July 2015
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Getting better at street photography – 5 tips (contd..)

In the previous post (,Getting better at street photography – Part 1), we started a discussion about some techniques of street photography. Here are some more.
Street photography is something that can be done by anyone, and with any type of camera. Street photography used to refer earlier to people in the streets, but now is much broader to refer to all public places, even when humans are not there in the photo. In fact, there are some splendid photos that have been taken using hand held cameras or using camera phones, and no one could argue that many of them come out great. It is not necessary to have DSLR’s for street photography, although in certain situations, the DSLS also helps (especially in conditions such as low light, or when shooting from a distance). But, you can always improve your skills in street photography, and here are some experience based tips for the same:

Tip 1316 (One lens to rule them all): If you can only carry one lens for a particular street photography tip, then the 50mm prime is one of the best lenses to carry. It is very small, light weight and very fast. It does not allow any zoom (and if you need to use zoom capability, then it would be best to use some other lens). The prime lens also allows reducing the ISO to the least possible, thus ensuring minimum noise.

Tip 1317 (Using auto mode): If you are moving around leisurely, taking still street photography or monuments, then you can use manual mode or one of the aperture/shutter priority modes and also use manual focus. However, if you have a need to take a photo suddenly, then you will have to accept that using the auto mode of the camera will work best in most cases. In street photography, the light available at a spot changes depending on whether there is a shadow or there is light, or if the object is slow moving or fast moving. In such cases, tweaking the modes of the camera may not be possible if you have to take a shot quickly, so the auto mode is your friend.

Tip 1318 (Shooting with groups): Sometimes there is safety in numbers. If you are shooting alone, you could look suspicious, but if you tie up with a group which is doing street photography, there is less chance that people will hassle you. If you are part of a tourist group, or some local organization that takes you around the area, it will be much more comfortable for you when doing street photography.

Tip 1319 (Adjusting aperture for depth of field): With the camera lens more open (the aperture being much wider), a figure such as aperture of 1/2.8 will result in more light hitting the sensor, but at the same time, the depth of field will be very narrow. As a result, the object of the photo will be sharp, but the surroundings and objects behind and around the subject will tend to be out of focus or blurred. In many instances in street photography, you would want to capture the surroundings in focus as well. As a result, you will need to use narrower aperture values, such as 1/8 or similar. If this means that light is less, you can adjust the ISO values to increase the light (although this will result in a higher level of noise, but may not be discernible till you hit an ISO of 800 or more).

Tip 1320 (Watch out for performances or carnivals): In many cities around the world, there are specific events where carnivals are held, or there are performances ongoing. In such a case, it is pretty easy to get some great photos, both of the people who are part of the event, as well as the spectators. Also, the number of people shooting such events is large, and hence there is less chance of somebody hassling you during such an event.

Street Photography Now Street Photography

Some videos for street photography:

Street Photography Tips

5 Basic Street Photography Tips

Street Photography Basics

Street Photography Tip: How To Fast-Action Focus

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