Getting started with street photography is tough. While it’s totally legal, it can be quite difficult to stand behind a lens and point it at complete strangers. When you first start out, you’ll doubt you ability to continue. It can be pretty intimidating. Thankfully, the lovely folks at The Phoblographer have compiled a list of famous street photographer quotes that they feel are useful to help you get started in the street photography field.
My favorite from this set is definitely the following:
“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson
Photography, no matter what form, is entirely about the moment. No other art form allows you to freeze a fraction of a second for eternity. All of its intricacies held still, able to be explored.
My personal advice, if you go out to shoot on the street for the first time, start simple! Shoot still life; things like trees and buildings and parked cars. As you start to get comfortable (or sometimes bored) with your surroundings, take a look at the people around you. Great stories can still be told from behind someone where they won’t be bothered by you shooting them.
As you gain confidence and comfort, you’ll find that you start to view your camera less as an aggressive machine and more as a friendly canvas. The sound of your shutter will fade into the ensemble of street noises as you continue to shoot and before you know it you’ll be able to capture intimate scenes featuring complete strangers.
If you’d like a bit more reading for this weekend, street photographer Eric Kim talked on his blog about how close is too close when shooting people in public. Like just about everything else in photography, it’s a balancing act. And like just about every other balancing act, you get the feel for it with practice.