For the past couple of years I’ve mainly been concentrating on improving my landscape/seascape photography. It’s what I’ve been most naturally drawn to, not least because I find it relatively calming. However, since trying to take my photography more seriously, I’ve been determined to push myself and to learn new skills. So I’ve been trying my hand at a bit of street photography.
Fairly recently I watched a video by Josh Katz about street photography. Josh outlined four main approaches (or phases) of street photography:
1) Phase 1: Photograph people when they don’t know they are being photographed (eg finding an interesting scene and waiting for people to walk into shot).
2) Phase 2: Taking the shot as they walk towards you, but pretend you are photographing something else (eg by keep firing shots even after they have walked past).
3) Phase 3: Approaching strangers and asking if you can take their portrait.
4) Phase 4: Candid photographs where it is obvious you are taking their picture but you haven’t asked for their permission
I tend to see both Phase 1 and Phase 2 as my go to approaches. I’m not particularly comfortable with street photography generally, and certainly not that confident at approaching and talking to people (even less keen on blatantly taking their photo without permission). I’m fairly shy and reserved, so those first two options are about the only ones I feel remotely comfortable with doing (I’ve done Phase 3, but I have to build up a lot of courage before I do it).
Summer seems to me to be a great time to delve into a bit of street photography though. Bright sunshine and harsh shadows make for difficult conditions with landscapes/seascapes, but make great conditions for pounding the streets with a camera in hand. Even better when you are in Spain for two weeks in July/August every year and face boring blue skies without any interest and often unexciting sunsets.
In fact, this summer, during our usual two week holiday in Spain, I decided that I was going to particularly concentrate on my street photography. Seville is a beautiful city with lots of interesting buildings and structures, and it makes a perfect backdrop for a bit of street photography. Luckily I managed to get out and about a few times with my camera and a 35mm lens (aps-c), even managing to spend a morning in the city the day we were due to fly home, catching a few more last minute shots.
Now, I’m not one that is ordinarily too bothered about likes etc on Instagram, it’s not important, what is important is that you like the shots you have taken. But I have noticed a marked difference in the number of likes I get for my street photos. I’m not sure if they’re either not very good, my followers follow me because of my landscape photos and they’re less interested in street, whether it’s holiday time so fewer people are flicking through Instagram than normal…I don’t know. Regardless, I’m largely happy with some of the ones I have taken (although of course you always feel you could do better) and maybe that’s all that matters. I’ll be interested to know what you think.