Issue 3 of Street photography
On street portraits, part 2
How did your manage with yesterday’s street portraits? And how can you improve them? There are many different ways to take a good portrait, but also some to ruin it.
A common mistake is to have a backdrop that’s too messy. When you take portraits you should pay attention to what the background looks like. Go for the ”calmer” ones.
Look for character
Interesting people always stand out in pictures. Try to find those who stick out around you. They will always intrigue those who see your pictures.
What about the Rules of Thirds you learned yesterday?
Did you remember or did your motif end up in the middle anyway? Try to emboss this rule into your backbone and use it frequently. Put your main motif at a third.
Tips good street portraits: 1. Mind the background 2. Find nice characters 3. Try to get at nice composition directly in your viewfinder. Look at the attached image and make good use of Rule of Thirds, this will give your image both direction and better balance.
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Street photo is to, in a documentary fashion, depict people and their lifes in an urban environment - showing what we do, induce and change. It's a direct storytelling of our everyday lives.
I claim that street photography is the ultimate way to take pictures, as street photographers always must be prepared for just about anything. This also turns it into a very good learning activity for any kind of photographer. What you face in street photography, you can adapt and use in most other genres of photography - whether it's landscape, press, sports, family portraits or even selfies.
This course offers many tips, buts also challenges. There will be hints on technical settings as well as on ways to socially interact. There will also be a bit on laws and regulations. I believe this will give you not only courage to try, but also a craving for more. And the reward is almost always really good pictures telling a story.
Just an important detail, as I'm constantly asked this: Street photography is about the people, not the streets. Architecture and design/composition photography is NOT what we do.
Gunnar Fägersten Novik. I am a dedicated street photographer since several years. After working more than 20 years as a journalist, I now work with communication, marketing and business development. I still write a lot, convinced that pictures are a natural part any story. You can see my pics at my Wordpress account or at Facebook - www.facebook.com/GFNstreet.
If you understand Swedish, I also write about communication and more at my blog: uppflygaorden.blogspot.se
At the Instagram account @GunnarFNovik I'll try to publish a street photo a day.
I first wrote this workshop in Swedish, together with my street pal Daniel Eliasson, lot's of thanks to him for that essential input.