I’m using manual throughout my shots. Set the aperture to f8, focusing distance is manually configured (approx.) 2.5 meters in front on me (because I don’t want the camera to hunts once I press the shutter button). The shutter speed and ISO configuration might changes sometime depends on the light source. I would normally using 1/1000 second for the shutter speed and ISO 400 if there is a good light source. And I only shoot during bright sun light in the morning.
For me, this is the best time to get the best of your street photos because:
- You don’t need to use an artificial light source.
- You don’t need to increase you ISO settings. (Thus retain much better image quality).
- People are busy rushing to their work place or doing whatever stuff they are doing in the morning. During this time, even though they are noting that you are pointing your camera towards their face, they would normally ignore it and just continue doing their stuff like nothing happens.
What to look for and what to photograph in the street?
Street photography teaches me to learn and observe human behavior. Try to look for human behavior that interest you such as hand gestures, body language and also how they interact with each other. Try to find some uniqueness out of an ordinary. Once you’ve find what you are looking for, please just DON’T press the shutter as of yet. You must also observe how the light source falls on you subject and how the background would complement your framing. Your subject and its background plays a major role in street photography. The most impactful image is the one that contains both subject and its background relates to each other. If you don't believe me, see the images from the Godfather of street photography - Henri Cartier-Bresson -> click here. Study carefully how the subject on each images relates with its background.
Seems pretty hard ‘ey? Well, that’s my main objective when doing street photography. I love challenges and the major randomness opportunity on the street teaches me to have critical thinking before I press the shutter button.
Shooting in the street is like playing a chess with an expert player. You’ll never know when you’ll kill the king or even winning the game at the end. The best thing about it is the adventure of playing the game – it was so fun and addictive that you’ll forget whether you are losing or winning. Same goes with street photography – I have no idea what so ever of what I’m going to get that day. If I spend 3 hours of walking, sometimes most of the picture is plain rubbish and only one or two images turned out be good for that particular day. Just like what Alex Webb the famous street photographer said:
“Luck – or perhaps serendipity – plays a big role… But you never know what is going to happen. And what is most exciting is when the utterly unexpected happens, and you manage to be there at the right place at the right time – and push the shutter at the right moment. Most of the time it doesn’t work out that way. This kind of photography is 99.9% about failure.”
So, if you really like street photography - just go out there and shoot the hell out of yourself. This is how I’m enjoying myself during the weekends. :)