10 Tips for Better Street Photography on Film3 14 Share Tweet
Street photography is probably one of the easiest genres of photography to get into. All you need is a camera, a roll of fast film, and a free afternoon. But it’s also one of the hardest types of photography to be really good at. It can be initially frustrating, and full of failures, but those one or two winning photos on a roll will keep you coming back to the streets, addicted to the pursuit of capturing beautiful moments again and again!
Perhaps the best way to get good at street photography is simply to practice. But here are a few additional tips that might also help you along the way.
Have your camera ready
There’s no greater pain in street photography than witnessing the perfect shot, but reacting too slowly to capture it. So make sure you have your camera at the ready, film advanced, and finger on the shutter button!
This is also one reason why Lomography cameras are especially good for street photography. Cameras like the LomoApparat, La Sardina, and of course the Lomo LC-A+, with their unobtrusive design, light weight and simple intuitive settings are perfectly suited to the requirements of any budding street photographer.
Lose the fear
This is more easily said than done. Photographing strangers can be scary, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. Of course it’s also important to be respectful. Shooting without fear does not mean shoving a camera in people’s face. It’s best to be sneaky if possible, but when someone catches you taking their photo it can also help to talk to them and explain why you want to take their photo. Most people will be happy to be snapped, but if they’re not that’s okay too. Shrug it off and move on.
Street photography master EPG gave us this excellent advice on photographing strangers:
“The main thing is being empathetic. Treat everybody with respect. Imagine you are the one having your picture taken. Smile. Nod. Say thank you. If they stare at you with a strange look, approach them and tell them why you think they look great and why you want to have their picture taken. I never photograph people looking for a comedic effect. I don't want to make them look silly or funny. I want them to look good.”
Embrace the chaos
Busy streets can be overwhelming, especially if you’re photographing specific events such as a carnival or protest. It can be difficult to isolate subjects and create scenes on the fly. So don’t try so hard. Film photography may usually slow you down, but the streets are all about speed, so throw yourself into the chaos. Don’t think, just shoot, and find out what you have when you develop your film.
Find the perfect hunting ground
You may want to try seeking out places where you can move freely, but where others are relatively still, such as parks, beaches, or town squares. Photos of people walking in a busy highstreet can be brilliant, but they are also done all the time, and the perfect moments can come and go too quickly. So why not seek unconventional locations? Shooting in places where people are less busy and more relaxed can also help as your subjects are likely to hang around in the space longer, and also be more relaxed when they catch a stranger slyly trying to photograph them.
You may be someone who prefers to hit the streets with a plan. But even with all the planning in the world sometimes things don’t work out. The weather conditions might not be ideal for the location you wanted to shoot, or you might encounter technical issues with your favorite camera and be forced to use different gear. In these situations allow yourself to go with the flow, be flexible and change your plans when needed.
Even if it means getting lost in an unfamiliar city, you’ll often be glad you allowed yourself to discover something new.
In a recent interview, Japanese photographer 5ickdude gave us this advice:
“It's also good to cherish the intuitive feeling of "I want to walk this alley!" By getting lost in the city, you can also acquire a tourist perspective that makes you feel like you've come to an unknown planet.”
Shoot fast film
Shooting fast film of ISO 400 or higher is the best option to maximize great results in street photography. With fast film you can go anywhere, shoot fast, and not worry about the exposure or motion blur on your images.
That’s not to say that you can’t shoot street photography with a slow film. As you will often hear from Lomographers, there are no rules! But if you’re starting out with street photography, fast film is a guaranteed winner.
Look for light
This is a tip that applies not only for street photography, but is especially worth keeping in mind when you’re out on the streets. Many photographers swear by the importance of shooting at golden hour, but why limit yourself to a tiny portion of the day when beautiful moments are happening every second?
Perhaps the solution is not to ignore the light, but to seek it out in whatever form it exists. Search for interesting ways the light falls on different surfaces and how it can enhance a scene.
Shoot from the hip
Be your sneakiest self and embrace one of Lomography’s favorite golden rules by taking a shot from the hip. When you don’t even need to raise the camera to your face to take a photo, you’re free to snap away to your heart’s content and experiment with some more interesting angles. You’re also far more likely to capture those candid moments as most of the time no one will notice you’re even taking a photo.
Try not photographing people
This may seem like counter-intuitive advice for street photography – a genre that’s all about people. But sometimes wonderfully unexpected results can come from turning your camera away from the crowds and instead towards something non-human, whether that be trees, architecture, dogs, fountains, or any number of interesting shapes found in urban settings. Perhaps people will also appear in these photos, but the composition may be more interesting when those people are not the sole focus of the photograph.
Get involved in the Community
One of the best ways to improve any kind of photography is by consuming the works of others and learning from fellow photographers. So browse the multitude of wonderful LomoHomes on our website, reach out to Lomographers you admire and get inspired.
You can also attend our events, such as LomoWalks, workshops, and other film photography gatherings in cities all over the world. Check out our events page to find something happening near you!
What are your best tips for street photography? Let us know in the comments!
written by alexgray on 2023-03-22 #culture #street-photography #tipster #community #list