Monday, June 17, 2013

Introduction to Street Photography Workshop

This past weekend on Saturday I hosted my first photography workshop. Not knowing what to expect as far as turn out I was indeed happy that at least one person showed up. That one person happens to be a guy I've known for some time through a mutual friend. When I had asked Gabe why he showed up and wanted to attend the workshop, his answer was fairly simple. "I've never done anything like this before." A major part of getting photos you're happy with, is knowing how to use your camera properly. 90% of the time AUTO mode does a good job but its the other 10% where your ability as a photographer is tested. After a bit of going through the camera and figuring out some settings, we headed out from our meet up location to get started. There were four major topics on the agenda and as walked, we talked. Those subjects are: What is a street photo?, Making the decision to ask or just shoot, How to handle people's reaction, and Looking for interesting subjects. I'll go over them with you here for those who did not attend. To me, a street photo absolutely has to have the human element. I've taken street photos that weren't necessarily in the streets, think about a mall, grocery store, restaurant. I just happen to like the open air and downtown Tucson a lot (plus there are some weird looking people). As stated, to me a street photo is all about humans and how they interact/react in their current environment. Next up, Making the decision to just shoot or ask. This topic is a tough one, especially for beginniners, as its often the first challenge you're presented with. In that moment you see someone, and get that inner feeling to take their photo you must establish this right away. If you choose not to ask, you risk missing a moment if you're not ready. If you choose to indeed ask, do it properly, approach the person smile, say hello and introduce yourself. Tell them what you're a street photographer and you'd like to take their photo. Here is your biggest leverage when asking someone for their photo on the street. Tell them why you wanna take their photo. Was it their hat, shoes, jewelry, or hair that interested you in the first place? When you bring them in and let me know why you asked to take their picture in the first place. Generally, people are receptive of your honesty and agree for a photo. Next subject, How to handle people's reaction to you taking their photo. When you decide not to ask for the photo, be subtle and quick. If the person notices you, simply smile and wave hello. I would say 95% of the time this method works, it shows them, yeah I'm here so what? I can wave and smile like a human and I'm not trying to hide. The other 5% of the time just use your gut instinct, is this person being aggressive? do they want you to delete the photo? are they threatening your safety? Be smart and follow the best route to a peaceful resolution to the issue (this type of reaction is very rare, but be careful, as it can happen). Last but not least was the topic of Looking for interesting subjects. Sometimes we can feel as this is the difficult part. When you live in a smaller city naturally there are less people, so that means less chances for awesome street photos right? WRONG!!! Do not let this type of thinking handicap what you're capable of capturing in your very own backyard. Since for me, street photography is all about the human element, go where people are and BAM!! instant subjects. One aspect of the whole looking for interesting subjects is sometimes they are just not there. This is when you must seek them out and anticipate those interesting moments. Be two steps ahead of your subject and you'll be ready the next time it comes around. While close ups and tighter framed portraits of the people are nice, look for other interesting subjects like shadows, shapes, and architecture to add to the mix. Having a variety of styles within the same body of work is way to keep yourself fresh, interested, and motivated. If you find yourself struggling with how to approach/get close/interact with the human subjects in street photography. Be patient, it's an acquired skill, courage, and motivation to get out there. If you made it this far into my post, I applaud you and appreciate your support. On a final note, I had a great time hosting this photography workshop. Someone asked me if I was upset that only one person showed up. My response? Not at all. I had honestly thought no one would show up and I would go about my business as usual. I was there to share, express, and help someone else with their own photography. That was the whole idea behind hosting this workshop. Keep an eye out for future workshop dates and themes. Thanks for stopping by

Dude in a German cowboy hat talks to us about "Blade Runner" and how he killed his wife. Le Chao to the left of the frame

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Da Blues


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