Street Photography Quick Tip 17 – Shoot with what the sun gives you
My Street Photography Quick Tips are short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets.
Photography literally means „drawing with light“. The sun is the principal lightsource out in the streets. But unlike a studio lightstand, you can‘t move the sun around to direct the light to where you want/need it. Obviously there are some workarounds, like using a reflector to throw back the light on the subject and brighten up the shadows. But in street photography, this is not practical and we need to shoot with what the sun gives us.
Shoot what attracts your eye
In this example, I was drawn to the weathered face of the man sitting behind the window of a Portland coffee shop. The way he was sitting, the sunlight illuminated the back and the side of his head, but not his face, that was all in the shade. For one, standing outside in the streets, I couldn‘t direct my subject to turn his face in a way that would have, lets say, created a nice Rembrandt lighting effect (a triangle of light underneath the eye on the shadow side of his face).
But on the other hand I loved the textures in his hair and beard that the harsh sunlight created. And I knew that a conversion to monochrome would really bring out the lights and shadows of this scene and still show the traces of life in his face. So despite the lighting being not ideal, I still took the portrait shot with which I‘m quite happy the way it turned out.
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Wish you a great Thursday!