As you all will have guessed by now; I love photography. I love it all, from travel to portrait, documentary to wildlife - you name it I will like it. However, when it gets down to the nitty gritty, the core of my photographic interest if you will, event and street photography are my bread and butter. I love capturing a live moment, whether it be on a large stage or in the back streets of my home town. For me, event and street, although different in many ways, also have many similarities. They project emotion, excitement, candid elements, surprise, shock and pleasure. These are all traits I look for when practising photography, and this is why I love the two so much. That said, the way you approach each genre is completely different and in this article I will explore those differences and analyse the pros and cons of each approach.
This weekend I did an event at a school in North London. It was for an organisation called Paiwand, a charity that that helps support Afghan refugee children in getting a strong education when they come to the UK. I love these kind of gigs. Children are full of energy and wonder, and being able to capture a celebration of their development was an absolute pleasure. The catch is that children have no concept of what it means to be a photographer, and why would they. Setting up your shots, both candid and staged, can be a massive challenge - have you ever tried to get a child to stay still longer than 3 seconds?
Another obstacle when shooting events, is time constraints. When it comes to events, there is no such thing as “keep shooting until you get the shot”. People have homes to go to and as the photographer, you are expected to deliver the content to a level that is required, during the time frame that is given to you. We all have off days, and the anxiety you get at an event, worrying if today is going to be that day, does heap on the pressure. You have to be sharp, use your strengths and remember your basics. This can be difficult when you have many distractions, but you must remain focused and stick to the task at hand.
Personally, I like taking candid shots the most. However, there is often a need to make staged images also. This can become repetitive and you must keep your concentration to ensure each shot is right. To keep it fresh, I ensure I have a dialogue with each subject, that way the style of photography may be the same but the conversation brings the difference.
The positive aspect of event photography is that you know something is going to happen. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your lens will see a worthy frame. It may be music, a presentation, laughter or an argument - something is bound to happen and the skill is ensuring you are there to capture it. The cool thing about working with kids is that they love smiling and laughing and this is something I try and portray when shooting them at an event.
I had 90 minutes at this gig, it was not easy (and that is without the barrage of parents “take my kids picture and make them look great). That said I enjoyed the challenge. I work harder, and in my case better, when the pressure is on. The client got the images the following day and everyone was happy - thank God!
After a very strict brief at the charity event earlier that day, I needed to swap my Nikon for my Fuji, so I could get out and shoot some street. Oh how I love the freedom. Walking where I want, shooting what I want, and doing it for however ever long I want. Bliss!
On this particular day I had a good run in. I came home with a least 3 shots I was excited about - which for me is great!
Of course the downside of street is that nothing is ever guaranteed. An off day can mean no photos what so ever. This may be because you don’t come across anything worth capturing or because your eye is too tired to see the things around you. Either way, it is very frustrating and this is certainly where event photography has the upper hand.
However, when I get “the shot”, there really is no other feeling like it. For me no genre gives me that same rush when I get an image of worth, as street photography. I want to get it out of camera, load it up in Lightroom, edit and share it with the world. There is just something about the pay off, especially after walking for miles, that just keeps me hooked to this genre of photography.
Street vs Event
As you can see both genres have their pluses and minuses. In event you have to deal with a client, in street you have to deal with the general public - which can be both a good and bad thing. If I had to choose which one I like the most - it would have to be street. Again, whilst both provide an enjoyable process, nothing compares to that feeling of getting a great street shot!
What is your favourite genre of photography? I would love to know! You can contact me here - Say hello to Dan.
After another great street session last week, I am pleased to say I have a new print available for you to purchase. It is called Faceless London and you can get your copy here - Buy Faceless London.
Thanks for reading
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