Street candids...etiquette?

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by trucarp, Apr 15, 2013.

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  1. trucarp

    trucarp Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2013
    So you're out walking downtown, you see a group of heavily made up young girls/boisterously tatoo'd young men/super old couple, out enjoying the day, and you think that (they) would make a cool picture... Do you step away, use a telephoto, or introduce yourself and step right up to them, or just start shooting and explain yourself if they ask?

    Any techniques to put people at ease? (I don't like my pic being taken, so I can understand somebody else feeling that way too.)

  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    I think mixing it up with candids and quick posed shots work the best. Just use your gut to feel out people who are approachable. I'm totally against the short lens, in your face style which I find pretentious and tacky.
  3. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    Interesting subject with many varying opinions, none of which is right or wrong. I prefer to take shots of people in their natural state, and therefore would prefer I remain as invisible as possible. I am not really into posed shots, nor do I like to get in someone's face and create an issue. Having said that, my preferred lens is the 17mm FL. I pre-focus the lens and therefore can shot from any position with the camera in any position. Even though this lens is short, I find personally that I need to get closer to judge when to press the shutter at the appropriate time. In my early attempts on the street, I used to think the subject looking at the camera was the ideal shot, but the more I get into this genre, the more I prefer the shot of interaction between subjects.

    The young group you describe is also not what I would go out of my way to photograph. Several reasons for this. Firstly, I prefer people with a unique look about them, and this can vary from young to old, rich to poor, covered in make up or natural. Secondly, I tend to stay away from bulked up and tattoo covered young bucks who need to pump their chest whenever the opportunity arises.

    It all comes down to what they are doing, where they are standing and what is around them. If there was an opportunity for a good shot presenting itself, I would get there and hope for the best.

    It is difficult to provide a more definitive answer than this, as the genre is vast and varied.
  4. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    My approach

    There are many schools of thought on this and non of them are right or wrong.

    I personally tend to see a subject and try and capture it without engaging (this can often cause posing and spoils the moment), if I am seen and the subject remains impassive I will take the shot, thank them and show them the result - this works for me and tends to render more natural looking street shots.

    I probably use the 25mm as my standard street lens but yesterday gave the Oly 75 a quick run and it delivered with great bokeh and super fast focussing, here are some from yesterday:




  5. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    You will find people's stance on this divides into two categories:

    1) my "right" to violate other people's space and privacy does NOT overide their right to be left alone

    2) my "right" to get into other people's faces and space and disregard their privacy DOES override their right to be left alone.

    I'm in group 1. Those in group 2 have endless justifications for their approach but it still boils down to a belief that they get to do do what they like without regard for others.

    (and of course this holds in many situations, camera in hand or not)
  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I think its a tough topic - things can get quite emotive quite quickly.

    Personally, I find 'street' seems to fall into three very broad categories (yeah, I know I'm about to make some sweeping generalisations that people can pick plenty of holes in . . .) -

    * 75% seems to be 'slice of life' - fairly inoffensive stuff a tourist might take reflecting people going about their daily business - tough to do well
    * 15% seems to be the close-up/wide-angle stuff - similar to Winogrand or Gilden - this style can often be perceived as invasive - tough to do well (I also think its becoming a little played out but thats just my opinion). There is also a subset of this using the opposite extreme - longer focal lengths - usually dismissed by the hard-core because the shooter has no skin in the game (whatever game that might be)
    * 10% is the kind of street that really tells a story - almost a combination of the items above but with a certain 'something' that pushes the image into exceptional territory - very very tough to do well !

    For examples of the last one check out some of the shots over on flickr - Hardcore Street - Flickr: HCSP (Hardcore Street Photography)

    When I saw this stuff I realised my attempts at street fell firmly into 'slice of life' and I'd have to try much much harder from a composition perspective.

    A good example of a more structured approach is over here - a guy taking 100 portraits of strangers on the street -
    100 Strangers project - a set on Flickr

    Kind of street but kind of portrait - nice images nonetheless.

    So, no real answer to your question other than to demonstrate different approaches - everyone finds their own style that they are comfortable with.
  7. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    Distance to subject may also be controlled by equipment.

    Close and wide is tough without a silent shutter and articulating LCD screen to shoot surreptitiously.

    I don't have those things, so I find I want to shoot street at longer focal lengths every time someone sees my camera, hears the shutter, and then instinctively shies away from a photo. I find most people will give permission if asked, but when not asked, the instinctual reaction is to shy away from unknown photographers.
  8. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK

    In this day and age and certainly in the UK, you cannot walk through any city centre without being constantly under the scrutiny of CCTV and I tend to find that people are far less concerned about a photographer with a "non professional looking camera" taking a photo they "may" be in.

    If the subject I am about to take a picture of sees my intent and makes it obvious they do not want me to take their picture, then I do not out of respect for their feelings.

    The debate has dragged on a lot in the UK mainly due to heavy handedness from police & private security firms in relation to buildings etc, the government & Commissioner of police have clearly stated that photography in a public place is allowed and anyone in that place is open to being photographed.

    However, common sense should apply and discretion applied in subject matter and as a matter of course I do not photograph children due to the existing paranoa that is still rampant in the UK with any person photographing children being seen as a pervert - perceptions of a few ignorant people tend to drive tha actions of many!
  9. thomastaesu

    thomastaesu Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    ATL, GA
    Be careful with taking pics of "young" people. Even if they are in public area, if your subject is children, you need their parents' permission.
  10. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Not sure what country you are referring to, but in the US, this is a myth. A commonly produced, well-intentioned myth. Anyone in a public place can be photographed, regardless of age. If you are shooting commercially, it is beneficial to have a model release, especially for minors, but not required (by law). The only time you can get in trouble is if the photograph is shot in such a way to portray or suggest a lewd or sexually suggestive behavior (regardless of age).
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Street photography has no rules honestly. If you want to hide a camera in a book and trigger it with a wireless remote, why not? The end result is all that matters.
  12. Kingsfan

    Kingsfan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    highland park, CA
    usually i just shoot and if they notice i'll just nod and say 'thank you', if they didn't notice then awesome

    L1000381 by Qmüngous, on Flickr

    if they see me with the camera and i want a picture, then i'll ask if it's ok

    dtla (15) by Qmüngous, on Flickr

    of course this is all dependent if i'm brave enough to shoot someone straight on cause most the time i'll shoot them from the side or behind

    dtla (70) by Qmüngous, on Flickr
  13. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
  14. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester
    some belting shots there sir :) 
  15. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester
    it is also not true in the UK , however as stated on the previous page with the paranoia about pedophiles it takes a brave person to photograph a child/children.
  16. TheCount

    TheCount New to Mu-43

    Mar 26, 2013
    New York City
    I'd be interested to know how it's possible you've never taken a photo with anyone you didn't know in it. :biggrin:
  17. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    I think it's more about not getting in people's faces, though there is a difference between someone being in the shot, and them being the subject of it.
  18. AerialFilm1

    AerialFilm1 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2012
    Wekiva, Florida
    I was working in Boston this weekend and was at the finish line Sunday with a rare few miuntes away from the work camera. One of things I love seeing and want to photograph, is other people taking thier own self portraits. Two friends scrunched up together, one arm outstretched holding a camera is now comonplace, but I love it. Two women in particular caught my eye trying to get a pic of themselves and all the hoopla, but I never lifted my camera. I just didn't want to come off as the creepy voyeur dude. I really admire you guys that get the shots I'm too reluctant to take.
  19. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    Hi Andy,

    As people mentioned here, there is no right or wrong. This is the beauty of the thing: you experiment many different techniques and see what fits your style.

    I have started taking Street photos less than a year ago and I am still trying to find "my style" but I am certainly having lots of fun meeting other people, and learning about photography and about myself!

    My tips: try different techniques (both inside and outside your comfort zone), check other people's work (especially the "masters" like Cartier-Bresson and others), share your best photos and ask for critique and, above all, enjoy the process!
  20. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    There are *no* set rules or guidelines.. you just use what works for you.

    I refrain from taking shots of homeless, children, and my reasons are:

    Homeless/Bums/Junkies are totally unpredictable.. so you might end up in a confrontation.

    Children usually come attached with estrogen-laden, extremely mercurial, and over-protective "momma grizzlies" who will shove that m4/3rds camera where the sun don't shine. Not worth the aggravation.

    You will pick up nuances along the way- just get out and shoot.

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