Hello, dear Members, Watchers and bystanders.
This Journal is an Editorial, general one.
Lots of words, few pixels. But, if your bare with me it will (probably) make sense.
Long is the list of Journals and notes about street photography, definitions, tendencies, and all that philosophy that comes with the genre we came to love.
But, as a community, street photographers are in part forgetting to go through the ABC periodically, so that newcomers and enthusiasts can feel comfortable and empowered to taste this misunderstood part of photography.
So, with a surprise unveiled somewhere below, let’s start going through the ABC (I’ll be needing your important input as comment too), like that part in the end of the camera’s user guide : “Camera doesn’t shot>Turn it on; Camera doesn’t work>Check your batteries for charge.”
Don’t let your photo shoot be wasted because you forgot to be prepared , so full charge in all the batteries you possess and format the flash memory card. And why format? Some of you know this far better, but formatted flash memory card write faster than those from where you deleted information or cut from. In a very wide and simple explanation, when you delete data from a storage unit or cut data from there, that data remains and it just receives a “label” that the physical space on the unit is available for writing new data to it. Thus the difference in the writing speed with the same SD/MMC/…
Avoid using the automatic mode. You are a street photographer, you master your tool so you know it inside out, and you can even turn off the LCD, avoiding loosing “that moment” because you were looking at the LCD, reviewing the past (chimping). Also keep in mind that when you press the shutter in Automatic Mode to capture that instant you are delegating in your camera the decision to chose aperture, speed, ISO, white balance and photometry, all that at once, while the shutter goes halfway (focus) to full pressed. Do you trust your camera (sensor, processor, etc) all that much? Are you willing to let it have all the creativity fun? Like someone said, “cooking dinner or take-away”?
My humble advise (rookie myself): let it play only with (auto) ISO – because you are going in and out of dark and lit places-, set everything else yourself. At least, use A or S modes and study at home why your tool made those decisions, so next time you’ll be in charge. Keep in mind that, in general, a simple human action can be captured at 1/250 and the environment/context to build the story upon can be focused from f/5.6 (in general)
Your subjects don’t behave like you want them to? Not doing anything interesting? Yes, they tend to do that. None the less, avoid using friends and relatives, that’s not the idea, the spirit, and sooner or later someone is going to spot the same face or other detail that is going to ruin the public credibility forever (because on the inside there’s already that feeling).
Always keep in mind that in street photography the set, the light, and models are free of charge… but wild. That’s the price to pay. So, be patient. Nothing interesting there? Keep moving. You feel safe shooting in a crowd, in a touristic place? Good. But be aware that you are in a mind game now, and people behave differently in public spaces. So why don’t you try those parallel streets (with safety)?
Moment and/vs Composition:
This is 2013. Unless you are using an analogic camera, why don’t you shoot? And shoot some more. Carry the camera with you, always (I do). Better to have and delete than the opposite. And I really don’t advise deleting photos based on what you see on your camera LCD, make that decision at home, in front of the monitor.
Stay tuned for “those” characters and unusual actions, but don’t forget about the rest. An everyday situation, with the proper composition, is a keeper and a win. Invest some time looking into composition techniques. Slowly, with time, they came naturally, you don’t even have to think about it the moment you are composing a fast frame.
Try your best to get the best photo you can, on the spot, and think about processing after. Never the other way around. And have some fun! You are documenting the time you live in.
Have a great week.