Street Photography Advice

A bit of street photography advice flipped past me on Instagram recently: To make your street photography better, pretend you’re shooting video.

I found this curious and spent just enough time with the post to discover that what they were talking about was essentially Henri Cartier-Bresson’s idea of the decisive moment. Pretending you’re shooting video was their way of saying: Don’t just snap something because the scene looks good (or whatever). Watch carefully what’s going on through the viewfinder and choose those moments that really tell the story.

Here’s what that looks like:

Street scene in Porto, Portugal.

I liked the early-evening light, enhanced by the string of lights, along this narrow street in Porto, Portugal. But there’s really not much going on.

Street scene in Porto, Portugal.

Then this young guy sits down. He’s apparently been partying hard. His body language is adding something interesting to the mood of the scene. But this still isn’t right.

Street scene in Porto, Portugal.

Getting better. Plus, I like having these other people in the scene. They have their own stories.

Street scene in Porto, Portugal

And there it is — as edited. The hand up to the forehead says more about what he’s feeling. And two of the three people are checking him out. The woman in back appears defensive (although she could be reacting to me). I like the similar body language on the two men — obviously taking in the street scenes of which the seated man is just another feature.

I “tripped the shutter” on my phone eight times to get this shot (#7).

By the way, when I’m carrying a camera specifically for street photography it’s my Fujifilm X-E1 and an 18 to 55 zoom — a camera with some age on it 🙂 But it’s the camera you have with you at the time that’s most important. That’s usually my Google Pixel.

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