Common Street Photography Myths Debunked

Street photography is full of opinions, and you've probably heard advice that can hinder your progress. By the end of this video, you'll know some of the most controversial advice you can get and what to do instead to boost your creativity and take better photos.

Coming to you from Tim Jamieson, this enlightening video challenges common notions in street photography, starting with the idea that you should always use the viewfinder and never shoot from the hip. Shooting from the hip offers a unique perspective and less control, which can lead to unexpected and interesting results. If your camera has a fold-out screen, framing shots from the hip becomes easier. Otherwise, practice and trial and error will help you get used to it. This technique is also great for beginners who might feel shy about taking photos in public.

Another common piece of advice is to avoid photographing homeless people and street performers because it’s unethical and cliché. Jamieson argues that if you want to document life as it is, excluding these subjects means missing out on important aspects of street life. While it's crucial to consider the ethics of your photography, you should take photos of whatever interests you and decide later if you want to share them. The legality in many places, like the UK, allows for photographing anyone in public, but ethical considerations should guide your decisions on sharing your work.

The video also discusses lens and aperture choices, debunking the idea that real street photographers only use wide angle lenses with high f-stops. Jamieson emphasizes that your choice of lens and aperture should depend on your style and the lighting conditions. While wide apertures can create beautiful bokeh, they might lose contextual information. Conversely, narrower apertures can capture more of the environment. The key is to experiment and find what works best for your style.

Jamieson highlights the importance of composition, even in street photography, where capturing a moment is often prioritized. Good compositional techniques like leading lines, the rule of thirds, and understanding why these rules exist can enhance the impact of your photos. Strong composition combined with capturing the right moment results in powerful images. That just the beginning, so check out the video above for the full rundown from Jamieson.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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