Candid & Street Photography
Another avenue I am currently experimenting with is candid photography and or street photography (also known as shooting from the hip). This sort of photography shows people as they interact with life, well, at least that's the way I see it. Go down to your local market and fire off a card full of rapid shots, then look at the expressions on your subject's face - not posed, no false smiles, just true to life.
If I understand the definition of candid photography properly, then it is taking a photograph of a person while they are not aware, but at the same time not being offensive.
I am finding that although I have to get over the 'fear' of photographing in public (remember I am normally hidden somewhere in the countryside) its not always just a case of point and shoot.
The first time I went 'shooting from the hip', I took in excess of 300 photographs and found that probably only a dozen were decent enough to do anything with. This is the beauty of digital photography - you can literally dump the rubbish and it won't cost you a penny!
Before venturing out into the realms of street photography, I scoured the internet for ages looking for help, hints & tips and suggestions. One of the best tips I found was to go do the street photography in a tourist area, or somewhere where there is an outside market. People think you are just taking photographs of the scenery (not actually them). It actually does work.
Another thing found was to use my 'nifty fifty' as people didn't seem to find the lens intrusive as it was small, but allowing you to get some great shots.
Photographers vary in what they think looks best for street photography - the majority seem to sway to the mono conversion look, but I like both mono and colour. I suppose, at then end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
To the left are examples of the same image, one in colour (which to me brings out the colour of the flowers, fruit and veg etc, and then the mono version, which gives the scene a touch of the documentary feel.
I have found it good practice to look at an image in both versions, and then decide which one I am going to use.
Settings wise, I tend to use my 50mm prime lens with an ISO around 400 or higher - depending on how much grain I want to add to the image. Although its sometimes good to stick on the zoom lens, say 70-300mm - this way you can be sat out of the way, zooming into peoples faces without being intrusive.
Once out and about, I like to walk up and down the high street, to see what is going on, and scoping out possible locations I can park myself, be it in a door door way, or similar.
It is amazing how many photographs you can take in just an hour when learning street photography. At first you feel a little apprehensive about doing it, but when you first press that shutter realease, something seems to come over you and you hare happily firing away.
Another technique I have adopted in street photography (found this tip on the web too), is to hold the camera on your hip while walking about, and using your thumb on the shutter release (and making sure you are on continuous burst), fire off a few shots randomly. The camera isn't actually pointing at anyone, and they don't notice it because its not in front of your face. You will waste lots of shots at first, but the results can be quite amusing.
Back home, eagerly waiting for the photos to download into Lightroom, I make myself a coffee (well there is over 300+ photos downloading), and wait with anticipation. On my first attempt I was pleased with some of the results, but I did ditch quite a lot. This taught me the valuable lesson of looking at a scene first, an waiting - trying to catch the moment of contact, interaction, and that real candid moment.
As already mentioned, street photography is another new avenue I am following, and its a fun learning curve. I will be practicing more of this genre and see if I can bump my beginer skills up a level.
To get the mono look, I juse some free presets in Lightroom, and tweak away from there. Sometimes I add more noise for that grainy/gritty effect.