Join Steve Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Taking the studio onto the street with a white background, part of Street Photography: Candid Portraiture.
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(traffic noise) - Alright, well I'm always looking for interesting places to shoot where I think there might be pictures, and when I noticed that white background, it was basically just kind of a renovation board covering up a store, I thought this could be interesting, in a way, kind of bringing the studio to the street, plain white background, people walking by. So I planted myself and I just shot. I waited for people to walk through the frame. I triggered on instinct, I kind of looked ahead to see if there were interesting people coming, and I prepared myself.
(camera click) I gave myself a little bit of extra depth of field because I wanted to make sure that I was gonna have what I wanted to have in focus. You also saw me bend down a little bit because as a street photographer, I know a slight adjustment in my posture is gonna have a profound affect on everything within the frame. So, I'm not a yoga instructor, I don't like bending, but I bend for street photography because I know by getting down low, it meant that I had kind of a better angle with my 35 millimeter lens.
(camera click) Sometimes as I'm standing there, people would just kind of stop, "Please, go ahead, go ahead." thinking I'm taking a picture of this plain white wall. I would have to sort of tell them to go. OIften I will just kind of hold the camera and not shoot until the last second so that people will go by, and not be polite and stop, even in New York, people are polite and they'll stop so you can take the picture of the white wall. Little did they know, it was them that I was after. (camera click) I'm also a big fan of the reticulating screen, as you know, and for this shot, though it made sense for me to kind of look through the viewfinder, I was able to shoot a little faster, I was able to auto focus a little faster if that's what I wanted to do.
I did want to get an indication of kind of what the photo would look like on a bigger screen, which is why I just kind of took a peek at this reticulating screen. (camera click) With the serendipity of shooting this blank wall and just letting people pass by, I could literally stay there for a very long time, but I realized that when the car that was blocking and protecting me from other cars essentially running me over had to leave, it meant that I had to sort of sneak back onto the sidewalk, which wasn't the same angle, "I didn't want to get run over." - "I know, you were getting (mumbles)" So, I figured I'll wrap it up and move on to the next situation here in New York City.
There's always another picture around every corner.
- Street photography gear
- Shooting with a long lens
- Photographing a crowd
- Focusing on people
- Getting permission to photograph someone
- Shooting people in motion
- Photographing people in a sensitive or significant place
- Reviewing images in post