Tips on How to Improve Your Life with Street Photography

Written by on January 17, 2020 in Media & Arts with 1 Comment

Photography has many faces — just like any other art genre. It can be staged, spontaneous, with a journalistic approach or to manipulate… There are as many specific kinds and characters of photography as there are artists.

Personally, my favourite photography field is unequivocally street photography. Never have I learnt so much than bringing my compact camera along to my journeys or just for my everyday walks. Even well-known photographers like Diane Arbus and Henri Cartier-Bresson spent time photographing in the streets and captured some of their best work out there.

How come street photography has become such a significant part of my work? And what can you do to improve your street photographer’s skills? Let’s begin the story!

The First Walk with the Camera

I was still a student trying to make the ends meet in a foreign city. I used to shoot weddings, organise engagement photoshoots, and so on. One friend told another about my work and somehow all my weekends got busy with people wanting me to capture the most important days of their lives. I was honoured but also extremely tired. I spent most of my evenings editing the images, choosing winter lightroom presets for December wedding photoshoots or portrait ones for pictures of friends’ newborns.

Time flew and I felt I was stuck in one place both with my education and a kind of random photography career. I decided to work less and started to go to the gym and swimming pool at least once a week. Summer finally came and I also began going for long walks around the city. And one day, fascinated how the sun goes down over the tram tracks, I ran back home to grab my camera and capture the most simple and beautiful view in the world — a sunset.

From then on, my camera accompanies me wherever I go. I know. Very romantic.

People on the Streets

My daily walks and better mood encouraged me to take bolder and bolder shots. I started talking to people. Asking them if I could take a picture of their dogs, children or themselves. Eventually, I even dared to photograph them secretly from time to time. I was rather shy and insecure at the very beginning but the confidence grew with time!

It appeared that the more confident I was about what I was doing, the better my results were. The passerby didn’t pay so much attention to me (or at least I stopped caring about that!) and the photographs were increasingly more interesting and unique.

Strangers can be scary sometimes. Especially if you’re an introvert. Getting close to them to capture the perfect moment can be really stressful. But that’s another thing I love about this kind of photography — you keep loosing your boundaries. The motivation to create amazing art becomes much stronger than your fears and shyness. Each successful shot is another motivational point!

Exploring and Discovering

You can be the world’s greatest explorer in your own town. Looking at your neighbourhood through the lens changes your perspective completely. It’s like putting a mind-changing filter on your eyes. Suddenly, even the tiniest, ugliest and most hated details become actual art objects. You can see the old, well-known spots in a completely new light!

I’d never think I’d fall in love with the view of an old, empty bench and pigeons nibbling sunflower shells. Or with the gang of 4 old men sitting on a curb in front of the entrance door of the building I live in almost every day. Always slightly drunk, always slightly scary. Then, one day I dared to talk to them and ask if they’d like to have a picture together (I must have been drunk on endorphins that day!), and they happily agreed! Apparently, they even had a nickname for me — the camera guy.

Practising street photography helps you keep a sneaky child’s curiosity — always up to mischief innocently… You wander around looking for new places to get into — sometimes even when it’s not very legal. The small photography adventures wake up your vagabond’s instinct!

Photography Gear Doesn’t Matter

I was lucky enough to have a DSLR camera with a couple of changeable lenses. As I’ve already mentioned, I used to be a part-time photographer back then already. But the truth is that in street photography it doesn’t matter what cameras and lenses you have.

For me, street photography is a kind of philosophy and the way of perceiving the world around you. It taught me to see and accept both the beauty and the darkness that accompanies us every day of our lives.

Obviously, taking your camera everywhere you go and shooting everything you see from different angles, in a different light, and so on can undoubtfully be a great technical exercise and trying out your gear’s various features. But it shouldn’t be your only motivation. And lack of professional photography gear definitely can’t be an excuse for not developing your hobby!

You can even start with your mobile phone camera. If you can’t afford to get a digital camera yet, start your photography education from another side — develop your creativity and perceptiveness. This way you’ll be ready to make the best out of your future photography gear.

Let your street photography journey begin any minute. Stay bold and creative!

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1 Reader Comment

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  1. Puck says:

    I agree, photography gear doesn’t matter and most photographers don’t understand it

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