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Street shooting [Merged]


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#1 MarkP

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 12:22

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As a fairly new member of the forum I don't know whether this has been discussed before, but I would be very interested in more experienced members of the forum sharing their approach to street shooting and techniques.

To keep the topic broad this would include technical issues and in particular the photographers method of approach to the subject.

I hope this is also of interest to other forum members.


Mark

#2 Nikkor AIS

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 13:42

Welcome to the forum. Your question about Street photography is good one and hope it will generate some intelligent and thoughtfull reponses.

Iv been shooting the street for over 25 years have used everything Mini rollei's to 4X5 speed graphics and everything in between. Recently ( the last couple of years) Iv taken to shooting witn the Leica M cameras.

While many leica shooters will be quite to point out the the advantages of the leica for street photography, And there are some , holding a Leia wont make you invisible. In truth almost any camera type will do.

Trying to be sneaky and stealthy is fine and has it's place. But for the most part but being ready and willing to rasie the camera and take the picture is the sigle most important factor when potenital photo oppurtunity present it self.

Having the shitter speed set and using 28-35 mm focal length and pre-focusing is a classic way to capture the desisive moment moments on the street.
That being said, using everything from super wides to super telephoto's can also work,



One of my older shoots taken when I first started shooting the street.



Non-Leica photo removed

Edited by andybarton, 18 October 2010 - 00:44.

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#3 nhabedi

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 15:24

Having the shitter speed set


Made my day... ;)
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#4 250swb

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 17:48

As a fairly new member of the forum I don't know whether this has been discussed before, but I would be very interested in more experienced members of the forum sharing their approach to street shooting and techniques.

To keep the topic broad this would include technical issues and in particular the photographers method of approach to the subject.

I hope this is also of interest to other forum members.


Mark



You could do no better than buy a copy of the new book 'Street Photography Now' by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. Lots of great pictures, but also lots of great text that puts the images into context and explains what some of the worlds best 'street shooters' are about.

Steve

#5 Xmas

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 19:26

Hi

Remove the lens cap and set the shutter, aperture and focus.

Always remember to wind on.

Check the lens cap and set the shutter, aperture and focus, when there is not a subject to hand.

Take up the 1st pressure on the shutter.

Anticipate the subject is about to do something exciting and shoot for decisive moment anyway.

Noel

#6 stuny

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 19:24

Two things happened recently to make me think about taking photos of strangers and the potential shyness of photographers to approach strangers. We’ve seen ample evidence here that Ben and Dave are masters of doing this, but what about the rest of us?

Last Month Ben, Virgil and Richard all spent a week in New York participating in a photography workshop. One of the things this particular workshop focused on was overcoming barriers that photographers have erected preventing them from doing something, such as approaching strangers to take their pictures.

Thinking about that, and also thinking about some situations that I let slip by since I was too shy to ask for a photo, I decided to approach people and ask if I could take their photos. Simultaneous to this Comic Con came to town and I thought I’d visit the entry area to get photos of costumed attendees. Prior to my new mind set I’d have gone with a long lens and shot from a sizable distance, but this time I just brought my D2.

Events like Comic Con are perfect for shy photographers since the people in costume want to be seen, and really like to have people photograph them. Clearly many of them have spent significant time in front of a mirror practicing in-character poses, and of the several dozen people I shot, almost all of them struck practiced, in-character poses (You can see them on our site in the New York – Comic Con 2010 photo gallery).

The next day I saw a man with nice features set-off beautifully by his neatly trimmed beard, twirled moustache, and bowler-like hat. I told him that I really like how his beard, moustache and hat worked together, and asked if I could take his photo. He said yes, reviewed my first shot, modified his pose and asked me to shoot again. I posted that image here: http://www.l-camera-...ens-haunts.html

Later in the day we returned to Comic Con and got more shots.

I know I’ll let far fewer photo opportunities slip by me, and encourage other shy photographers to do similarly.
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#7 thompsonkirk

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 23:52

That's a good approach to the issue – assuming there is one.

On the one hand, making portraits of strangers is sure to be easier where they expect & want it. To Comic Con add renaissance faires, ethnic festivals, & lots of public events. (An exception seems to be street fairs, where some booth-owners are paranoid about having their stuff photographed.) Arbus seems to have trained herself to photograph strangers (perhaps on purpose?) by befriending & photographing the Hubert's Museum 'freaks' in the late 50s.

But on the other hand, maybe there's no problem, & everyone can place himself or herself on the distance scale where their own shyness/boldness fits in. To the 'classic' street photographers – HCB, Frank, Winogrand, etc. – it was important that their work be 'candid,' that is, that it records people uninterrupted in their own activities & contexts. None of these photographers were given to chatting up strangers to take their portraits. HCB's unwillingness even to let himself be noticed is legendary.

My own preference is a candid. I lack interest in the 'camera faces' of strangers. But even if one is shy of strangers – or too small or wimpy or elderly to escape the tougher ones – you gradually get to know folks if you stake out a shooting 'turf' & give people prints.

Kirk

#8 Shootist

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 00:27

I never get shy at those big events. The people that come dressed for the occasion expect to, and like, having their picture taken. Otherwise they wouldn't get dressed up.

It's walking up to someone on the street and asking them. I do it sometimes but I have to be in the right state of mind and mood.

It's all in the way you do it. It is also best to have a card with at least your last name (Photography) and a email address so you can say to the people you ask "If you'd like a copy of the image email me and I'll send a JPG to you.

#9 Nikkor AIS

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 00:44

Mark since there is not much help here. Check out the rangefinder forum, as there are many really good street shooters who post there. The Nikon Cafe also has some very talent people doing street photography in the film and B+ W sections, that Im sure will be more than willing to help.

#10 skinnfell

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:50

Hello and welcome to the forum.

I won't make any jokes with you but simply tell how I do it:

1 - ONE normal to moderate wide lens
That means anything between 28 and 75, so you dont need to be too far, and not too close to the subject. The major advantage with wider is the added depth of field so you dont need to focus too closely. The added advantage of telephoto is ability to isoltate. Personally I prefer a 50mm for the best compromise between the two.
Pick ONE lens and stick to it a whole day. Why? Because you then get used to its "eye" and can easier anticipate shots. You will always sometimes have the wrong lens on.

2 - As high ISO as you can stomach.
On the M9, that means ISO 640, even on a fairly bright day. Street shooting benefits from a gritty character on the pictures.

3 - Shutter speed between 1/125 to 1/500
Because you are often shooting quick, so you dont have time to "stabilize" your aim/shot.

4 - Meter so that you know the aperture in the sun and in the shadows. Know where your apertures are.
Typically for outdoor shooting you will encounter only two different lighting levels - shadow and highlight.For example meter so you know that shadows are f/4 and sun is f/11. Don't use auto aperture as it takes some time to meter up correctly, by the time your shot might be gone.

5 - Set the camera power timer to OFF (with m8/m9)
This way your camera is always on, unless you use the power switch. Yes, you will burn through the battery faster but at least you will miss a minmum of shots.

6 - learn how to guess focus distances.
The leica can focus extremely accurately, but with f/11 there is a LOT of leeway, especially across the street. Learn how to separate "perfect focus" and "just good enough". With my 35mm and good lighting, i can focus the shot pretty good before I lift the camera to my eye.

7 - Turn the screen preview OFF
Every time you "chimp" you loose a shot. Also people notice you peeping at the screen if you are trying to be discrete.

8 - Get a auxilliary viewfinder if you can
I have a 50mm finder from leitz and its almost brighter than real life. Its great for quick shots and "guesstimate" focussing.

9 - Dont stare at people
Well you dont like it and neither do they

10 - Be honest if someone asks what the he11 you are doing
I keep a couple of business cards in my pocket if people think I am suspicious. You never know in these post 9/11 times, even if you are not in England.

good luck and happy hunting!

#11 skinnfell

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 04:02

I am a professional photojournalist, and often my job and assignment is to go to these places and come home with pictures. Ive been doing it for at least 10 years. Even so, believe it or not, I still have some of this "shyness" you talk about.

That said, at "events", people come to see and be seen, and probably expect there to be photographers present, so that is a no-brainer.

Also, check out my answer to the guy in this link:
http://www.l-camera-...t-shooting.html

#12 vdb

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 04:56

Great topic Stuart. And a complex one as well.

The only thing that works for me when approaching strangers is to be genuinely interested in them, and to let them know immediately. This rarely fails. Most us are flattered when others appear interested. It may only take 10 seconds to initiate an honest connection with a stranger. The portrait that results from this kind of interaction interests me most....as it tends to be richly psychological.

While in NYC I chose to photograph strangers and their dogs. The truth is that the dogs were a starting point....a portal into their lives. What I learned was when I revealed something about myself, strangers suddenly were willing to have a momentary relationship ...the photography became secondary. But the street portrait had greater meaning for both of us since it reflected our brief, but very real relationship.

I shot well over 1000 frames while in NYC using this approach and not once did I feel rejected,unwanted or intrusive.

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I look forward tp hearing from others.
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#13 sparkie

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:08

Shoot first, ask later.

Then bring out a disclaimer and rights waiver for $ exchange if your subject is a savvy negotiator.

If its not allowed make sure you can out run the cops or have a lot of $ in your wallet to bribe your way out of it.

#14 sparkie

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:14

The truth is that the dogs were a starting point....a portal into their lives


the truth is, a biscuit is a direct portal into a dogs heart < and stomach >

the saying: the way into a man's heart is through his stomach. -- there's not much difference between man and dogs i guess

#15 sparkie

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:20

1. Shoot first, ask later. (or never ask later, if they didn't see you take it)

2. Bring out a disclaimer and rights waiver for $ exchange if your subject is a savvy negotiator.

3. If not allowed make sure you can out run the cops or have a lot of $ in your wallet to bribe your way out of it.

4. Be confident (not arrogant)

5. If you have the balls (or ovaries) get close

#16 Guest_WPalank_*

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 06:34

My technique is direct. I look the person in the eye and never loose eye contact until the viewfinder blocks my eye. I've set my ISO and aperture before entering the scene and simply frame, focus and shoot. I'm in and out in a matter of seconds.
I rarely ask for permission, my feeling is that my camera is in front of me and my intention should be obvious in advance. Plenty of time to wave me off. Also, smiling doesn't always work. A more direct, concentrated gaze shows that I'm not a push over. But I always smile and thank them after (in their native tongue).

#17 Paul Verrips

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 07:25

One of our memebers has a beautifull blog and shares information about technique & how to shoot or act while streetsphotographing.

Here are a few links that i would recommend:

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris


Street Photography in Paris


Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

Street Photography in Paris

But it's also about courage. I started street photography just a few weeks ago and i'm using 50mm. For me a wide lens is to close to the subject, first i have to change my feeling from uncomfortable to comfortable.

Maybe just start shooting whatever is on the street, interesting or not, then you get used behaving like a street photographer.

This is how i try to get some skills in street photography.

Edited by Paul Verrips, 19 October 2010 - 07:36.


#18 lct

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 10:00

Shoot first, ask later...

... and take a (very) good lawyer for grumpy old subject matters like me. :D

#19 fingerprinz

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 11:47

Thanks Paul for that great list of links. Very helpful.

#20 LeicaBraz

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 13:43

Stuart,
excellent advice. Since I'm sort of shy myself and usually carry only my 50 mm I will give it a try.
My problem is somewhat related and concerns photographing the homeless, the destitute, the poor. Usually they provide great photo opportunities but I always come to a very personal ethical barrier that inhibits me from taking the photo. I am currently spending some time in Sao Paulo where these opportunities abound and I am sure that a little money even should buy you photo models without end. But yet, I can't.
We see in the forum excellent shots on such subjects but I can't but feel that some sort of transgression has taken place. Repeat, it is just me.
Thoughts and comments welcome.
Tks and rgds




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