One of the biggest challenges in Street Photography is capturing the interaction with the people in the frame. That has always been the heart of Street Photography, capturing “The Decisive Moment”, the peak of interaction, or expression. Watching two people talking while standing a few feet away can disturb their conservation, and therefore lose the moment. In this case scenario, I would look ahead at them while farther away, and be ready as I get closer, to snap of at least one photograph of them before they stop to look at me.
Much of Street Photography is looking ahead and determining where you are going to stand or stoop to take a photograph. Many Street Photographers keep walking up and down a few city blocks looking for opportunities that will show us humans in our natural environment with our instantaneous interactions. You can also plant yourself on a busy corner that may offer some opportunities better suited for not walking up and down the city blocks. Here are a few from standing just in front of an overhang to protect the public as they walk by a work zone.
There are also cases where people are sitting or standing waiting for someone, or just reading. This kind of Street Photography is easier because you just walk up, frame, and take a photograph. You are still looking ahead so you can move to get to the best angle, and, you have one chance to capture the moment before they look up at you. When they do look up at you, give a “Nod” in appreciation, and move on. I have yet to encounter a bad experience with this technique.
Another technique is to “Pan” the camera as people pass you. make sure you use at least 1/500 to stop their movement, I used lower ones, that resulted in a little motion blur, still acceptable though in many of these type of photographs. Many times, as you do this technique, the person will turn and look at you as you take their photograph. That’s OK, expressions are a good thing. You may get a smile, or a look of “What-The-Hell”, or a total avoidance.
So, as you see, there are different kind of scenarios you will come across in just a few hours on the street with your camera.
- People Sitting
- People Standing
- People Walking by
- People interacting with others
All these can make a good opportunity for Street Photography. It just takes a little practice to see all the opportunities that are in front of you as walk about with your camera in hand ready for the next “Decisive Moment”