Tips on How to Start a Street Photography Project

Welcome to another article on street photography! On Friday we’ve given you a few tips on what to look for when out on the streets with your camera in hand and today it’s time we gave you a few tips on how to start your very own street photography project.

JH Engstrom is a Swedish photographer and artist who lives in Paris, France. His photographs are stunning portrayals of the human condition and its loneliness and absurdity. When he goes out in public spaces and photographs people and objects, he immerses himself in the atmosphere and you should do the same. Don’t copy other artists and photographers, but learn from them about the way they are approaching their subjects and their photography. JH famously said that he’s more interested in confusing rather than exxplaining, so find your approach very own approach to photography. Find what drives you to take photos in the first place and you’ll come up with a street photography project in no time.

street photography project JH Engström

Let’s assume that somehow you are fascinated by people with piercings. Make your street photography project about that. Learn where to go to find people with piercings, befriend some of them, talk to them and ask for more information that will help you create photographs that matter, that people would want to see.

Finding a street photography project is very important because it will help you stay focused when shooting and it will help you gain more insight into a subject. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to start a street photography project.

Focus on the work, rather on showing your work.

People get so excited these days. Whenever they take a good shot, they’re so eager to show it off and share it with friends. The great thing about a photography project is that you can’t (or should not) do that until your project is over. Some people think that a good time for a photography project would be one year. One year where you immerse yourself in a project and a subject would be enough to get you to be a connoisseur, if not an expert on that matter. It would give you enough time to get some great photographs and if you resist sharing them, the impact of you work would be so much greater.

Making projects is also much better from an artistic point of view than showcasing a single image. As powerful as it may be, one single image doesn’t have the ability to tell the stories that a project has.

Have an amazing street photography concept.

Really think about what you’re getting yourself into. You’re going to be spending one year if not more photographing people and places that deal with a single concept and subject. Make it worth your while, because if it doesn’t, then you would have wasted your precious time.

Think about what fascinates you, what scares you, rather than what you’re comfortable with. Don’t think about things that the world would be interested, but think about what you would be interested in. Be selfish and inquisitive!

Once you come up with a concept, leave it aside for a while and think about some more. When you get the right idea for a street photography project, you’ll be able to see the light bulb go off in your head.

Give cohesion to your images by staying consistent with your gear.

It may be hard to achieve, especially if you’re shooting for a long time, but do try to use the same camera, film type and lens. It will help the project look better.

Get feedback.

Feedback is really important in this line of work, so you should have someone you can rely on to give you constructive feedback. Because you won’t be publishing any photographs of your project for a long period of time, you are going to need some human input, someone who will tell you if you’re going in the right direction or not.

Edit, sequence and publish

Once you’re done shooting, comes the more laborious part of editing and sequencing your photographs. Try to keep it as simple as possible, especially if it’s your first project. When sequencing your photos, keep in mind that there should be cohesiveness and a certain degree of flow between the photographs. When all that is done, publish your project on Flickr, Facebook, your own personal Blog, or get a traditional publisher to publish your work in book.

Do you have any other thoughts on this matter that you would like to share with us? Drop us a line in the comment section below.

Street Photography – What to Look for When Out on the Streets?

Welcome back to our second article on street photography! Last Monday we promised you we would take a more in-depth look at street photography, and that time has come! Today we’re going to talk about what to look for when out on the streets to serve as inspiration.

So, you’ve got your camera with you and you’re out on the street, but you can’t aimlessly walk around holding your camera until you see something impressive and worth shooting. Or can you? Well, if you’re just starting out in the street photography field, then I’m afraid you are going to do a bit of wandering about until you start to see the street with new eyes. Because basically, that’s what you need to learn to do. You’re no longer a simple walker of the streets, you’re an observer and one needs to learn how to observe.

Put your most comfortable shoes and clothes on and walk the streets! Take a seat somewhere where there are a lot of people and start observing. People watching can really be an interesting thing and you can end up getting lost in it, which is a wonderful thing.

Almost all street photographers are talking about the decisive moment, a term coined by one of the earliest street photographers in the world, Henry Cartier-Bresson. That decisive moment is the moment when you know that what you’re seeing needs to be captured on camera. It’s when everything just comes together to create a close to perfect moment; it’s about timing! There may be many decisive moments when you’re out on the streets and that’s OK. Take out your camera and snap pictures every time you feel you’re having one of those moments. You’ll find out later if the moment gave you a good picture or not.

street photography ed peters

Ed Peters

The decisive moment usually comes from facial expressions, gestures, movement and action, so make sure you snap more pictures so that you have where to choose from.

The capture of emotion is mainly what drives the photographer to become a street photographer. Isn’t this what photography does best? Show us who we really are?

Strong emotion will give you the best photographs, but strong emotion is really hard to come by and harder to capture. Do you really have what it takes to go to a man who is crying on the street and take his picture? Can you do it? You’ll have to, if you want to be a street photographer!

Another fun and great tool for capturing street photography and creating amazing shots is juxtaposition. This refers to contrasting elements in your frame. Think about a man carrying a yellow umbrella in a crowd of people with black umbrellas. This is a perfect example of juxtaposition.

street photography Maria Serban-Temisan

Maria Serban-Temisan

Take the above photograph and see how much more powerful this image is thanks to the red background the soldier happened to walk by. It singles out the soldier, it makes him the star of the shot.

If you’re looking for using juxtaposition in your photographs, then you should start off by searching for an interesting background. Billboards and building walls make great places to start. What you could also do is juxtapose emotions. Go to a playground and capture the only crying child among the sea of laughing children. You get the idea!

Not all street photography needs to focus on emotions! You could find interesting shapes and shadows and play with them until you get something interesting and worth shooting. You need a bit of a trained eye to get the perfect angle, but practice will get you there!

street photography christophe agou

Christophe Agou

Another great tip for doing street photography is to focus on details. This will increase the mystery and will offer a clean and fresh view of objects and body parts. Sometimes we forget to look in people’s eyes or look at their hands and a photograph of those bits and pieces can really shake us up.

Also, don’t just look at the people when out on the streets! Look to the ground and see what you can find there. Again, use common objects to achieve uncommon photographs. Take them out of context, juxtapose them, do close-ups, play with them and with the camera until you get something good.

Do you have any more tips and tricks for getting out there on the streets and taking the perfect street photograph? Share them with us in the comment section below.

An Introduction to Street Photography

Have you ever seen something that inspired you on the street while you were walking and you wished you had your camera with you to immortalize the moment? I’m sure you have, all of us have. If this happens to you often, then maybe you should think about going into street photography.

In this article we’re going to take a look at what street photography is, we’re also going to discuss approaching strangers and how to overcome the fear or embarrassment you might feel when shooting in the street. This article is only the first one on street photography, but don’t worry, more will follow, in which we’ll discuss what to look for when out on the streets with your camera, which cameras to use, what settings and much, much more. But for now, let’s begin with the basics.

What is Street Photography?

street photography donato buccella

Donato Buccella

Well, it’s exactly what you think it is: it is the process of documenting everyday life and the society in which we live in. Street photography doesn’t even need to be shot in the street for it to be street photography. You can take pictures in malls, parks, airports and even subways (pretty much any public space) and it’s still going to be street photography.

What you almost always (notice the almost) need in order for street photography to be street photography is candidness. Almost all street photographs are done candidly, that is without permission or knowledge of the subjects involved. If you are not OK with this, then you could ask permission from the people you are photographing, and that is simply fine. A photograph doesn’t automatically become street photography if it is taken candidly, so relax and do things that make you feel the most comfortable. Street photography should capture emotion and humanity; it should be illustrate society and its rules and inhabitants. Street photography usually includes people, but it doesn’t always have to. Again, do things your way, but try to follow the general guidelines, which are: candidness, people and public spaces. Capturing emotional and powerful moments will create emotional and powerful images.

Approaching Strangers

street photography umberto verdoliva

Umberto Verdoliva

Approaching strangers can be a really hard thing to do for some people, while for others it comes naturally. If you’re one of those people who dread approaching people they don’t know, then I think you should think about the worst case scenario. What is the worst thing it can happen if you approach a stranger? Well, to be honest, they could reject you, which is totally fine. We’ve talked before about how to interact with your models, you should take a look at that.

The best way to approach strangers is to be honest about your intentions and do a lot of smiling. You would be surprised how much smiling matters in street photography. Sometimes you’ll look like a mad person, but if that’s going to get people to allow you to take their photograph, then it’s worth it!

How to Get Over the Fear of Shooting Street Photography

street photography ed peters

Ed Peters

Robert Capa, Hungarian war photographer and photojournalist, said that if your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough. Sorry to say that he’s pretty much right, which means that a lot of people are going to have a hard time getting close to capture the perfect shot. The best way to overcome your fear of shooting street photography is to know that what you’re doing is a good thing. Know that people can indeed react in different ways, but most people on the street are decent people who will appreciate a nice smile or a thank you.

You can also bring a friend with you, at the beginning if you think that it’s going to help you be a little more relaxed. Also, you can ask for people’s permission to shoot them, if you’re in doubt. Tell them why you’re taking their photo and if they don’t let you do it, respect their choice and move on.

Any more tips you would like to share with us on street photography? Drop us a line in the comment section below. Cheers!