Street Photography 101

So one thing that you should know about me is that I absolutely adore taking photos of an unexpected person. Now this does two things to me; scares my core that a stranger will know I am taking a picture and stab me multiple times and two, invigorates me knowing that me flashing the shutter is just a little secret between myself and the mechanism in my hand. With these shots I capture such raw and genuine emotion among the participants and the environment. It vividly (at least for the moment) grabs the natural interaction of how locals or tourists work within their daily lives and I find it so fascinating as to how that contrasts to my own.

Some of my favorite My favorite subject matter are children and animals. I think they have the most personality and they have no inhibitions. The difficult part about capturing these small morsels of love is that they move so quickly. They are so easily swayed and pulled in by the interesting things around them, which if you think about it is basically everything. They don’t mind running wild and acting stupid, or plopping down with exhaustion because their inhibitions are lost in the fragility of their youth. It’s funny to see how similar or different they are compared to my little self (from what I remember when I was young).

These are the unsuspecting ones. Back in middle school I had this random pop into my head: How many pictures have I appeared in that I wasn’t particularly meant to be in? How many photos of myself have I not seen? How many photos will I never see? What I came to realize later in life is that pictures aren’t always for the subject or for the gaze of the person in it. Rather, it’s how someone interprets the composition, spacial awareness and how it relates to the setting. It is more about the emotion and sentiment that emanates off of the photo rather than just judging to see if you look good in it. These tiny nuances of street life is connected via the channels in how everyone processes it, which creates a community upon a picture or a set of them. I don’t know how coherently that is coming out right now, but that has been something on my mind.


Below are my three favorite photos captured, not because it looks the best, but because of the story behind how I shot their photo. I had a lovely assistant who was posing in front of a staircase to work as a decoy. The lovely coupe who was in my viewfinder then proceeded to photobomb the picture that happened to have them as the main subjects. The next picture I asked if I could take their photo and they posed in similar stances with heads tilted ever more so slightly. Next, I dared ask for a shot up close and alas they agreed with smiling faces (at least I think they did, I can’t really speak Italian). That is where the bottom right picture came to be and I love how intimate they got with the camera in such a short amount of time. The participants were so willing to open up to a stranger like me, and I think that parallels the culture of Rome. This city has so many foreigners coming in from study abroad students (guilty) to just the common tourists. It has gone to a point where I feel like I do not even need to utilize the small amount of Italian in my arsenal because they all speak English! A majority of the residents here embrace the new cultures that are intermingling within their historic city and enrapture them as if they were their own.

It should be noted that this particular picture was taken on Valentine’s Day, so that might have had something to do with their vivacious mood, but I like to think this is a constant state of being.

Now if you made it to the end of this post congratulations! But let’s be honest the only person reading this is Michelle so shout out to my homie. If you want to try to take some street shots here are some tips:

  1. Have a fast shutter speed and put your camera to aperture mode, you don’t have time to fiddle with the manual. Perfect moments happen in the blink of an eye and it would suck if you got an almost beautiful shot. BUT DON’T FORGET ABOUT ANGLES AND LIGHTING.
  2. Hip shots work too.
  3. If shy: use a friend as a decoy.
  4. If you don’t have a friend no problem! Just look right above the subject and voila! They don’t think the photo is of them!
  5. I know that the last couple of tricks have been used to not get caught, but you will. Just smile and maybe scamper away, they (probably) won’t do anything about it other than smile! Most people are receptive to pictures than you think!
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can take someone’s photo, the worst they can say is no.
  7. As cliche as this sounds… have fun 🙂 but that’ll come naturally







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s