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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> How do I become a street photographer overnight?
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03/20/2012 11:58:26 AM · #1
On Saturday I'm off to Carrefour, Haiti for a week of working in a tent village. I'll be bringing my camera and strapping it to my belt thanks to a clip from ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' chromeydome. I'm only bringing my nifty 50 and my 24-105, but even the latter may be too heavy for the long haul (as I'm really there to work instead of taking pictures).

Street photography has never been a strength of mine, but I'm looking for those nuggets of wisdom that might allow me to come home with some powerful, human pictures.

Open the floodgates of knowledge!
03/20/2012 11:59:42 AM · #2
Just to share a bit about where I'm going and a really crazy coincidence, check out this blog (no it's NOT by me)...

Carrefour blog by paramedic Jason Friesen
03/20/2012 12:18:41 PM · #3
I am no street photographer, but I would suggest you shoot what you see. Create the story that you want to tell. Use all of your shots to tell that story, and try to capture one or two shots that tells the whole story. Look for the emotion of the people, both the sadness and the joy. Show the destruction and the construction. Show the start and the finish. Show everything in between.
03/20/2012 12:21:01 PM · #4
I would attack it like a photo journalist.
03/20/2012 12:27:18 PM · #5
If you are in a busy are a with lots of other tourists, then nobody will pay any mind to your camera and you can get natural shots. If you prefer street portraits, then my approach is to explain that I am an amateur photographer, just looking for interesting faces and would they mind? I usually ask them about themselves and what they are doing. That gets them talking and becoming enthusiastic instead of worrying about the camera. Also gives me some interesting stories to go along with the pics. If it's someone like the shoeshine guy, who works for tips, or even a panhandler then I find it appropriate to give them something for their time and bother.
03/20/2012 12:29:43 PM · #6
Doc, I love the street and my best advice may seem like it comes from Captain Obvious, but here it is anyway:
Watch for interesting people.
Somehow, interesting things seem to happen around interesting people. Anyone who looks or acts a little 'out there' pretty soon does something frame-worthy. So you don't have to figure out what the shot is; they will show you that if you just hang around a bit.

As for the rest of it, do whatever you like to do, but just simplify everything as much as possible. Street photography is like blues music; endless improvisations on a few simple chord patterns. The important bit isn't the chords; it's the improv.

Message edited by author 2012-03-20 12:38:00.
03/20/2012 12:32:49 PM · #7
Originally posted by H.G. Wells:

I recommend my proven Method to become a great street photographer 'overnight.'

Climb into your time machine with your current camera. Go back 2 years in time. Shoot nothing but street photography entering every day's best pic in DPC. When you get to the present, shoot for one more day and you'll be a great street photographer, 'overnight!'
03/20/2012 12:42:41 PM · #8
Click this and read
03/20/2012 12:51:44 PM · #9
Those links look good Eli. I'm going to check them out.

I'll definitely take your advice to heart ubique. And Spiff, I have a few problems. First, we aren't going to be in a tourist area. Second, my creole is going to be limited to a few phrases. "Photo?"

The best street photography seems to be from people unafraid of taking pictures and dealing with the few people who get upset. I'll have to remember I am an ambassador and visitor to their country and I will need to put this above my desire for good pictures. I'll have to find the balancing act there.
03/20/2012 12:56:53 PM · #10
Watch Me
And This
Even more
The Best For Last - The true meaning of street photograhy
03/20/2012 01:11:46 PM · #11
Good luck! The last time I was out of the country I missed sooooo many shots for the simple reason that I didn't want to appear like a tourist. I had such a problem with that, for some reason.
How do you distinguish between a stupid tourist and a distinguished photographer? I have no freaking clue.

My only tip:
When in doubt, zoom out. Things we find distracting on the street are often great objects that set the scene. And you can always crop later if it doesn't work.
03/20/2012 01:20:08 PM · #12
Remember that street photography is not the perfect art shots that win challenges.There will be distracting elements all over the place. Poles from heads, disembodied limbs in your frame. The point is to capture the moment as best you can, but if you fuss over getting it perfect, you may miss that moment.
03/20/2012 01:23:18 PM · #13
Watch your angle. When I was studying some awesome street photography, it seemed like the photographer crouched down for every shot, changing the perspective just a tad, but making the photograph that much more interesting.
03/20/2012 01:28:56 PM · #14
Originally posted by vawendy:

Watch your angle. When I was studying some awesome street photography, it seemed like the photographer crouched down for every shot, changing the perspective just a tad, but making the photograph that much more interesting.

The only problem with those kind of shots is the ground is usually in the way.
03/21/2012 02:42:31 PM · #15
Wait, for a long time.

See, don't chimp.

Shoot, more than once.
03/21/2012 02:49:30 PM · #16
Originally posted by vawendy:

Watch your angle. When I was studying some awesome street photography, it seemed like the photographer crouched down for every shot, changing the perspective just a tad, but making the photograph that much more interesting.


I always crouch down, i shouldn't because it makes me dizzy when I get back up :) i also try at least four angles if I can depending on the subject, the difference can be astounding and it help us learn, that's why I prefere a prime lens because we begin to know so much more about where we should be and when.
03/21/2012 03:29:48 PM · #17
Sounds like a wonderful place for street photography. Mixing work and photography will be tough. You really don't want to make people feel uncomfortable. Hopefully you'll have some free time to wonder. I find if I'm with others it's easier to approach people and click off a candid. Sometimes from the hip to be discrete. For me, street photography is so much about timing and getting lucky. When you see something there is a good chance it won't last long. I shoot most candid shots with the camera in both hands hanging around my neck. You get a feel with your hand on how to aim without looking at your cameras screen or viewfinder. I even try not to look at my subject when I shoot. Basically, just click off a bunch of stuff and review them when you get home. If you have a good day you might find a few gems.

Enjoy your trip.
03/21/2012 03:44:11 PM · #18
one advice (which I don't always follow out of necessity) is to take your time and hang around an interesting place and/or people for a while. Not only you'll have a much better chance to catch something good, but also people will get used to you and start acting normally without paying much attention to you and your camera. Striking a small conversation also helps a lot. I also sometimes find myself following (discreetly) an interesting person, or moving ahead of him until I "have a shot". Feels like a real hunt sometimes :)
03/21/2012 04:34:32 PM · #19
What Jagar said about using primes is interesting. I can see how this would make it easier to understand where you need to be. I usually use a zoom lens and unless it's all the way in I need to take a look to see what's in the frame. Something to think about.

Message edited by author 2012-03-21 21:07:30.
03/29/2012 07:57:18 PM · #20
Originally posted by IAmEliKatz:

Click this and read


Best Website Ever!!!
04/04/2012 02:48:16 PM · #21
Some very early results from the trip. I have a ton of shots to go through and I'd love to work some up in B&W, but that's a whole 'nuther thing I need to get better at.

Haiti 2012
04/04/2012 02:58:54 PM · #22
Offhand, I'd say you did really well. The picture of the girl is phenomenal.
04/04/2012 02:59:42 PM · #23
those are great. Hope to see some of the other ones as you go. Love the third one.
04/04/2012 03:09:33 PM · #24
.

Message edited by author 2012-04-06 14:46:45.
04/04/2012 03:15:10 PM · #25
Originally posted by ubique:

Watch for interesting people.


Boom.

Oh and then post them here for all to see :)

Message edited by author 2012-04-04 15:16:44.
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