How to become proficient in street photography?

Street photography captures the scenes of people’s everyday lives. Using simple techniques in this article, street photographers can take better photos.

Undoubtedly, perseverance and training are needed to succeed in anything. In disciplines such as music or sports that have rules and regulations, perseverance and practice are a prerequisite for success, but in a field such as street photography , practicing alone can be a bit confusing. So, first of all, we have to learn the best general way to practice in this field.

Street photographyA photo that has been taken many times with the same idea and in different situations, and this is a snapshot of the moment.

Regular exercise versus conscious exercise

Regular exercise occurs when you do something without thinking constantly. Most of the things we have learned in life, such as using a fork, talking, tying our shoes, and so forth are the result of regular exercise. Regular exercise has allowed us to gradually become skilled at these tasks. This also applies to most tasks that require a particular skill. For example, if you play the guitar for 4 minutes every day, it is true that you have only a little practice but in the long run you can become a professional guitarist. So is street photography. Just take an hour every day. This is a regular exercise.

In fields such as music or sports, you can easily identify where you are weak and practice to fix it. In basketball, for example, you may have weaknesses in free throw or you may not be able to play a part of the song with the guitar. In these cases, you need conscious exercise. In Conscious Practice Using Skills and Targeting Weaknesses We try to fix problems. Conscious practice is when you try to work on a very specific way to a very specific skill set. This exercise includes feedback, fixed rules, and a set of constraints. In this article, we examine these three cases.

But how can we use conscious practice in photography?

Street photography

Orange stripes with 1mm lens (Ricoh GR II)

Street photography

Same place a few weeks later with a 2mm lens (Nikon D4)

Limitations are important: Prime Prime Lenses

In photography, especially street photography, it is difficult to classify the skills needed. When shooting photography, it is important to focus on the limitations.

In photography we can apply limitations in many aspects, most notably the focal length. That’s why prime lenses have been widely acclaimed by street photographers. Photographers think these lenses enhance their creativity, but in fact, they limit the field of view by teaching photographers how to adjust the frame by moving their body. These settings over time lead to better spatial awareness and understanding of the effects of specific focal lengths.

So, as we said about conscious exercise, it is better to focus on this disadvantage. If you have been shooting with a 2mm prime lens for many years, using a 1mm or 1mm lens may help you improve your skill with their focal lengths as well.

With zoom lenses, photography becomes a conscious and thoughtful experience where the location and consequently the perspective are less affected by the lenses. You can easily select a perspective and then adjust the focal length and finally adjust your perspective.

Street photography

The photographer had a 5mm lens but felt he could take better pictures with a 7mm lens. However, having a prime lens helped him to capture an interesting combination at one point. This limitation made him creative.

Of course you can learn all of this with the zoom lens, but using the focal length limitation can make your practice more efficient.

If you don’t have a prime lens, you can adjust your lenses to a specific focal length and shoot for a few days.

With this exercise the mind becomes a zoom lens and gradually becomes a prime lens for the photographer of the zoom lens. This is not to look at the markings on the lens and adjust exactly 1mm or 2mm or whatever before taking a photo, but it is subjective for the photographer. That is to say, before you shoot, I need about 1mm or about 1mm for this photo. This way, you will gradually come up with the right idea for each situation.

The simplicity of prime lenses forces photographers to think in a creative and different way. This is in fact the same method of conscious exercise. Prime lenses make the limitations and therefore they are a great tool for establishing the right relationship between focal length and field of view.

Street photography

Aperture Priority Photography

After practicing with both manual and aperture modes for a while, the photographer realized that it needed 2 stops of light.

Exposure restrictions: Manual mode

Using prime lenses we can limit the field of view. Another way to limit photography is to use manual mode. In general, this is not a necessity for street photography. Although manual mode can provide continuous and accurate exposure, in some cases this can be a hindrance to photography.

You can use Aperture Priority Aperture when taking a street photo. But using manual mode is essential for people who are training Exposure exposure. This limitation allows the photographer to think about the three main settings and to understand the relationship between them. These include the shutter speed, aperture and ISO that are present in each camera.

You can also go a step further and lock one or two of your camera’s original settings to Lock. This will allow you to have a unique and fixed composition for two adjustments and adjust just one to correct exposure in photos. you have. For example, on a sunny day you can select F / 2 for aperture and shutter speed 1/4 and adjust the ISO only if needed to get the proper exposure.

Similarly at night you can select F / 2.8 and ISO 1600 and then adjust the shutter speed if needed.

It is important to understand how these settings work alone or together. This makes it easier to understand what happens when shooting in semi-auto modes such as aperture priority with Auto ISO sensitivity .

The ultimate goal is to go beyond the stage where you know the camera’s performance is magic and your mind is aware of what the camera is doing.

This will allow you to capture more opportunities for street photography in street photography. Because in this type of photography speed is very important and you only have a few seconds for each photo.

Street photography

A photo inspired by Siegfried Hansen’s work

Street photography

A photo inspired by Saul Litter

Limitations on the subject: Imitate professors

After the frame and exposure limitations, the third limitation we can apply is the style or theme limitation. An easy and fun way to do this is to imitate the professors. That is, you can find a photographer you admire or include specific aspects that you would like your photos to have.

When you find the professor you want, identify your overall theme and the choices your professor has made in your work. Then start shooting and keep asking yourself: What does my professor do in this photo?

Introducing and introducing three inspiring professors:

The first master of the web is Alex Webb . His photographs emphasize several layers and themes, all assembled into a single whole. His work is famous for having many individual subjects in one frame.

Street photography

Saul Liter illustrates vague topics with distinctive color spots in the foreground.

The next photographer is Saul Leiter . In his photos we can see an abstract approach to color and shape. Saul Litter sometimes refuses to make a direct picture of human subjects, and his choices are more abstract. His emphasis is on blurry spots in the foreground and he regularly uses reflections and glass in his images. Bad weather photography is also commonplace in liters.

Siegfried Hansen, professor of geometry and the use of lines and shapes in his work, is the third photographer we can draw inspiration from. Most Hanson photos do not include people, which is a bit unusual for most street photographers.

All three of the photographers mentioned use color to the last degree and do little to monochrome (monochrome).

Although the work of each of these photographers can be analyzed in greater depth, these visual elements and ideas are subjects that can be kept in mind when practicing photography. There are many masters you can take inspiration from and take pictures of.

Street photography

A photo by Saul Liter

Your feedback and coaches

The last and probably most important part of conscious practice is feedback. Feedback is not exclusively for conscious practice, and criticism and feedback is undoubtedly important for growing on any subject, including art. The problem arises when we can’t find a coach to give feedback.

How can we fix this problem?

You can be your own mentor by using template teachers. In fact, when you’re shooting, you can still think to yourself how your teacher would take this photo if you were to take it? Or you could even focus on certain aspects of your composition and ask yourself how did my master work on this framing, timing, or any other subject in this photo? With this method you can create a mental checklist of your must-have’s.

For example, here are five questions from this checklist that you can review in your mind when shooting.

  • What if I removed a better picture from this frame?
  • What should I add to my frame in my photography environment to get a better photo?
  • Can I improve the navigation lines on the scene by moving them to corners and so on?
  • Is the timing just right? Have I taken a photo at the right moment?
  • Can I photograph better? For example, a better passer to improve the composition of the photo?

A mental checklist can include everything you think you need to shoot.You can think about the weaknesses or aspects that you like to get better at, and keep them in mind when shooting. Noting these also makes it easier for you to remember them.

Street photography

An example of duplicate photos, frames and the general idea of ​​these photos haven’t changed much, but the composition has changed slightly from one photo to another.

Street photography

With door handles

Street photography

No door handles

Street photography

Finally this photo is selected as the final photo with a slight gradient.

Focus on your mental checklist and take more duplicate photos.

As a final point, when taking street photography, it is best to observe the following:

  • Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to focus. That is, put your phone in flight or put it in your bag.
  • Always bring a camera and a lens with you for photography. This may be a disadvantage at times, but it makes you less hesitant when shooting. That means you don’t doubt whether I should change the lens or not. It is, in fact, the idea of ​​limitation that stimulates creativity.
  • For more focus, try shooting with an empty stomach. For some photographers, eating food kills their creativity and focuses more when they are hungry. Also, after a few hours of photography, eating a good meal is like getting a reward.
  • And finally, when you shoot a subject, the first few photos are not counted. Even more when you’re happy with your first photo. Give yourself a specific purpose. Like shooting any subject from ten different perspectives or as many as you like. The important thing is to force yourself to think more about how to frame a picture.

What do you think about this?

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