Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Principles of Street Photography

"Final Call"

© 2015 Steven Edward Streight

Here's my advice to someone on Street Photography of the World who said she was new to street photography and wanted some tips.

Principles of Street Photography

(1) Faces are more interesting than backs.

(2) Up close is more interesting than long range.

(3) People are more interesting than most things.

(4) The timing of the photographic moment is more important than a perfectly framed shot. Sometimes random, from the hip photos capture something you had not even noticed as you were walking.

(5) Try to frame each photo perfectly, while keeping rule #4 in mind.

(6) Most people won't care or even notice that you're taking their photo. With cell phone cameras and selfies clicking all the time, street photographers are no big deal.

(7) Often people will see you taking photographs, and will holler at you, "Take a photo of me!" I always ask, jokingly, "Why? Are you a celebrity?" If they say, yes, I will not take their photo.

(8) A person doing something is more interesting than a group of people just walking or standing around.

(9) A photo says that the object is important in some way. Thus a street photograph of a random person conveys the idea that this random person is on the same visual level as a queen.

(10) Celebrate the random person. Honor the average Joe. Dignify the plain Jane. Focus on the downtrodden. Elevate the typical individual to star status. Average people are infinitely superior to celebrities and elites.

(11) Even though legally speaking, any person in public can be photographed at any time, use discretion. Sometimes asking permission is the polite thing to do. Other times, it's not expedient and could ruin a photo opp.

(12) Whenever possible, hand a business card to the person you photograph, tell them to friend you on Facebook where they'll see their photo.

(13) If you ask a person if you can take their photo, and they say no, say okay, and don't ask why or try to coax the person. They may have valid personal reasons and they don't owe you any explanation. Respect their wishes.

(14) You enforce democracy by taking photos of what's going on around you. You also increase the visual sensitivity and perceptual acuity of those who view your photographs, defining for them what is "photo worthy" by your selections of what to take photos of.

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