Street Photography Quick Tip 15 – Get close for more intense street portraits
In time for the weekend, here is episode 15 of my Street Photography Quick Tips, my short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets. Today’s post is about taking close up street portraits. For a few, hopefully inspirational images continue after the jump…
It was Robert Capa, who created one of the most iconic quotes of photography by stating “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” And Capa wasn’t talking about telephoto lenses; he was suggesting to get physically closer — to fill the frame by becoming more involved and intimate with our subjects. In fact, a wide-angle lens are often a better choice to take dynamic street portraits.
Most of these street portraits were taken with my 25mm F/1.8 prime lens. 25mm in micro four thirds equals 50mm in full frame due to the 2x crop factor of the m43 mirrorless system. And with a “nifty fifty” you need to get close for a frame filling portrait. Really close. There is no way you can shoot frame filling street portraits without interacting with your subject.
But as I have written numerous times on this blog, interacting with my subjects is one of the best parts of street photography. In the comment section to my posts, I often get a “that looks great, I would like to get more into street shooting, but I’m afraid I’m getting yelled at”. Let me assure you, in all those years shooting the streets this has never happened to me. I have never been yelled at. Not once. If you walk up to people with a smile and ask if you can make their portrait, or if you walk up with the camera aimed at them, you get a clear body language signal if they don’t want their picture taken, or they simple say “no”. That’s the max that has happened to me. If that happens, just walk away. No harm done.
Especially the interesting looking people often appreciate that someone walks up to them showing interest in their looks. After all, this is what they intend by looking/dressing like extroverts. And you won’t believe the nicest conversations I had with the weirdest looking people. Just be friendly, smile a lot, explain what you are doing and have fun.
So if you would like to take some awesome, frame filling street portraits, conquer your fears, take your cam and move in close.
For more Street Photography Quick Tips and inspirations around photography in general check out my free Learning Center.
I wish you all a great weekend!