Many of the photographers who prosper on the streets are equally at home in photographic studios , today I want to examine what crossover skills are being brought into play and how you can start using these approaches.
The first thing any tog will do before contemplating setting up a table top shot is to examine the product to be photographed, is it textured, translucent, dark etc, this initial examination will determine the suitability of backgrounds, lighting and viewpoint.
Note that the first decision is background, is it coloured , neutral or detailed in someway,( eg old wooden planks) this principle is the first lesson we can bring to Street Photography !
Build your shots from the back, ask yourself. Will the view behind your subject compete with your intended subject, hopefully it will complement your subject, even though we might not be aware at this stage of what or who will become the main subject of our "random" street pictures. Some of my favorite Street backgrounds work as abstract compositions independently, this is usually a good start.. Let me state here that backgrounds with reasonable footfall in front of them are my preference but I will invest more time waiting and adopting a fisherman's approach if necessary..
A early test shot from my Another Species of Giraffe pic.
Okay, so the background has been chosen, now for the lighting, although most of us rely on natural / available light for our Street pictures that does not mean that we have given up control, we can choose when we shoot to ensure the best lighting is exploited for our work. Sometimes that can mean returning later in the day, on another day or even a different month in demanding circumstances. The take away point here is, shoot on your terms and don't be too quick to accept the picture conditions offered when you discover a potential location.
Some locations demand back-lighting or flat overcast soft light, think about what light is best for your intended capture, don't rely on luck, take control, .revisit the same locations throughout the year and learn from what you see. You can be sure that our studio photography colleagues are in total control of every element of their compositions.
Last but not least , the viewpoint you choose should not be underestimated . taking up different positions around your location is never a waste of time, you will also discover that eye level views are rarely the best. Check out low, high, left and right views and decide which one you want to invest in, quite often the best view will be the most uncomfortable to maintain, such is life.
Background, check, Lighting , Check and viewpoint check ! You're ready to go !
Congratulations ! You have done all you can to capture the best image, all that is needed now is for a moment to unfold before you, yes a element of luck is still required for your Street picture to happen but this decision making process will reduce the odds of failure and put you in control.
Spontaneous captures are fantastic, however serendipity needs a helping hand occasionally.
Keep it real !
I invested a bit of time into this location due to the light and background and was rewarded with this.