Home How-To Shooting Trade Tricks: Street Life
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Trade Tricks: Street Life

Create beautiful photographs in your own community

Looking For Light
My schedule doesn't provide me frequent opportunities to travel to exotic locations to photograph. I have to make time on weekends, shooting in my immediate neighborhood or a nearby city. I'm often surprised by what there is to photograph within a three-mile radius of my house.

When I hit the streets with my camera, the first thing I look for is the light. I'm not just looking to see if it's overcast or sunny. I'm searching for a shaft of light or an interesting reflection off of a surface. A beam of light hits a red wall and the color can become bright and saturated. Yet it's also the shadow area immediately adjoining that area that interests me. The strong contrast between light and dark can make a mundane scene suddenly sparkle with life.

If I see a street scene with such an isolated shaft of light, I stop. The light hitting the sidewalk alone may not be particularly interesting, but this is where a little patience pays off. As people briskly walk down the street, there may be a person wearing a red jacket or yellow shirt who, when he or she steps into the light, brings the moment to life. I manually prefocus on the spot and wait. When a subject moves into position, I snap the shutter.

Keep It Simple
I sometimes spend a day creating images based on an individual idea, a specific color or shape, for example. Some themes may be more people-focused, such as displays of affection or a touch. This narrows my attention. Although I may create other images as well, photographing with a theme in mind often results in a more successful day of shooting.




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