Practicing street photography is one of the quickest ways to become a better photographer. Here's why each and every one of you should be hitting the streets with your camera.
Street photography can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding genres to work in. While the thought of shooting on the streets will fill many of you with dread, there really is no better place to learn the ropes of photography. I have always dabbled in street photography as a way to keep my "photographer reflexes" sharp. I also really enjoy doing it, which is a bonus. I do, however, think I would still partake in the genre even if I didn't like it. The reason for this is that I generally feel sharper and more alert when I go back into the often slower and more controlled environment of commercial photography. It's like comparing the photographing of a wild bear to capturing a picture of a stuffed teddy.
Photographer Faizal Westcott raises many of these same points in his latest video, where he champions the benefits of street photography. The video starts with Westcott talking about how he owes a lot of his personal growth as a photographer to the genre, as it taught him to pay closer attention to things around him. He also talks about how hitting the streets is a great way to accelerate the learning of photography itself. This one point stuck with me, as there really isn't a better way to learn how to be a photographer than putting the hours in and taking lots of pictures in many situations. Of course, you can learn how to shoot from the comfort of your bedroom, but shooting those same four walls will get old pretty quick. Westcott also talks about the importance of failure and how this is something that street photographers get used to living with. I really liked this point, as failing and learning from it is an important lesson to help us become better photographers.
The great thing about street photography is that you don't need to rely on others to do it. The street is there 365 days a year, and it costs virtually nothing to be there. No booking slots at expensive photo studios or scheduling models to work with you. Just you and your camera are all that's needed. Westcott's video is an important reminder of all this and a great love letter to the genre of street photography. I hope some of you that work in other areas of the industry give it try. You may just be surprised by what you get out of it.
Do you do any street photography already? Has the genre benefited any other areas of your work? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.