Street photography probably isn’t for everyone. It is risky to some degree both physically and emotionally, and there isn’t a whole lot of money in it, to be honest. Most of the guys like Eric Kim who are making paper from street photography are doing it hosting workshops and touring, not from selling prints at gallery shows or to fashion magazines.
With that being said, here are 3 reasons to try street photography if you haven’t already…
Street Photography is for introverts
To be hyper-transparent for a moment, I strongly prefer working with large corporate or mid to small business clients. There are a billion reasons why this is so and I may address them as this blog evolves, but that’s my personal preference as far as booking gigs goes. Of course I would book gigs with any client if the paper is right, but I particularly don’t like working with clients one-on-one where I’m expected to perform miracles. For example, amateur models sometimes have unrealistic expectations about how a shoot will turn out. As my friend and mentor puts it: You get skinny potential-runway models who want to look like print models and 5 foot 2 curvy models who want to be on the runway during fashion week.
Besides portraiture, weddings are emotionally draining work and most of the wedding photographers I see when I shoot street photography on Saturdays look a mixture of terrified and depressed. They look like chicken zombies, seriously. In street photography there are no clients to worry about. Unless you’re on a photo walk there are no other shooters to compare yourself to or distract you. There is only you and the world, and it’s you versus the world….
Street photography is for extroverts
Even if you are a go-getter, extrovert, life of the party type who books 50 weddings a year and has the maximum number of Facebook friends, street photography is still viable for you. Many extroverts spread themselves too thin and need solo time to redirect and work on the subtle nuances of their craft. Street photography gives a person that opportunity as well as giving a popular shooter some “artsy” shots to add to his or her portfolio. I am not by any reasoning a go-getter type. I am more brooding and badass, so I really don’t like seeing these jazzy attention grabbing types shooting art on my streets. But, if you must be a complete douchebag and bring your Nikon D5 with a 70-200 2.8 VR to shoot the streets then I can’t stop you. Street photography doesn’t always have to be counter-culture and dark. There is room for winners as well as losers.
Street Photography doesn’t have many rules
You don’t need to master flash or filters or use a tripod or carry all sorts of backup gear when you shoot in the streets. Actually, if there is one rule Eric Kim frequently harps on that is brilliant it’s his one camera and one lens rule. That’s the only rule I can think of that matters. No need to switch bodies every few shots like you’re shooting college field hockey, or worry about comparative corner sharpness between the 6 lenses you brought with you. Street photography is very forgiving as to what is accepted as a decent street photograph, and after a few outings and postings on Facebook you’ll have all your friends and family calling you some sort of artist, when all you really did was apply a grainy preset in Lightroom.
Well that’s it. That’s the list. Put down your phone and go shoot 10 street photos with your big ass D5 or 1DX II before nightfall. If it’s night when you read this then do it the next day. When you’re out there do not hesitate or falter. Stay low and keep shooting!
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