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two40
10-15-2008, 05:57 PM
(BTW, I dig the dollar portraits)

thanks jason. it's early days yet and i don't like my results but i hope to improve over time.


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Alisha, i'm less than a year into my photography and i only got into it after shooting street one time. it might not be for everyone but for me it is really rewarding. i can walk around the city streets and not take any frames and come away with something. i get exercise, see things out of this world, meet people and feel a rush with most clicks of the shutter. most recently i've started to approach people for their portraits. 95% say yes. i never imagined that would be the case.

i've subscribed to this thread. i look forward to hearing about your experience on the street. and if you ever feel shy about it just watch this video of Bruce Gilden (http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=kkIWW6vwrvM) doing his street thing. granted you won't survive more than an hour doing this outside of NYC but still... :)

MattKing
10-15-2008, 08:07 PM
Alisha (and others):

One thing to keep in mind about most types of photography, street photography included, is that with time and effort, you will most likely gain skill at it. Each experience will teach you something more about it, and add to your list of tricks and techniques.

It is amazing how much less anxious you will feel once you gain some experience :).

It also really helps to have an identifiable purpose. Most of my street photography was done in the context of working for a newspaper. It really helped if people knew why I was doing what I was doing.

Matt

montecarlo
10-20-2008, 02:47 PM
Hello Alisha,
Here are some links with tips
http://www.markushartel.com/tutorials/
http://www.markushartel.com/tutorials/basics/street-photography-qa.html
and inspiration
http://www.in-public.com/photographers
http://www.public-life.org/
http://www.seconds2real.com/member.htm
and many more on the net.
:)

Joe VanCleave
10-24-2008, 10:53 AM
The more I study the work, and working methods, of "famous" street/documentary photographers the more I realize that those who excel in their field are gifted. Yes, hard work, tenacity, drive, luck, proper choice of tools, what-have-you, are all important elements to the successful career. But there's a special gift of getting out there, in your face (so to speak), getting the right shot, over and over, that can't be made up for by an over dependance on the choice of tools.

For myself, I have a fundamental personality trait that tends to avoid confrontation. This is a bad thing for a person wanting to "be" a street photographer. So, I dabble at it. But I know, painfully so, when I just want to take a shot, but something inside myself won't permit it. Luckily, there's landscape and scenic subject matter. :]

~Joe

RPippin
10-24-2008, 11:13 AM
One of the way's I find helpful for street photography is to use my old Flexaret TLR. I can usualy set up and focus, take my time, look uninterested in what others are doing and use a cable release to fire the shutter. The other way is to just ask if the other party would mind it I fired off a few shots. Usualy the answere is no, go ahead. I've missed some fantastic oportunities to shoot some really unusual and colorful subjects because I hesitated in asking and only had a large medium format outfit with me and it was to cumbersome to set up. The old TLR is far more portable and the only attention it seems to draw is curiosity from those around me, which is a real plus as it opens even more doors. I'd rather suffer the short term embarresment of being rebuked than the days and weeks of regrets for a really great missed oportunity. Good luck.

glockman99
03-27-2009, 10:17 PM
The gear I currently use for my "street-people photography" is a Nikon F3HP (with MD-4 motordrive), and either a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, or a Nikkor ED 180mm f/2.8 lens. I also have a nice Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f/2.8-4 lens for when I need to go wide.

Photographing total strangers as they go about their business can be hard at first, but once you gain confidence in yourself, and your equipment, it gets easier. Make your shots quick, and be unobtrusive as you can...Even IF using a camera/motordrive combo that's as large and as "noisy" as the F3HP/MD-4 is.

yellowcat
03-28-2009, 02:34 AM
In the UK you are going have to be careful:
"....new laws are introduced that allow for the arrest - and imprisonment - of anyone who takes pictures of officers...."

http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=836675

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/police_issue_statement_on_covert_photography_nuj_b rand_police_action_as_nonsense_news_175462.html

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=273220&in_page_id=34&in_a_source=

Lahnet
03-28-2009, 03:15 AM
I like to do my street photos a little discrete. Not because I "donīt dare" to shoot with a big SLR. I just think
it is easier to get the shots I want unnoticed.

I also use a little planing. Eksampel: The rain it coming down hard and I would like a pic of a beautiful lady
carrying a umbrella. I find a spot where I donīt get wet and the background is good. An old building or
whatever...Then I wait until the pic come to me, and of course I can take the pic without she is aware of it.
Hope it make some sence:-)

Roger Krueger
07-17-2009, 09:01 AM
In SoCal a lot of folks feel it their duty to show solidarity with dear Paris by hating papparazzi. So street with a big modern-looking SLR gets you a lot of heat. But street with a shabby Zorki people seem vaguely O.K. with, and street with a Mamiya Universal people are too amused at the weird camera to get mad.

keithwms
07-17-2009, 09:21 AM
I like to do my street photos a little discrete. Not because I "donīt dare" to shoot with a big SLR. I just think
it is easier to get the shots I want unnoticed.

That's a very good point you raise. In today's climate, if you get in someone's face with a lot of gear, then they will automatically be annoyed. This is for several reasons, I think:

(1) nowadays, a lot of snapshots wind up on the web. Until ~10 years ago, people could assume that in the worst case they might wind up in some magazine. But now, regardless of the quality of the image and the professionalism with which it was made, millions might see that image.

(2) some folks are also reacting quite strongly to "big brother" fears and there are cases where this is warranted. For example, some government employees worry about being recorded in the context of a street protest or such because that puts them automatically on a watchlist which could then delay (or derail) promotions. It used to be unlikely that this would happen, but now, with the possibility of facial recognition software in use even at big sporting events....

(3) the number of people who will point a digital camera (or cell phone) at a given street scene has gone through the roof. Nowadays anything of interest will be surrounded by large numbers of people recording it with all kinds of gizmos. If you happen to be the subject, then of course this could be quite intimidating. I think we've seen the effect on government officials as well, there is the fear that somebody's gonna 'capture' you, and then it'll wind up, photoshopped, in some weekly grocery rag. In this context it is a lot more reasonable for people to resent street photographers than it was 10+ years ago.

Overall, discreteness is just as important for street as it is for wildlife... we want to record the subject in a natural disposition. This is my issue with Winogrand, so much of his work (esp. later work) was borderline invasive IMHO. And if somebody sees your camera rather than your face, then of course they will react aversely.

In the end, every photographer has to assess the effect of being seen by the subject. Some may prefer it, citing emotional connection; others may prefer the wildlife-stalking (for lack of a better term) discrete approach. It's definitely a good thing that we don't all think the same way and take the same photographs.

sar-photo
07-17-2009, 09:47 AM
Hi Alisha,
I've been taking photo's for many years now but have only recently started to get into street photography. I'm quite shy by nature, so found myself missing opportunities because I was too embarrased to put the camera to my eye and take the photo. But I'm a lot more confident now (not 100% - probably about 75%) and this is due to taking photo's of people during festivals etc. I work in Edinburgh (that's Scotland in case there are any other Edinburgh's out there :) ) and festival time is almost upon us. In August/September the Royal Mile is blocked off for traffic and the place is alive with street performers, tourists, workers and weirdos! Nobody bats an eyelid at someone with a camera and it did wonders for my confidence. You must have similar things happening in California.
If you want to check out some excellent recent street photography from a variety of photographers then have a look at in-public (http://www.in-public.com/)

Good luck
Simon

manfromh
07-19-2009, 03:26 PM
Good people to practice on are those who hand out leaflets on the streets. They give you a leaflet, you take a picture.

I did my first non-candid shots of people on the street today.

hughitb
07-21-2009, 08:06 AM
But I'm a lot more confident now (not 100% - probably about 75%) and this is due to taking photo's of people during festivals etc. I work in Edinburgh (that's Scotland in case there are any other Edinburgh's out there :) ) and festival time is almost upon us. In August/September the Royal Mile is blocked off for traffic and the place is alive with street performers, tourists, workers and weirdos! Nobody bats an eyelid at someone with a camera and it did wonders for my confidence.

I think this is great advice and I have started doing this too. It's a lot easier to take these sort of pictures at some sort of "event" and by doing so I think you are going to develop more technique and more confidence. In fact, I seem to remember reading about how Joel Meyerowitz started by doing exactly this as well .....

Jeff Kubach
07-22-2009, 03:40 PM
I was doing some street photography the other day. I was taking pictures of some homeless people, some of them look better than me!

Jeff

Shangheye
07-22-2009, 03:58 PM
If you see it, take it...far better to ask forgiveness than permission (you can always say sorry)...and anyway..permission tends to ruin the photo. If I am seen (and that is rarely, becasue you learn to work fast), then a smile does wonders. K

dpurdy
07-22-2009, 06:21 PM
I don't like the whole sneak around stealing pictures of people thing. I hate having people photograph me and I go by the old "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" bit. I think street photographers should be open and honest and if someone doesn't want to be photographed then they should be able to keep their privacy. I love photographing people at weddings because they expect me to photograph them and they realize the value of documentation of the event. Otherwise when I photograph in the street I shoot things with no people.
Dennis

Taslim Abdani
07-24-2009, 09:35 AM
The advice about festivals is right on. Also parades are very good (not the parade itself but the activity just prior to the start or just at the finish). Sometimes the persons watching the event are more interesting than the event itself.

fotch
07-24-2009, 10:19 AM
I don't like the whole sneak around stealing pictures of people thing. I hate having people photograph me and I go by the old "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" bit. I think street photographers should be open and honest and if someone doesn't want to be photographed then they should be able to keep their privacy. I love photographing people at weddings because they expect me to photograph them and they realize the value of documentation of the event. Otherwise when I photograph in the street I shoot things with no people.
Dennis

Interesting viewpoint. When you step outside your castle and enter a public place, say a sidewalk, others can see you. They are not stealing looks, are they? Candid photography is just a extension of this. Only if they use pictures for commercial purposes (other than news event) would this be possibility considered stealing.

Nowadays, when a person goes to a bank, Walmart, down some streets, they are being video taped so if its bothersome for some, where a disguise or stay home. Not trying to be antagonistic, just realistic. :)

takef586
07-24-2009, 10:23 AM
Start getting ready for it. Tell yourself you have a homework to do, so be businesslike about it. Take a 35 or 50 mm with some fast film (Tri-X@800 is a good start), set your lens on f8 and the distance to where you would normally need to focus. Be on a lookout, be fast, avoid looking people in their eyes after you shoot, just lower the camera and walk on looking for another subject. If this should be too difficult at first, get yourself a wide angle 21 to 28mm, zone focus it and shoot from the hip or from an extended arm, but with you head turned away. Have fun...
here's a couple of stolen shots with focusing:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2407/1558660052_74a844d95c_b.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59177039@N00/1988723255/sizes/l/in/set-72157602535394830/

here a couple prefocused but framed through the viewfinder:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2417/1809721501_910dc67bb0_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/2953241571_2cd6563483_b.jpg

and here a couple zone focused and shot while looking away:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2134/1801048870_c8f1bea5c8_b.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1337/717899087_dded5aa8fc_b.jpg

fotch
07-24-2009, 11:39 AM
Hey take586, very cool.