What I am going to cover in today’s post may not be groundbreaking. Some of you may use this information as something new and to be mindful of, others may take it as a nice reminder of some of the core do’s and don’t within the craft of Street Photography.
I am going to cover 3 points. What I am going to discuss are things I have experienced first hand, often learning the hard way from the errors that I have made. Remember, the objective of what we all do is to create moments through quality content. You can have all the vision and skills in the world, however if you fall short on some easy practical steps, you can result in not creating the imagery that you have the capabilities of doing.
Never leave your camera at home.
“Oh it’s quite a nice day today, I think I will take my camera out with me”. We have all been there, getting excited about a beautiful day, grab our cameras and set out to come back with some wonderful images, only to return home with absolutely nothing.
Street photography is not staged (or at least it shouldn’t be) and there are no guarantees you will come back with the images you hoped for. If you are serious about the craft and creating a body of work that you can be proud of, then you must have your camera with you at all times. Candid moments can be over within a second and if your camera is at home on the shelf then you risk missing out on glorious opportunities.
Only in the past 6 months have I got into the habit of having my camera with me at all times. I have a nice little Fuji so I can never use the excuse of “it's too heavy”. Too many times had I uttered the sentence “oh if only I had my camera” that it started to become rather apparent that I was only being foolish to leave it at home. Even on those days where you lack inspiration, sometimes to the point you can’t even look at your camera, take it with you. It only takes a moment to pick it up when inspiration finds you when you are out on the streets.
I caught the below image right before I was about to go home for the evening. It is a personal favourite of mine due to the colour, but also because it was taken on one of those days where I told myself “I’m not in the mood for photography but I know I should take my camera with me”.
Never be too arrogant to use Auto mode.
“I only shoot manual”. Okay mate, we get it, you have learnt the exposure triangle and want to show off to all your buddies.
We all know manual mode gives you more creative license, but it is not the only aspect of making quality photographs. You have to have the ability to spot a quality frame, you need to have timing and persistence, all of these things come from you and not your camera.
Thankfully cameras today have the ability of reading a good exposure and getting the settings to an acceptable or decent point to get the image right. We should utilise this, especially as Street Photographers where time is rarely on our side.
Ask yourself who you would rather be; the person who missed the shot because they didn’t get the settings right in time? Or the person who flicked it on to Auto and got the shot they wanted? For me, it’s a no brainer.
Never pack your bag without food or water.
Seriously, never do this. Street Photography requires a high amount of stamina - both physically and mentality. If like me you enjoy roaming the streets without direction, you run the risk of ending up somewhere that is without convenience stores, which is a skill if you do not have supplies on you. If you are hungry or dehydrated, not only is that going to impact your health (you don’t need me to tell you that) it also impact the quality of your work. You can fire on all cylinders if you are weakening yourself. So remember, a bottle of water and some energy (I usually take a sandwich and some form of pretentious fruit bar).
What have I missed?
Some of you may be rolling your eyes “tell me something I don’t know, Dan”, whilst some of you may have taken something from this. There are many do’s and dont’s and I would love to hear what practical steps you take to ensure you produce the work you want to. You can contact me on the social portals below, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed the content of this post, please sign up below so you can stay on top of all things new!