Three times a year a local town has it’s street market where all of the local shops throw open their doors and display their wares outside and inside for shoppers to peruse. Other local crafts people – and food trucks – show up as well for food, fun, and shopping. This all makes for fun and great street photography opportunities. So just what is street photography?
Street photography is an art photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. wikipedia How do you approach street photography? Do you go stealth mode and try to blend into the surroundings to take the photos without the subjects knowing? When they look up and notice you do you get all flustered and walk away? Maybe you try the “I’m a tourist” approach and act as though you are photographing the scenery and not really the people?
Perhaps you are of the pretend you are focusing on something that is next to or behind the person/people you really are trying to photograph method or you shoot from the hip. Maybe you are a bold soul and just take the photo without any apologies or contact with the subject…or do you interact with the people you want to photograph? With street photography there is no one size fits all, you do what works for you; you develop your own style.
I have done all of the above at one time or another. There have been times when not interacting with the subject made for a more powerful image as compared to speaking with them and they struck a “typical” pose. Then again, sometimes those posed shots can turn out to be great depending on the individuals personality. You never know what will happen until you step out there and give it a try. While I attempted to “blend” into the crowd for the other shots, with little Miss Stroller I smiled at the baby, had a few quick words with the mother about how adorable she was, and then asked if I could take her little girls photo. She said yes.
I continued to speak to the little girl as I was photographing her. This made the baby comfortable and gave me the cute shot shown here. Talking to children in a gentle way helps with portrait sessions as well. To me, when photographing children, if you can ask the permission of the parents first, do so! A smile and a compliment go a long way here. The last thing you want is to be thought of as some unsavory character or to incur the wrath of a loving parent. Interacting with someone and asking if you can take their picture shows respect and can make for some memorable shots. But if someone waves you off or says no – move on. Let common sense be your guide when deciding who to photograph and how.
Here are a few pins from my portrait photography Pinterest board with tips on street photography.