Following the success of blogs such as Humans of New York, the art of street photography has been rediscovered by people across the globe. Every country has a few names to showcase when it comes to quality street photography. In search of the best of the British street photography scene, we have gathered for you a list of the best British street photographers in 2015. They were happy to share with you their best tips on capturing the perfect street shot. So, here is who made the cut…
“My top tip if you’re after the perfect street shot? A good basic formula to start is all about the three Cs: Content, Composition, Critical Timing! Not having all three will most likely make for a weaker shot. So, the challenge is to obtain all three in one image!
“When it comes to reviewing your images for upload, be quite picky in your critique. Answer these questions: is the content and subject interesting or strong enough to hold the viewer? Is the composition clean and free from any distracting clutter? Am I at the right angle or perspective? Did I press the shutter button at the perfect time to capture the decisive and/or poignant moment? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you most likely have a cool street shot!”
“Street photography is a visual “Social Perspective” and whilst in recent years this genre has been diluted to anything taken on the streets, The True Street-Photographer remains faithful to a sense of spontaneity, humour, contrast, juxtaposition and story telling of “The Only” moment in which the scenario comes to Life. An often Rare Moment. My advice to any new starter is to go out on the Street with “Intense Intent” and do NOT be SHY! Always remember that the BEST camera for street photography is the one in your hand.”
“I don’t know if there is such a thing as the perfect street shot, by its very nature it’s about finding some sort of order out of the chaos and imperfection of a public place, something extraordinary out of the ordinary. If I could give any advice, it would be to look for juxtapositions around you, study geometry and try to find if there is any in a chaotic and busy street. You don’t need to be in a city to take a street photo, even in a rural setting or a very small town, you can take one.”
“One tip I would give is to organise your shooting into session times to improve your concentration – so rather than going out shooting all day, break it up into one hour or two hour blocks when you are looking for shots intensively, then take your breaks to have a coffee, snacks, etc., relax and then get back to it. You can’t concentrate fully all day long taking photographs any more than you can doing anything else.
“If I feel stuck in a rut at any point I try and read through a book by one of my favourite photographers before I go out and then try to take photos in their style to make things more interesting, for example go looking for extreme close-ups or through the window shots, or people on buses, or dramatic shadows – give yourself an exercise/brief to get you in the rhythm of taking pictures again. If I’m aware I haven’t taken a photo of anyone for quite a while, I’ll often stop and take a static shot of a shop window or anything just to reboot my eye and my brain!”
“To get the ‘perfect’ street photograph, although perfection is subjective, my tip would be to be aware of the basics – light, form and your composition; to be aware of everything that’s going on around you and around what it is you are framing and if what you’re framing will be of interest to others, what does it say, rather than just being pleasing to the eye. Make something simplistic in what can often be chaos; to ask yourself if what you photograph has any worth, if it is timeless, but also to consider if what you photograph offers us a unique view of the world that we would otherwise not see.”
“Somebody once said ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity’ and that quote is certainly very apt for street photography. As long as you observe your surroundings and are aware of the people around you, you are already halfway there to ‘receive’ street shots. Scenes unfold on the street ALL THE TIME (I personally don’t believe that there is such a thing as ‘right place and right time’). As long as you are prepared, have your camera with you at all times, have your shutter finger ready, you are sure to harvest a few shots. With street photography, the taking of the actual photograph itself is the easiest part, the real skill lies in observing your surroundings and anticipating and interpreting people’s movements and actions early enough so that you get to place yourself in the right spot to take the photo.
“The other thing that I would advise people who want to try their hand at street photography is not to worry about the type of camera they use too much at first. With street photography, it is much more important to train your eye and to build your confidence. The concept of walking up to a complete stranger to take their photograph is quite alien to most people at first and takes quite a lot of training and getting used to. Start off with a simple point and shoot camera that is small and handy to keep in your bag at all times and once you find yourself getting into it, you can always look to upgrade to a more expensive kit.”
“I honestly think a lot of very good street photography is all about the belief of the photographer. For example, having a good eye for composition and geometry, being ready, anticipating movements by subjects, knowing how to use your tricks and be fast to avoid detection, seeing and playing with colour and form, reading people, knowing repetition will occur before it does, working a scene, all these things are crucial, but really are nothing without BELIEF AND IMAGINATION.
Open your eyes, and be ready!
“Carry your camera around with you as much as possible, practice as much as you can, study the masters and contemporary works, don’t wait to be inspired – start now, shoot, shoot and shoot some more, give yourself daily doses of meditation, listen to music, watch films, read poetry, fall in love, dance, sing, and let your imagination play!”
Larry’s website: www.larryhallegua.com. Larry is also part of Observe, an international photography collective focused primarily on the practice of candid street photography.
“My best advice is: Don’t be scared! Keep going and don’t get off the bus. Find a project that relates to you, keep it simple, honest and close to home. The best camera is the one you have on you!”
“I have three top tips for getting the perfect street shot and you can choose any or all of them, if you want:
1. If you are out photographing and everything seems mundane and boring, try imagining that you are an alien who has just arrived from outer space.
2. As well as looking for random stuff to photograph on the street, have themes in mind all the time. They often suggest photos where you wouldn’t otherwise see them.
3. Try using my random online idea generator for street photography, which is a mixture of tasks, inspirational quotes, and random instructions. You can find it here.”
“I like to play with perspective and with foreground and background. I make shapes with the lines and visual connections between the subjects and their environment. Quite often I shoot through the action or the foreground with a wide angle lens, or I line up the foreground and background to make an association between them. This is what I do for fun.”