Last year, I have caught the street photography bug and lately, I’ve been quite obsessed with it. I haven’t published much yet on this blog since I kind of want to do a theme and develop some kind of story. I really believe that street photography is special and street photographers must document history as it unfolds. I have been interested in street photography more than any kind of photograpy since I’m deeply invested in the human condition. However, I feel like I must make a list of my street photography New Year’s resolutions to help me become a better street photographer.
I have a few sets of ideas that I follow when it comes to making photographs, especially of people. I make sure that I don’t capture photos that could be embarassing to the subject. I also make sure that I am not intentionally painting them in bad light. I do not like photographing the homeless because I don’t want to take more of the little privacy they have. I also do not like to make photos that could be disrespectful to the subject.
However, I am not a master of street photography. I am a student and will be for a long time. In 2017, I would like to make great photographs so that I may share the beauty of our society, whether I see beauty in despair or simple joy. So, I would like to share with you my photography New Year’s resolutions that I have for 2017.
My Street Photography New Year’s Resolutions
#1 Improve my ability to notice: What makes a great moment?
When I photograph in the street, I used to think a lot about what makes a “good subject” rather than what makes a “great moment.” I need to pay less attention to just making photographs of certain people instead of “moments.”
#2 Tie-in a few things
When I make a photograph, I usually just have one or two elements in the photo. Usually, a person and the gesture. However, I feel that some of the photographs are incomplete because I feel like an element is missing to finish the photograph. I need to think of a few more elements to incorporate so that a story unfolds.
#3 Learn more about my gear
Since I’m new to Micro 4/3 street photography, I sometimes miscalculate my focus point, my exposure, or my shutter speed. I need to learn more about the potential and limitations of my lenses and my camera. However, I must do this without ignoring my content. A great photo isn’t about what kind of gear “made” the photo. I believe it’s always about what’s in the photograph.
Just in case you’re wondering, I’m using an Olympus OMD E-M10 Micro 4/3 Camera with an Olympus 25mm f/1.8 prime lens and a kit 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Check it out on Amazon if you’re looking to get a camera!
#4 Be more flexible with other modes (P, A, S, M)
I am not a snob and I really hate saying that I only shoot in manual. But when I was learning from an old DSLR camera, I just played around way too much with the manual mode. I never really touched the other modes like program mode, aperture priority, or shutter speed priority. I have not tried them as much as I’d like to and I would like to see what kinds of photographs I can make with these modes.
So I should try these other modes and just focus on my framing and what is taking place in the photograph.
#5 Learning to shoot less
I guess in the age of film, photographers used to shoot less because every photo costs money. You have to buy films and shooting relentlessly can get very expensive. I think the advantage to this school of thought is that photographers back then trained themeselves to capture the moments decisively. Nowadays, in the age of SD cards, most of us do not shy way from shooting 36 photographs of the same scene and later picking which one is best during editing.
#6 Learning when not to shoot a photo
Like I said, we live in an age of SD cards and we do not shy away from clicking the button relentlessly. However, I would like to practice the art of refrain. I feel like I will get better with street photography when I can train my brain to shoot the photos I want to make. I feel like by doing so, my photos could be seen as something I intended to make instead of something I made “accidentally.”
#7 Refrain from Gear Acquisition Syndrome
I guess new photographers suffer with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) more than seasoned photographers. Novice photographers who become passionate about photography may feel that they should acquire better gear all the time. I feel that if I don’t remind myself, I would buy lenses left and right.
For street photography, I would be perfectly happy to use 14mm, 35mm, and a 25mm Micro 4/3 prime lenses. For now, I have to deal with only having a kit 14-42mm zoom lens and a 25mm prime lens. I want to buy at least one or two lenses this year but I must refrain from doing so! But maybe I will if I really think it could help me with making better photos.
#8 Learn to blend with the crowd
To me, street photographers are not creepers or stalkers. Those serious with this form of art make photos to share beautiful moments. However, if we ask for permission, then the moment becomes “staged” or the photos become “street portraits.” There’s nothing wrong with this but if we expose ourselves taking photos of candid moments then we may run into trouble or risk “losing the moment.”
I just have a creed that I must not take photos of subjects and paint them in bad light. I do not want to be disrespectful and embarrass people. Most especially, I do not want to hurt someone’s feelings. So I would like to blend in and make sure that I take a good and dignified photograph. Maybe, I’m way over my head on this!
#9 Learn more about the technical side
Although I believe that content is king, I think it’s still important to know more about the technical aspects of photography. I think I should pay more attention if my photos are under or overexposed. I think, I should practice more with different shutter speeds and apertures. Also, I think I should refrain from editing too much but I also have to learn more about post processing on Lightroom.
#10 Make more photographs!
I know I said that I should learn to shoot less but I feel that the only way to get better is with practice. Making photographs shouldn’t be done by “accident” but with “intent.” Although, some accidents can be beautiful! At least, that’s what I believe in. So I guess what I’m saying is that I should make more street photographs with intent rather than shooting relentlessly and see if I have something good.
What about you?
Do you have any photography new year’s resolutions? Are you a portrait, lifestyle, travel, nature, or product photographer? What would you like to change or improve about your photography? Let me know by leaving that sweet comment below!
Featured photo by chancema on Unsplash.