Working with the Luminary team has brought a whole group of incredibly talented artists and educators into my life and in turn, into yours. This new guest post from Dave Surber is loaded with great content and tips for terrific street photography, but in all honesty, it's about being prepared for the "decisive moment" no matter what you're shooting.
To see more of Dave's work take a look at his site, follow him on Twitter then Instagram and Google+.
As with all the talent in this Luminary team, you'll never be disappointed!
My real appreciation for street photography began when I took a course on the history of photography. During the course we studied the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom many consider to be the father of street photography. In 1952, Cartier-Bresson published a book entitled “Images à la sauvette”- the English edition of this book was entitled “The Decisive Moment”. The book consisted of 126 pictures of his street photography along with a philosophical preface outlining his photographic style. At the core of Cartier-Bresson’s beliefs was the idea of the decisive moment. In a nutshell, Cartier-Bresson believed that a street photographer only has a split-second to capture a magical moment in time. He entitled that split-second the decisive moment. For example, let’s look at one of Cartier-Bresson’s most iconic images taken in Hyères in 1932:
1. Always bring a camera with you!
- I can’t promise you that you’ll always capture the decisive moment if you have a camera on you, but I can guarantee you won’t capture the decisive moment if you don’t have a camera with you.
2. Go for the candid shots.
- When it comes to the decisive moment and street photography for that matter, candid is king. Not to take anything away from posed photography, which I love, but as it relates to the decisive moment candid reigns supreme.
3. Be hyper aware of your surroundings.
- Often times the most mundane surroundings hide magical moments.
4. Tell a story!
- Use the decisive moment to express your thoughts and/or feelings about the scene. Make your viewer ask who, what, when, where, and why.
Make sure your camera is always ready!
- This is a big one. Like Cartier-Bresson, you have to be ready to capture the decisive moment at a second's notice. In order to do so your camera needs to be completely prepped and ready to shoot. As a Lumix Luminary I prep my Lumix cameras for capturing the decisive moment by creating a custom user profile setting that is conducive to street photography. Once it’s created to my liking I store my “street” custom profile in C1. That way I can quickly access my desired settings in a fraction of a second. Here are some more tips on keeping your camera decisive moment ready:
While out and about, keep your camera on and your lens cap off.
- Remember capturing the decisive moment is all about being ready at a second’s notice. Powering on your camera and/or removing your lens cap could cost you your shot.
- When possible always leave your lens hood on for added lens protection when you’re not using your lens cap. Should you accidently bump the front of your lens into something chances are your lens will be fine as long as it has a hood on it.
- Let’s face it, more than likely your camera’s auto focus system focuses faster than you can. Again, it’s all about speed.
- I generally shoot f/5.6 and above when shooting street photography. That’s not to say I don’t shoot below those f-stops, but that, as a default, I leave my camera on a f/5.6 and above when shooting street photography. The reason for this is you’re more likely to capture a quick and well-focused picture in a high f-stop with a deep depth of field, rather than a low f-stop with a shallow depth of field.
And to all those Lumix Intagram shooters out there, don't forget to hashtag your pics with #LumixLounge to be a part the Lumix Community Gallery.