Last week I spent Labour Day on the streets of Lusaka, enjoying the entertainment and taking photos. If you missed my short account of the day, you can catch up by reading Labour Day : Part 1.
Does street photography come naturally to you? If it does, let us know your secret – taking pictures of total strangers can be scary. What I have learnt is that a festival or parade can be the perfect time to have a go. In a crowd you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Most people will be relaxed and many of them will be carrying their own camera.
But what about rejection? What if somebody asks you not to take their picture? Just move on. It’s nothing personal – they simply don’t want their photo taken. And there are bound to be other opportunities.
Apart from comfortable shoes and water to drink, what do you need if you’re planning a day of street photography? I like to travel light, with just one camera body and two lenses. Carrying a lot of stuff can get in the way of taking pictures. Whenever possible I use a standard 50mm lens – I like the natural look of the pictures that it gives. Many street photographers prefer the 35mm lens, because it lets them get closer to the action and still fit everything in. Ultimately it’s your photos that matter, so use equipment that you’re comfortable with. And if you use batteries, remember to carry spares.
Do you like to plan your photography or go with the flow? I keep a very general shooting list in my head, with the aim of telling the story of the day. Think about scene setting pictures, close-up details and offbeat shots that couldn’t have been taken anywhere else.
Finally, don’t be hard on yourself when you get to the editing stage. Even on a good day most of my pictures will go in the reject bin, but if I’ve enjoyed my photography I don’t have any regrets.
I look forward to hearing how you get on.