Thomas Leuthard, one of the well known Street Photographers around the world. He loves to take pictures on the streets, where he is able to transform the life into his Shots. In this article Thomas Leuthard shares more about Street Photography, with various tips and techniques for us.
Street Photography – Tips
1. Use the camera you have
I’m ask every day about tips regarding cameras. I have used about 6 different cameras in the last 3 years and all of them were doing its job. It’s not the camera, it’s only your eye. Forget about the camera and use the one you have. Sure there might be limitations, but you have to learn to live with that. There is no perfect camera and there is always something better coming soon. Go out and shoot, forget about gear.
2. Know it by heart
I often see people, who have to do some settings while they want to take a shot. You don’t have the time to do that. You have to exactly know what you need to do and you have to be prepared BEFORE you see something. There is no time to press any other button than the shutter release. If you don’t know how your camera works, you should not go out to the streets.
3. Don’t be afraid of anything
Very often I’m being asked if I talk to the people I shoot, which I don’t. The fact that I would need a lot of time to discuss and explain everything, didn’t really let me do it. Furthermore I still believe that you should not ask to get the best and most natural expression from anyone.
4. Walk slow, shoot fast
Normally, I see people doing it the other way round. The jump into a scene and then they miss the shot, because they are too slow. When you walk slowly, people will not realize you. When you shoot fast, people will also not realize you. So you have the chance that you will not be recognized and leave the field with a good and authentic shot.
5. Wait for the actors…
There are interesting backgrounds or scenes already there. You only have to wait for an actor to enter the stage and complete the shot. This can sometimes be difficult as there is nobody. I cannot say, how long you should wait, but when the scene is really good, it’s worth waiting. I never wait longer than 5-10 minutes, but I know people who wait much longer.
Street Photography – Techniques
1. Don’t shoot from 1.70m
I see a lot of people who shoot from eye level. On eye level is the view we see every day. Everything we see every day seems normal and therefore boring. As soon as you go lower or higher, a photograph gets much more interesting, just by leaving the normal view level. As an exercise you should just try to shoot a whole day with the camera flat on the floor. You will realize how interesting this perspective can be.
2. Shoot with one lens only
A lot of people carry to much material with them. I even carry two cameras with different lenses with me. Stop doing that and choose one camera and one prime lens. This can be a 50mm, which is quite versatile and cheap. This lets you think a bit more before you shoot. A prime lens saves time as you don’t have to zoom and you always get the same frame size. You will get used to the size of the frame which helps you composing and finding the right spot to make a fast shot.
3. Shoot in P-Mode
I very often shoot in this mode since I trust my camera and it does a good job. There are people, who think when they shoot in manual mode, they are better photographers. In the end it’s the result. When you want to concentrate and focus on the composition you should outsource the exposure to the camera. The camera is fully capable of executing this task. I also use auto ISO, face detection, a swivel display and image stabilization. Like that I can be very relaxed and only have to be sure the composition is perfect.
4. Shot from the hip
Shooting from the hip has two advantages. You will get a different view, but more important, people will not realize that you shoot them. With a swivel display you can even see what you shoot and still be stealthy. If you don’t see what you shoot, you have to practice that before. Choose a wide angle lens to get more in the frame that you have a bigger chance to catch the target.
5. Killers shot twice
Street is fast, street is unique, … You have to be quick and in order to capture everything you shoot in the fastest mode and take several frames in a row. Like this you are sure you caught the action and afterwards you can choose the best shot out of the series. The today’s cameras are fast enough to make between 3 and 9 photos per second. Like that you will not miss the action and the chance of a perfectly sharp image is much higher.
You can find Thomas Leuthard on the Web :
All the pictures in this post were created by Thomas Leuthard. You can use them for free under the Creative Commons license.