap it around you hand while making a photograph in order to avoid you camera from being snatched.
Tip 3: Do Not Rush
What you see on the streets evolves so quickly that it is almost impossible to predict. This means that you could stand on a spot for the whole day and never make the very same photograph twice. I think that this characteristic is quite brilliant and magical.
From my experience I leant that rushing is often the worst enemy of a street photographer. On the one hand, you might lose touch with your surroundings, which is very dangerous if you want to portrait your subject in its environment. On the other, it makes you more tired, more quickly. Therefore, you might be less lucid when it really counts. You may be less alerted when you need to photograph the ‘decisive moment’.
I should maybe highlight that sometimes rushing is crucial. If capturing the ‘decisive moment’ involves following a sudden action, than you might be better off moving – and pretty quickly as well.
These are just three simple tips to improve your productivity. I would love to hear from you what is your personal approach to boost your efficiency in your beloved photogrpahic genre.