Gone Fishing

Written by: Tim Neumann and Lorie McQuirt

BW-WED-0503201701-I001 - Spend some time looking for lines, lights and elements for the scene.
BW-WED-0503201701-I001 – Spend some time looking for lines, lights and elements for the scene.

We have been doing a lot of street photography lately. It’s the in thing to do when the weather starts to get nicer out and the locals come out of their self imposed hibernation and explore the warrens right outside of their Winter dens.

If you are like a lot of fledging street photographers, you may tend to be a little nervous about photographing strangers for fear of getting called out or into some kind of confrontation with the subject. To try to soothe your nerves, we’ll tell you that bad outcomes happen much less often than you might think, but we also know our assurances won’t make this transition easier for you. The reality is, the more you do street photography, the more and more comfortable you will become grabbing candid images and over time you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to talk to strangers about taking their picture. Ultimate, over time, you’ll find that when you do get busted, taking someone’s picture, a simple shrug and moving on will likely diffuse just about any situation.

BW-WED-0503201701-I002 - A moment captured, depth of field and focus point pre-planned.
BW-WED-0503201701-I002 – A moment captured, depth of field and focus point pre-planned.

Between now and the time that this all becomes second nature, you need to get out there and shoot and really shoot often. The more you shoot, the easier all of this will become. A technique that we have personally used and that we often recommend to our workshop participants is the of fishing the shot. In real life, you want a catch a real fish kind of fishing, you drop your bait into the water and wait for a hungry subject to come along. In street photography it’s not that much different, imaging having a scene all composed and then simply waiting for the subject to walk into the position in the scene that you would like them to be in.

Don’t laugh, it works better than you might think. For the most part the subject knows that you are there, but if you are busy looking through the viewfinder, they will assume you are not looking at them. Being typically lazy, apathetic, busy, in a hurry, etc., you find that most people will simply continue on the path they were on and will end exactly where you predicted they would be in your scene. Bam, shot grabbed.

BW-WED-0503201701-I003 - Having waited for the subject to step into the light.
BW-WED-0503201701-I003 – Having waited for the subject to step into the light.

Try it sometime, you’ll find it makes street shooting easier to ease into and that you’ll get more comfortable doing it over time.

See you next week!

tdneumann

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