7th February 2019
Sharon Hickey—head tutor @ The Aperture Club, professional photographer.
Discover your ‘inner street’ and take your street photography to the next level.
Street photography is a creative, challenging genre that offers hours of satisfaction in defining your personal and artistic vision.
Most of us have experienced taking a street style photo moment, but perhaps we haven’t labelled it as street photography! We see a person or situation that attracts us and immediately we try to capture the moment before it disappears. Well, that’s the beginning of a street ‘obsession’.
Whether we’re walking in the countryside, in an urban cityscape or travelling to new and unexplored locations, there’s that defining moment when we lift the camera and press the shutter button.
When we review our work we’ll look at that image; maybe we’ll think ‘Wow!’—or maybe we’ll be disappointed the image didn’t translate to how we actually saw the moment. But don’t be downhearted; this is a feeling every photographer experiences at some time.
Discovering your inner street allows you to develop your body of work into memorable images
How do you go about discovering your ‘inner street’?
First you have to ask yourself , ‘What am I shooting and why am I shooting it?’
This question leads us to consider one of the most important elements when composing a shot – one that can make or break how your photograph impacts yourself or others. Photographers call this ‘the point of focus’ or the part of the image your eye is drawn to first.
Secondly you have to decide on what is your personal vision when you attempt to capture a moment
Do you want to capture the essence of a community in action, or do you want to create a meaningful body of work?
Whether you walk the same way every day and feel as if you know every step of your journey, take your camera with you next time and try to discover something new. Time doesn’t stand still and there is always a ‘new’ event taking place.
Or it could be a situation that happens every day; for example at 11am every day the chef is starting to prepare lunch in a Chinatown restaurant. You can see into the restaurant kitchen from the street, so immediately the ambience catches your attention. The light is atmospheric, the smoke from the grill is creating great visuals and the chef is working intently. It’s a perfect opportunity, so be ready and waiting. This is what’s meant by ‘anticipating the moment.’
Capturing the unusual with intention is a great tool to practise in developing your individual style.
Perhaps your new project is laneway life in your ’hood, wherever you live!
What should you consider when venturing out for a street experience?
Photographers consider several points when we start to photograph a street scenario:
- be as inconspicuous as possible—if you have cameras and lenses dangling around your neck, you’re too obvious
- don’t carry too much gear—one camera and one lens is all you really need
- smartphones are great cameras, and everyone has one…so you tend to blend into your environment
- try to anticipate a moment—see a great doorway or graffiti wall? Wait for someone to stand in it or walk past
- develop your intuition by observing what’s happening or about to happen around you
All great street photographers have developed their observation skills to see the potential in situations.
Check out how our master street photographers captured a moment in our Aperture Club Galleries.
Photos: Daniel Kukec – The Aperture Club’s Master Street Tutor and Sharon Hickey – The Aperture Club.