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PE: Street Photography for dummies

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 5:00 AM

My Street PhotoBlog: Streets of Athens

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If you like what you read, please :+favlove: this article so it reaches more deviants



A brief guide to Street Photography beginners



Shiny Happy People by StamatisGR

What do we need to shoot a Street picture?




1. A camera


Whatever kind of a camera is good. Either it is a ridiculously expensive rangefinder or an unbelievably cheap point and shoot compact. Either it shoots digital or it shoots film. Either it weighs a ton or it weighs few grams. ANY camera is fine as long as you have it with you. The most expensive rangefinder or SLR is completely useless if it's been left at home! So...Carry a camera. Always.

2. A public place


This can be out in the streets or at the beach or inside a hotel's lounge or in a diner place or inside a supermarket or a mall or a school or whatever PUBLIC place. This public place must be visible in our picture. And things must be happening in this public place.

3. People


Exactly, people! We need people in candid, unstaged situations.
Definition of "candid" from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary: "subjects acting naturally or spontaneously without being posed" Definition of "candid" from Wikipedia: "Candid photography is best described as un-posed and unplanned, immediate and unobtrusive. This is in contrast to classic photography, which includes aspects such as carefully staged portrait photography, landscape photography or object photography. Candid photography catches moments of life from immersion in it."

4. A story,


a unique moment, an interaction between people and their environment or between people and people, a special "something" that is being happening in front of our eyes and it is worth capturing in a picture.

There's nothing special in people strolling down a street if we can't focus our attention in something special that's being happening in front of our lens.

Let's see now some examples of pictures that don't follow these guidelines:

First Autumn Rain-Song+Lyrics by StamatisGR
We have the street, we don't have the people here.

:bigthumb96969131:
Here we have the people but we don't have the environment, the place. The moment is candid, unstaged but it's totally out of context.

Warm light, cold women by StamatisGR
Both people and environment are present here, but there isn't really a strong interaction between them.

Colour vs B/W


Street photography is very much about composition. Sometimes colour can be distructing. Sometimes colour adds to the frame and is a vital element of it. Try both.
Black and yellow by cosmin-m   Mobile facebook by cosmin-m

Decide yourself what suits you better in every particular picture. Avoid selective colouring which produces totally unatural results and forcibly guides our attention to a certain part of the image. Avoid partly desaturating or tinting. "Street" needs no cheap frills which make a good image bad and a bad image worse. "Street" needs to be raw, as much straight out of the film or the sensor. 

Street, Photojournalism or Portrait?


Very often, the line between Street Photography, Photojournalism, or Portrait Photography is very THIN and responsible for endless arguements. Many times there are subtle differences between these three genres and images may belong to 2 or even all 3 of them. I have a simple rule in my mind which usually helps me differentiate them.  If an image has the potential to be published in a newspaper as "news", it's Photojournalism. If the subject(s) is out of context, it's a portrait.
In the end though, it really doesn't matter which category an image falls in.
If it's a GOOD image, that's all that it counts ;)

Coming tomorrow


Street Photography for experts


Add a Comment:
 
:icondragonfruity:
Dragonfruity Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013   Photographer
and what about the right in one's own image?
Dont we have to ask the people before we submit photos of them online? :O_o:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013   Photographer
If you feel like asking, you can ask.
The law says that in public spaces you can take pictures of anyone you like.
For god's sake, we are taking pictures, we are not stealing souls as the native Indians believed.
Reply
:iconbagigi:
Bagigi Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
Concise and clear! :)
Reply
:iconadvenadesign:
Advenadesign Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012   General Artist
Very interesting. Thank you
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012   Photographer
most welcome.
Reply
:iconsteppeland:
steppeland Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012   Photographer
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconjacac:
JACAC Featured By Owner May 2, 2012
:giggle:
Reply
:iconbatmantoo:
batmantoo Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you Stam for this article. It's concise, short and a very good guideline.
Like the good boy I am, I faved it. :)
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012   Photographer
thanks mate! :D
Reply
:iconwafflefan:
wafflefan Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aplo kai katanoito!!! :) euxaristoume!
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012   Photographer
να σαι καλά Άννα!
Reply
:iconwafflefan:
wafflefan Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
εγω ευχαριστω που κοιταξες τις φωτογραφιες μου! τη συγκεκριμενη που εβαλες στη συλλογη σου δεν την ειχα καν στην κατηγορια street..!
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012   Photographer
Θα έπρεπε. Είναι καλή! :)
Reply
:iconwafflefan:
wafflefan Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:D
Reply
:iconumachernoff:
umachernoff Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Nice, succinct, useful, and to the point. I love articles that are simply clearly stated.
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012   Photographer
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconcanankk:
Canankk Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
Great series I :heart: them all! Thanks for sharing. :huggle:
I hope people read it and learn that street photography does not mean an empty street :faint:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
Indeed it dosn't :)
Reply
:iconcanankk:
Canankk Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
:rofl: Hopeless case.
Reply
:iconpinkturtle1974:
Pinkturtle1974 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
I totally love this article! :heart:
Thanks Stamatis!
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconpen-at-work:
PEN-at-Work Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
The one man machine, Stam!

On behalf of all the 591098 future street lovers that you have incubated and cultivated, me being one of them, :hug:

Pelle
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
you make me blush, honey :flirty: :lol:
Reply
:iconrayvenseye:
RayvensEye Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   General Artist
I would love to do more street photography, but I am always worried people getting mad at me for taking their photos without permission. I think that is mostly due to doing photography work for newspapers and magazines too long where I was expected to get permission though.
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
I've been shooting street for years and no one got mad at me :)
We are taking pictures, we don't steal souls for god's sake! :lol:
Reply
:iconrayvenseye:
RayvensEye Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   General Artist
LOL :D
Well I will see what I can capture then this week !:)
Reply
:iconarichy:
Arichy Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:clap:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconm112a:
m112a Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm not a street photographer, but i have a friend who goes for street photo-shoots and i sometimes spend time with him chatting and having ideas about how they capture their subject.. and believe me; the picture you posted as a bad example (the one with a lady waiting for the traffic to pass) it's not a bad example.. it has a story in it, it speaks about the busy life plus it has good composition also.
Reply
:iconreggar:
reggar Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
I don't think that picture was meant as a bad example, but more probably for (color vs) b/w.
Reply
:iconm112a:
m112a Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
oh, ok.. i see the point now.
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
Thank you for your comment.
In a broader sense, every image has a story to tell regardless its gender.
The image that you point at, may have a story, but it lacks the decisive moment :)
Reply
:iconaeues:
aeues Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Nice :strip:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconlonelysorceress:
LonelySorceress Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Student Photographer
This is so useful. Very clear and simple wording, straight to the point without side-tracking.

I have to re-do a street photography project because I didn't understand the basic principles of the....genre? But this has made it so much more understandable for me. Thank you.
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:icondu-jamais-vu:
du-jamais-vu Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
excellent, stam! great introduction to the basics of street photograph...
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
Let's move forward now :lol:
Reply
:icondu-jamais-vu:
du-jamais-vu Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
y...




haha
Reply
:iconfiregirl27tx:
firegirl27tx Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome basic info :la: any guidelines on getting permission?
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
It depends on the country's laws the photographer is.
A simple google search would provide them to you :)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahh, thanks :)

From a courtesy perspective, do you have recommendations?
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Photographer
I usually never ask for permission, unless if it's to use the image for commercial reasons which is something I've never done so far. In my country, one does not have to ask permission in order to photograph someone in a public place.
If my subject notices me, a broad, warm smile fixes everything and from my experience I never found myself in a difficult position during all these years that I am shooting street :)
I always try to respect my subjects and don't depict them in awkward positions, and I avoid shooting beggars and homeless people, unless the scene is an exceptional one.
Asking for permission, provides you with a portrait not with a stret picture. Your subjects pose in front of the camera and the decisive moment is not there anymore.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, yeah :) I was thinking maybe after you take the picture, ask them if it's ok to post? Sounds like respecting should be enough though.

I think people in Greece are nicer than Chicago, personally :B
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
If you ask them if it's ok to post, is like implying that it might be not ok to post which could make your subject suspicious for no reason. Unless you want to spend the rest of your day explaining what is posting, what is street photography, what is deviantArt, why you're taking pictures of strangers instead of watching tv or minding your own business, then I suggest not asking them :lol:
People are nice everywhere if you are nice with them (I like to believe) :)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahh good point, I like this logic! If I do see something amazing I'll keep it.in mind, I have this habit of letting all the good moments slip D:

Unless they just got off the public transit. It's fallen way behind in Chicago...only some areas have nice buses. :giggle:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012   Photographer
you're not aware of the buses in Greece :lol:
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconpavboq:
pavboq Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
That was a great piece of information Stam! Another lesson I've learned. Thank you! You deserve a nice bottle of Μεταξά:)
Reply
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