Street Photography is an Experience

No – this is a picture of a street, it’s more of a landscape than street photography. Haha…

Street photography is a thrilling art.

A moment can make or break you. A single hesitation or unpreparedness could spell the difference between a shot taken, or lost – for a moment, once gone, can never be repeated.

Taking to the streets to take photos of urban life, people and the goings-on of city living has been one that I have always wanted to try ever since I learned about it. I never got the opportunity, however, to experience going on a photo walk with a group of photographers to help build up my courage.

You see, being in a herd can camouflage you. Which means people will not be too conscious of you as the sole photographer taking their photos, but they will be aware of a group of photographers doing their thing.

However, when it is the reverse, and you are the sole photographer, snapping a photo in public can seem daunting.

However, when people are too busy with their own lives, and your camera is not as large and too attention-grabbing, you can blend in with the crowd and take candid photos with your subject not noticing you.

I still don’t have the courage to go up to a stranger and ask if they would let me take a portrait photo of them. I saw some videos of this, and the content creator did say that more often than not, they do get rejected. People are camera-shy, and would be wary of strangers taking their photo, even if you got the most professional-looking gear with you.

Do people notice me?

Probably. I just hold my camera with my right hand. I don’t give it much mind, and people probably don’t notice it too much. I only raise it up when I see an opportunity to strike, err, I mean take a photo.

But, when I do raise the camera up to shoot, I can’t help feel the excitement. Will I be able to pull-off the shot? Will it turn out the way I want to? Will my subject notice me, or object to being photographed?

Like I said – it can be a thrilling experience.

Not all photo expeditions are a success, though. Most of the time, I lack the courage to take the photo, or hesitate, and the moment I want to capture walked away – literally. The subject is gone, and I did not capture the moment. Unlike in a portrait photograph, where the photographer can make their model hold their pose for a while, with street photography, you cannot let the streets stop for you. You have to time your shot and take it when you see it.

I watched a tutorial that said that with street photography, it is more seeing than just taking photos. You have to look at your surroundings and picture in your mind the photo you want. Then you wait. Wait for people to walk in, wait for the moment that you want to appear, wait patiently like a hunter sitting in the shadows for their prey to fall in their trap. Then we shoot.

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Author: jomz

Web Designer and Developer, Graphic Artist. Writer.