Public perception of someone with a camera around public places changed on September 11, 2001. The pursuit of the paparazzi led to the untimely demise of Princess Diana, and this caused the loss of income among many people. If you are still a people watcher like many, changes in perception should never dissuade you from embracing street photography. You only need to follow the right steps and guidelines to ensure everything you do leaves peace behind as opposed to creating chaos and confusion. Below are useful tips you should apply to perfect street photography.
Most people in public places have no problem being photographed as long as you first inform them of your intention. But in many cases, asking first could complicate the process and you may end up not taking any photos. One of the most appropriate ideas you could pursue as advised by Matthew David Parker is to shoot first then ask for forgiveness when you already have the photos, which allows you to focus on what the person is doing to spur the moment.
However, under no conditions should you run off after you are discovered. This could invite more trouble and probably lead to the loss of both your camera and its contents. Be careful when approaching people to ask for permissions because not every person you will find on the streets is interested in appearing in photos taken by a stranger. Before you ask to be allowed to take the photos, spend some time talking with the person to win their confidence.
Be a good sport
Remember if no one is confident or happy with your presence with a camera you should move on. If you trust your tactic will work, you can approach the target and explain to them that you took their picture because you thought it was such an awesome moment but you could not ask before because you thought you would interrupt the spontaneous display of affection the couple showed. Also place yourself in their shoes and evaluate whether you would be happy someone taking cool photos of you on a wonderful setting. Being insistent could make someone to believe you are a stalker and this could escalate to a war.
Smile and appear friendly
While walking with your camera, acting aloof or displaying body language that speaks an avoiding eye could suggest you are hiding whatever you are about to do, and that’s a no-no as far as street photography is concerned. Win the confidence of everyone by acting friendly and wearing a glaring smile every time you approach people.
Good equipment will ensure your effort will produce perfect shots. Have a telephoto lens, which allows you to capture in the range of 80 mm to 200 mm. You could also consider having a wide angle lens, which is good for capturing 15 mm to 16 mm if you have a magnifying factor and you don’t have a full-size sensor. The wide angle lens comes in handy while in a crowd and you cannot move back. It allows you to zoom and capture perfect shots effortlessly. You can shoot from your hip without necessarily raising your camera to your head.
Above all factors, you also need to consider the technique you apply while shooting photos. First set your exposure based on the lighting conditions you are working with. Shooting on the streets does not allow you time to prepare or fiddle with aperture, so you should set everything beforehand. It’s highly recommended to set the aperture manually because this allows you to focus on the right shutter speeds, but if this proves daunting you can as well use automatic settings.