Street photography is a classic genre of photography and one that needs no introduction. Just about everyone who has studied photography to some extent has heard of and seen the works of great street photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Steve Curry. Their works have inspired millions of photographers, some who don’t even practice street photography.
If you have an interest in street photography and want to give it a try for yourself, it can be a little overwhelming at first. Especially if you’re used to shooting in more controlled environments such a studio. But don’t fear—nothing is impossible with a little practice. To that end, here are a few tips you can use to get yourself started on the right track.
Don’t Limit Yourself To Black & White
A lot of street photography is ultimately converted to black in white during the post processing phase. Typically, this is done because the photographer doesn’t want the colors inside an image to add any distraction to the decisive moment they are trying to capture. While I’m a fan of theory (it does indeed work very well), I don’t think street photography should always be limited to black and white.
When you’re editing your shots, pay attention to the colors in them and decide whether it should be color or black and white based on that individual photo. If there is too much color in the background, it very well could work out that a black and white treatment is best. However, if you’re shooting something like the Holi festival in India, you’re going to want to those beautiful vibrant colors to help bring your images alive.
Work Towards Developing Your Own Personal Style
Study the works of classic and modern street photographers alike. Get to know their process inside and out. Strive to understand their thought process when they’re out there on the streets taking photos. But resist the temptation to copy their style. Sometimes this is done without even realizing one is doing it, so always remember to look at your own work critically.
Ideally, you’ll be able to pull bits and pieces from all the photographers you like and use them to develop a style that is unique to you. Regardless of what kind of photography you shoot, the mark of an excellent photographer is style. You want someone to look at one of your photos and know that you took it without having to be told so.
Bravery Is A Required Skill
One of the most intimidating aspects of street photography is being brave enough to walk right up to your subject without saying a word and snapping their photo. It takes guts, which is a necessary aspect of street photography. Luckily, this too is something that can be learned. It will get easier with time and eventually become second nature, but you still need to take that first step and just get out there and do it!