To be or not to be a Street Photographer.
Digital Photography School by Valerie Jardin.
Top 6 Reasons NOT to do Street Photography:
1 – Your pics won’t get many ‘likes’
Most people on social media don’t appreciate the art of street photography. Cats and flowers do get more ‘likes’.
2 – Your prints won’t sell
People usually don’t buy prints of street images unless the photographer is somewhat famous.
3 – You won’t make any money doing it
No one is going to pay you to walk for hours with your camera to take pictures of strangers. Period.
4 – It’s intimidating
It can be scary to photograph strangers in the street or to ask a stranger to make a portrait. It’s not for the faint-of heart! You will get rejections and some people may even get angry and confrontational.
5 – It requires a lot of patience and a lot of walking
You can be out for hours and go home with an empty memory card. The hunt for the story, the right gesture or expression can take you many miles. You have to learn to be satisfied with just one good shot for the day, if any!
6 – A technically perfect shot does not mean it’s a good street photograph
You only have one shot at getting the shot. That fraction of a second that will never happen again. As a result, many of your best shots will have motion blur and noise. When you have to compromise between the technically perfect shot and the story, the story always wins!
Top 6 Reasons TO do Street Photography
1 – You will be part of a very cool community
Only people who truly appreciate the art of street photography will like your work and it will be a lot more meaningful and gratifying than any ‘likes’ you’d get for a pretty picture. The street photography community is awesome. They are so passionate because they are doing it for the pure love of it, not to please anyone or get recognition on social media.
You are documenting life around you.
2 – You are documenting life around you
Street photography is not a hot seller in the fine art world. As a street photographer, you have to look at the bigger picture (no pun intended). You are creating images that reflect a moment in time that will provide some valuable insight for future generations. Just look at the work of street photographers from 50 years ago, and how much we learn from it. That said, you never know when someone is going to connect with one of your images and want to buy a print. Be open to the idea of an occasional sale but don’t bet the farm on it.
3 – You shoot street photography for yourself
You won’t get paid to walk the streets with your camera but, on the bright side, you won’t have to compromise with a client either! Make money doing paid gigs on the side, and get out on the streets for YOU!
The technical aspect of the resulting image is not what street photography is all about.
4 – It’s addicting
Street photography never really stops being intimidating. But the rush you get is just as powerful as the rush the wildlife photographer gets when she gets that perfect shot of a wolf in the wild. Street photography is thrilling, exhilarating and addicting.
5 – Walking is good for you!
Street photography will make you appreciate the world around you so much more. You will never be bored again, anywhere! Get a good pair of shoes and get out there, practicing your street photography is one fun way to get your exercise!
6 – You won’t waste too much time in post processing
Street photographers don’t care about noise, they embrace it! Documentary street photography doesn’t require any fancy post processing. A quick exposure adjustment, an occasional crop, a custom black and white conversion if that’s what you like… Et voilà! That’s about the extend of the time you’d ever spend on a picture. You are capturing a slice of life that will never happen again. It’s not going to be perfect, life on the streets is not perfect! No Photoshop action is going to turn a boring picture into a story. You need to know your camera and be ready to get the best possible shot. With practice you learn to anticipate and be ready without attracting too much attention to yourself. Those rare moments, when the story, the light and the composition all come together, are what keep us roaming those streets tirelessly with our camera.
Street photography is something you can do almost anywhere. As long as there are people. No matter where you are, the number one rule of street photography is respect. As a bonus you will make friends along the way, and that’s a beautiful thing! I will leave you with a quote that, in my opinion, best represents what street photography is all about:
“Get a good pair of walking shoes and… fall in love.” Abbas ~
Those rare moments, when the story, the light and the composition all come together, are what keep us roaming those streets tirelessly with our camera.
Why are you a street photographer? Please share with our readers in the comment section below!
Need a few tips on practicing your street photography? Check out some of these articles:
- Practical Tips To Build Your Street Photography Confidence
- Tips for Taking Street Portraits – Lessons Learned in India
- In the Dark: 10 Tips for Street Night Photography
- Using Street Photography to See Beyond the Ordinary
- How to Approach Street Photography in 12 Easy Steps
- Street Photography: Exploitative vs Respect