Tip – Wedding Photography and Street Photography

It may seem like a strange pairing, but there are quite a few similarities between street photography and wedding photography. They both involve people, you need to anticipate the moment and there are those moments when everything comes together. From there the two disciplines diverge.

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My good friend Patrick Pike was visiting and he mentioned that he just didn’t get it. Not that he disliked street photography, but that he just didn’t get it … what would anyone do with it. That’s a valid point. Street photography is just there. You can’t really be a professional street photographer. No one is going to buy the photography. So, what is it? What is the draw? Why do it? There really isn’t a good answer.

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For myself, there are a few reasons that I’m drawn to street photography. The first and foremost is simply documenting humanity. Street photography is like travel photography glitz and glamor. I think the real value of street photography is documenting moments in time. We can only see the true value of the photo years later. We can see the change in fashion, the change in the streetscape, basically, the changes in the world around us. I also enjoy street photography because it confronts humanity. The best street photos are the ones that capture people staring back at the camera. In some ways this makes street photography adversarial. It confronts people out in public. And this is one reason why street photography isn’t for everyone. It forces you to get out in the middle of everything and take photos up close and person, and sometimes people don’t like it.

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Last, but not least, is the connection to place. Street photography is much like landscape photography in that it connects you to place. Just as a landscape photographer creates photos based on the natural world around them, a street photographer records the world around them and thus the people and places that make up that world.

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So, if you are inclined, give it a go. When I’m out there, I always try to remember the words of Robert Capa, which seem especially fitting to street photography:

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.

Gearhead Alert

Generally speaking, street photographers love small cameras. I prefer a 35mm (equiv) lens. Some street photographers like a 50mm or longer. I personally feel that the 35mm gets you close enough that the viewer really feels like they are there. If you are loaded, a Leica M Monochrome with a 35mm isn’t a horrible choice. Be sure to pick me up one, too. But barring being filthy rich, the Olympus OMD or the Fuji X100s are great choices. The OMD kills it on the auto focus, but the Fuji just looks pretty and has better files.