6 Surprising Benefits of Shooting Street Photography – MUO – MakeUseOf

Did you know that shooting street photography comes with many personal benefits? Let’s discuss some of them.
Street photography is enjoyed by thousands globally. What many of these enthusiasts may not realize is that there are several long-term benefits to practicing street photography.
In this article, we discuss six surprising benefits of doing street photography and also mention some gear that can enhance these benefits even further.
The definition is often hotly debated in street photography circles online. Generally speaking, when you’re photographing people or things in public spaces, particularly in urban spaces, then it’s street photography.
Some street photographers passionately argue that real street photographers only photograph people or that their images must be processed in black-and-white to honor the tradition of past masters. These are all just opinions.
The bottom line is that if the image looks like street photography, it’s safe to assume that it is street photography. Fortunately, to enjoy the craft and to reap its benefits won’t depend on definitional disagreements and semantics disputes.
Let’s discuss some of the benefits street photography offers.
This may be true for any photography genre. However, there’s a specific brand of street photography that relies on capturing moments as they occur; usually scenes with people. These scenes can contain action or even facial expressions that may change in the blink of an eye.
The ability to separate a subject from the chaos, frame it in a way that makes compositional sense, and then snap the picture within a fraction of a second, is a skill that’s developed over time. Mastering this skill will eventually make you a better, faster photographer, and it will also carry over into other genres of photography.
This is why many street photographers opt for one of the semi-auto modes on their cameras when walking around looking for shots. The mode of choice is commonly Aperture Priority mode.
Aperture Priority allows the photographer to select the aperture and then the camera determines the correct shutter speed and other parameters to get the exposure right.
One of the benefits of doing street photography is that you’ll learn your camera and gear very well, especially if you dedicate a lot of time to practicing. This can lead to the realization that you don’t have the right camera, lenses, and accessories.
Street photographers usually prefer small, compact cameras. This is because some of these models are small enough to fit into pockets. Their small form and reduced weight also make it easier to carry around without calling attention to yourself.
Because so many mirrorless cameras are becoming more compact, you might want to consider upgrading to a full-frame camera. Apart from the better image quality and greater dynamic range, full-frame cameras also perform better in low-light situations and produce more professional results.
New street photographers could encounter two hurdles when starting out. Taking pictures of strangers might seem unnatural at first, and if you’re an introvert you may find it difficult to interact with strangers.
The good news is that when you do a lot of street photography, over time, these anxieties tend to fade away, or at least become much more manageable. There are also gadgets that can improve your mental health.
The important thing is having patience. Developing photography skills and people skills go hand-in-hand when it comes to practicing street photography. Even if you don’t intend to make people the subjects in your compositions, the fact that you’re out in your community and engaging with the world will prove beneficial in other areas of your life too.
Situational awareness is a skill set that can be developed. It’s basically knowing where you are at all times in relation to your surroundings. It includes keeping track of who’s around you and anticipating their actions, among other things.
A more familiar term for this is "street smart". How appropriate for street photography!
Photographing people on a regular basis, especially in large cities, will dramatically improve your situational awareness. Typically, we don't actively set out to develop our situational awareness, but if you put the time and effort into improving your street photography, it will happen over time.
Street photographers tend to have their own turfs or places of familiarity that they return to frequently to get their shots. Over time, you’ll become an expert in the areas that you explore with your camera.
If you live in a large city where there are plenty of photography enthusiasts, you may want to consider putting your expertise to the test and start your own street photography workshops. What does a workshop like this entail? Basically, you'll be showing people around your favorite spots to take pictures.
After doing street photography as a hobby for some time, you might start to consider becoming a professional photographer. There are several genres of photography that involve taking pictures of people, including portraiture, lifestyle, sports, events, and weddings.
There are photography courses available here at MUO that cover a variety of topics to get you started as a professional photographer. Check them out if you want to improve your photography or amp up your photo editing skills.
We’ve listed only a few benefits of doing street photography, which will also be applicable to other aspects of your life. And apart from these personal skills, street photography is about capturing history-in-the-making. All the more reason to pick up a camera and start exploring.
Struggling to stay on task when working from home? These tips will make you a more productive photographer.
Craig Boehman is a Mumbai-based American photographer. He writes articles about Photoshop and photo editing for MakeUseOf.com.
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