The Next Four of the Seven ABCs of Street Photography

The next Four:

4. Analyze Before Clicking
It is good to take a long shot first. You will have a sense of place and see the scene and relative situation objectively. Shooting is a vice and clicking quite addicting, most true when you only have a seeming cheap SD for an ammunition and a fully-charged battery for your arsenal. Sometimes you shoot from the hip in a burst mode, sometimes you shoot (in your shyness) without even looking, hoping somewhere, somehow you can capture a moment that may garner the social media likes that would boost your ego. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, it does not. It doesn’t even make you a good photographer. Street Photography is depicting what it is about being with people in-public. To be with them, you have to be close enough to understand the rhythm, the dynamics of the street. To see it, you should open your eyes. To depict it technically sound, master your tool, know
 your camera. Know the appropriate exposure triangle of any given situation. Analyze Before Clicking. The secret of a good composition is to see it in your mind’s eye first, anticipate how people will move, grasp how gestures will gather, consider how the conundrum will communicate the idea. Picture the surreal and analyze what is real, and the moment will surely come, always be ready for the click.Image 

5. Already Been Chewed
Be yourself and have that freshness of vision. Do not chew up what’s Already Been Chewed. If some photos and style are quite popular, it is because they managed to stand out among the rest and not just a copy cat of a well-known photographer. Emulate them for what they are worth, but always look inside yourself. You are in yourself unique, and can only be what can fit and fill you. An “Anything But Cartier-Bresson” including others mentality when shooting the streets will push you farther, your only limit is your creativity. Same thing goes when looking at photos of others, do not fit it to the image of your liking, do not tweak and trample it so it may become the image of the masters. Photographs will never surrender its facts. If you want to improve your photos, study, practice, study, practice. Have a mentor, so you will get acquainted and be familiar with beautiful forms. Mentors will show you the way to the table, but only you can eat on your plate, and spoon the food to your mouth, for they know learning is not spoon-feeding and they cannot chew for you to swallow.

6. Always Be Careful

Dare to go where nobody else does, but it doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot to hurt yourself. Always protect yourself. It is the only one you’ve got. When going to places for a photowalk, dress yourself like a usual person of the street, that is your camouflage. Do not dress-up like bird watchers or hikers going to a camp or mountain climbers in a similar knapsack gear. This is Street Photography and stay invisible, the way to be careful is not to attract attention, keep your feet on the ground and stay alert always.

7. Apathy Breeds Condescension
Remember that the street is not an aquarium. They are not fishes that you fish for your consumption. People living on the streets like beggars, street children and the like, and all the others in public deserve respect. Shooting them in their sorry state doesn’t automatically mean you are sympathetic to them, be clear on your intent why you shoot them. Frames that compromises their being could hurt them. Be intelligent to figure it out. The keyword is respect.


And that’s it the Seven ABCs of Street Photography. It will eventually evolve as we bring it to where we want to the go. The DEF, Designing Every Frame could come later, but that would be in another time.

3 thoughts on “The Next Four of the Seven ABCs of Street Photography

  1. Nice piece Joel. YOu know, when I first heard of blackandwhitestreet (courtesy of Jun Jacob et al as I sat across them on the lunch table at the Shutter Games), I started rummaging through my files and — found out I hardly have any! Because, I realize, what I have been doing all those years actually was TRAVEL photography and nothing of street photography. Seeing yours and everybody’s shots on bws is enough ABC. I’m eating the bread of street photography now.

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