I've been out recently on the streets of Cardiff with the aim to get some more street photography done with the Fuji X100, as I've mentioned before this has got to be one of the best cameras for street photography as the silent shutter, small size and retro look mean you don't draw attention to yourself and can get very close to your subjects.
Slowly my skills as a street photographer have been developing and I'm constantly learning new methods to get great images as well as improving my confidence in what I'm willing to shoot.
I thought I'd use this blog post to give out a few tips which I have learnt and a few facts about street photography that might help you out or give you that boost to go out and give it a try. A few of these tips I learnt from the awesome Zack Arias so go check his work out here, he's a great photographer.
Tip 1. Misdirection
I learned magic in my early twenties, got quite into it for a few years as well and I can say with some certainty that misdirection is one of the most powerful skills for a magican to learn, a lot of which can be applied to street photography. The main idea is to get people to look where you want them to and not see things you wish to hide, to help with this people look where people look, try this for example, walk into a busy street and look up, just stare for a while, then take note of how many other people will look up the same as you. Now try this with photography, look up take a fake shot, being the camera down to 'look' at the back then take your real shot of a subject in front of you, return to take another shot above (again a fake shot) you then have your shot without attracting your subjects attention; thanks to Zack Arais for that one! Try it out a few times and see what works for you, the main idea is to take the focus of your camera and what your actually doing.
Tip 2. Get close
People don't bite, well most people don't, think of a shot you want pick a subject you wish to photograph then get twice as close, using the Fuji X100 for street photography mean you only have a 35mm lens, you need to get close. Busy streets are good, they allow you to be close to others without looking socially awkward, street photography doesn't work with a 200mm lens, you will look much more conspicuous much more strange and just attract a bunch of unwanted attention, stay small and wide and get close.
Tip 3. The Law
Disclaimer// I'm not a legal professional, this is advice and what I've come to know, it's what I believe to be correct but I can't say for sure, check your country's laws this is all based in UK law.
Ok that's out of the way here if the deal with street photography and the law, simply put if your in a public place you can photograph any other person in that space, be that man woman or child. You may then publicise these pictures and sell them as prints, what you can't do is sell the image for commercial use (for an advert for example) you can sell them to a newspaper as editorial use. You can photograph the police, you cannot get in their way however. No one can take your camera off you or make you delete your photos, not even a police officer, this is classed as unlawful destruction of property as well as unlawful destruction of evidence, only a court order can lead to your photos being destroyed. If you are in a shopping centre for example then this is not a public space, you can still take photos if you want but if asked to leave you must comply, the security cannot touch your camera or make you delete photos, they can only ask you to leave and ban you from entering again, they cannot detain you there and call the police as it is against the law for someone to detain you against your will. There are a few cases where you can get arrested/ in trouble with the law these are, obstructing a police officer, simple really don't get in their way. Harrasment, don't follow people, stalk them or obstruct them from their everyday lives, this is simple really but if someone says stop taking photos then don't be a moron just stop and move on. The final on is the anti-terrorism law, if police suspect you of conducting terrorist activities they can arrest and detain you, they do however have to have reasonable course for this and is unlikely.
Overall it's needless to say be sensible, if you get stopped don't be awkward, just comply, tell people what your doing, being polite will keep you out of trouble, and if you feel threatened to delete your photos and don't want the conflict show the photos, format the car then show there are no photos, walk away, don't use that card again, swap it out, get home and run recovery software and you'll more often than not get all of those photos back.
Tip 4. The Fear
There is an element of fear when doing street photography, it was and still is something I'm working on getting better at and each time I get a little better it improves other aspects of my photography immensely. The main fear is what if you get caught and how do people react, here is a trick to get over all that and realise that it doesn't really matter at all; street portraits. Walk up to complete stranges and ask them if you can take their photograph, try it, it's scary as hell the first time but you soon realise a surprising number of people are ok with it, once this happens your desire to take candid photos will increase and the fear will go. The best lesson is to keep at it and realise that if people do catch you they are more often than not not going to react as they too will have never been in the situation before, just think how you would react if someone took your picture?
I hope those tips can help you out, by all means leave your own in the comments and your thoughts on my photography, all images were shots with a Fujifilm X100.