Today's guest post is brought to you by Sebastian Jacobitz - A talented street photographer from Berlin:
I am Sebastian Jacobitz, a street photographer from Berlin and also a member of Berlin 1020.
Do you want to learn more about street photography? Visit my street photography blog - Streetbounty - and learn more about the right gear and how to create better street photos.
Street photography sounds easy. All you need is a simple camera — a cell phone is enough — and a few people in your direct vicinity. When it comes down to reality, a lot of people refrain from doing street photography because they can’t overcome a fear of photographing strangers. It is hard to make the first steps and receive first positive reactions if you don’t try.
Finding the right location is key to your first street photos. There are places that are more favourable for beginners than others. Here are my go-to areas and events that are easy training grounds to perform your first steps in street photography.
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If you happen to live in a city that is popular for it's landmarks, you can blend in and become a tourist yourself. As a Street Photographer photographing in an area where nobody carries a camera openly, you will face a lot of attention. It might make you nervous and deny you good images because you can’t conquer your fear.
Landmarks are the ideal opportunity because nobody will notice your camera anyway. There are already a lot of tourists carrying cameras and taking pictures. Instead of taking pictures of the landmark, you can incorporate the tourists in your street images.
Remind yourself of your last travel and how freely you took images while enjoying the new impressions. Were you afraid that people might notice you taking photos? No, because it is absolutely natural to save the memories while travelling.
Search for local landmarks and places that are frequented heavily by tourists. Try to blend in with their style and nobody will recognize you as a local. There is almost no easier way to capture your first images than popular places like these.
… “But I want to become a Street Photographer”. Sports events require a very similar skill set as “ordinary” Street Photography. You need to be quick with your camera to not miss a moment, you don’t have the opportunity to give directions and let your subjects pose in front of your camera.
Approach Sports Photography a little differently than most would think at the first moment. Get close with a relatively short prime lens up to 50mm and have the mindset of a Street Photographer. Capture candid emotions that happen backstage and get unique impressions.
You can also play around with different camera settings and see how they affect the results. A little longer shutter speed creates a motion blur for fast moving objects while everything else is steady.
If you are really courageous you can also combine a flash for this kind of Street Photography. Freeze the subject while everything else is moving.
Again, you won’t have much of a problem to take pictures at such an event. There are already a lot of photographers there and you will only be one of them. Except, that you embrace the Street character.
I don’t really care for political rallies and wouldn’t recommend every gathering of this kind. Things can go overboard and become dangerous for journalists, but there are a lot of tame rallies that are ideal for your first experiences on the street.
People are eager to spread the message and need journalists or photographers to gain publicity. They will seek your attention and even pose in front of your camera. Those shots are not what I would be going for. Instead, search for genuine emotions, people chanting their slogan or raising a banner.
It is a fair game and everyone knows that there will be photographers. With a camera, you might even gain privileges and walk apart from the demonstration route and with the police. Gaining new perspectives that you can use for your Street Photography.
In Berlin, we have the so-called “Mauerpark” which turns to a huge festival area every weekend and especially on Sunday. The flea market attracts all kind of customers and people.
Nearby the Flea Market might also be street musicians or other artists performing. In the summer they are a great place to spend your time and also get some good photos.
In addition to the images, you could also get lucky and find a cool working vintage camera that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. So why not testing out on-site?
Over time you learn what places work the best for you and which aren’t. Depending on the kind of images you are searching for and your character, you’ll find a lot better places and events than mentioned in this article.
But they are a great training ground to practice different skills of Street Photography. Capturing emotions on the spot and overcoming your fear to get close is not easy normally, On these places, you can jump right in the water without fearing any repercussions.
Become more comfortable on the street and there won’t be any obstructions for you to take your camera everywhere you go.