Street Photography


_dsc8211-3a-2aAnother of my passions is street photography.  This term has come to mean many things to many people over time.  What it means to me is candid photography taken on the streets; be they city, small town, or even out in the country.  It is that simple, yet often times it is not simple at all.

While I do take photographs of “scenes” on the street, I really prefer to capture the person, the moment, the subject.  This brings me into the realm known as street portraits.  they can be candid captures, or the known moment posed by the person.  But I prefer to get my shots before they are expecting them, or realize what I am doing.  It captures the true self that is them, and the true moment in time.

But I also consider objects as part of street photography as well.  I will often take a picture of the ordinary, but that is far too often ignored.  You will see this in my shared photographs.  And I hope that each person will feel why I took the shot, or get its purpose.

You will also notice that some of my photographs are black and white, and some are in color.  I have been asked how you determine which it will be.  The answer for me is that the picture will dictate.  Sometimes color actually detracts from what is being presented, and other times it is needed.  And when I process the image I normally try it both ways.  One will usually speak to me more than the other.  But not always.  Sometimes I process it both ways and then depending on my application or mood, I will use one or the other.

Another thing I have been asked is what I think about adding grain/noise to images.  This will give them the look of an old school film street photography shot.  But in truth, I don’t care for it.  I say let the picture speak for itself, and be “gritty” if it IS gritty.  You don’t need to introduce false lack of quality to prove your ability to take good street photography.

I will also point out that the reason old school shots look that way is that was the best they could do.  Trust me, no photographer went out with less then the best camera and film they could, for the purpose of getting grainy shots.  The reason the shots were grainy is that the film they were using as well as the cameras, could not take crisp shots in the low lights they were shooting at.  Thus, you get grainy shots.  And I would wager that if those old school photographers could have used the cameras we have now, and their ability to capture clear, crisp, shots even in lower light conditions, they would have jumped at it with pure excitement.

So no, I don’t introduce grain/noise into my shots that were not there naturally. And I do my best to avoid it if possible, and take the best quality shots I can given all the factors I have to deal with at the time.

I have countless shots, so choosing which ones to post up was not easy.  I just picked randomly; and will make more street photography pages, and street portrait pages as time goes on to share others.  I hope folks enjoy these as well as future posts.  And as always, if anyone has questions or comments, feel free to post them or send them to me directly.



    • Yes you can. You can also use the settings that gives you the best ability to capture the very best shot you can take (which means as little grain or noise as possible), and then in post add whatever grain/noise you think will work for you. If you take the shot in less then your best settings and camera’s abilities, you can’t then get the very best shot possible. It only works in one direction.

      I never advise making your equipment take anything less then its highest quality shots. Again, you can do the quality diminishing in post if you like but you can’t make it substantially higher quality if you are starting with low quality data. Much like I never advise shooting in black and white. Shoot in full color and then change to black and white in post if that is what you need for your application. You can always take color away from your images, but trying to add color later should you want/need it…. yeah, stick to shooting in full color.

      People need to find their own styles though. And then do what is needed to achieve that. My style is not grainy or noisy images. I like clean and crisp. I will from time to time GET a grainy shot, but that is seldom to never my goal.

      The truth is, subject matter often times trumps visual quality though. Getting the right subject matter in front of your lens and applying certain “rules” (which of course can be broken when they need to be) is often what makes people love a shot VS another that is truly a superior quality shot visually. That said, I personally believe we should strive for the highest quality we can get given all factors involved.

      This reminds me of a video I saw on YouTube years ago, and it was a photographer explaining the “subject” issue. He always set up his shots first using his assistants. It allowed him to get the technical aspects right (lens, distance, lighting, angles, etc.) so that when the actual client was in the shot, it would be right with minimal work. So his technical requirements for a fantastic shot were dead on…. but the test shots using his staff clearly were NOT “award winning” or even much to look at. Why? Subject.

      He also showed a picture that another photographer did with a fireman. The shot was spectacular. The lighting was great, the subject matter was great, the setting was great, etc. But he pointed out that he himself could NEVER take that shot unless one thing was there. The subject (as in the fire fighter himself). It was not all the other things that really sold the shot, but WHO was in it; and the other stuff only assisted in the process.

      It is also how you can have one photographer take better quality shots, but of average looking people, and another photographer take pretty low quality shots of PRETTY people, and guess who gets more attention? Yes, the photographer who had the crappy shots of pretty people. Subject matter. And yes, that can be VERY frustrating for truly great photographers who don’t have the subject matter at hand (be they pretty people, awe inspiring landscapes, gritty streets, etc.).

      I try to remind people of that fact (as did the photographer in the video). Your shots may be technically as good as anyone else’s, but if your subject matter is not there, they will never get the attention the “other guys” are getting. It is much like real estate, location, location, location. With photography it is, subject, subject, subject. But as with real estate, that is not the ONLY thing to worry about. After all, you can’t put a run down shack in a great location and sell it. There IS a balance to be had. If you have a great location, and great house… ahhhhhh Same with photography. Great subject, and great quality of shot.

      So I advise photographers to try to get the best subject they can, and couple that with the best quality shot they can. I don’t advise handicapping yourself before you begin the race. Sure, you can run a marathon after shooting yourself in the foot, but why would you WANT to?

      … sorry, got a bit long winded there. But I hope folks can see my goals for the journey just taken.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes very informational comment. This is good that everyone of us is following his/her special way of how and why. I shoot in RAW so my images are always in color but the high ISO when i want to have this grainy effect is always my pre shooting decision. Im trying to be exact with as i can my settings but this is my specific way as i said before. And you’re right – if there is no good subject in time of taking of picture its impossible to create or to add it during an editing process.

        Liked by 1 person

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