17 May 2011

Street Photography and Cameras

Susan Brannon

Normally, in street photography, the photographer wants a natural look of the environment.  You don’t want to pull out your 24-70 mm lens when trying to create the natural environment because it grabs too much attention!  I like using small, non evasive point and shoots with either a wide- angle or 35mm lens.  For my Crossing Borders Project, I distribute disposable cameras with a 35mm lens and surprising enough they take wonderful images.

Outside of the project, the ultimate dream camera is the Leica M9, the new digital camera or the older manual . This camera gives the totally manual feel.  It has the components a street photographer would want:  it is non invasive quick, silent in terms of the shutter sound, can control your exposure through aperture and shutter speed and built like a tank!  However, with this rangefinder, the lens window does not reflect how your image will show up.  Inside there are lines showing the borders of how much of the frame your camera will actually capture.  The new digital is a replica of the classic 35mm.  However, the camera is very expensive to buy but do not fret! There are many other options to choose from.

There are the disposable cameras, automatic, in color or black and white that are small.  However, with these camera’s you need to look at the lens window, and give some room for the “real” lens view.  The windows are normally a bit higher than the lens, so the photos do not turn out like the view that you see.  You will need to compensate for that difference.  Sometimes these cameras work best in the natural light when the subject is in the sun.  The flash distance is not very far and normally unless you are right next to your subject, the flash will not cover the subject when photographing inside or in the shadow.

Holga’s  can be quite fun for taking images in the streets.  I have the Holga that has a medium format.  It is small, but because it is film and automatic I found that it is best to take images in the sunshine!  However, each Holga is different and the fun of it is that you never quite know what you are going to get.  I have three Holga’s when I go out and about. 

What camera to use, really depends on the photographer, their mood, and the type of essence they want to capture through the lens.   The camera arena is wide open for a street photographer.  It is quite possible, to set up a SRL with a telefoto lens onto a tri pod and stay in a public place to snap shots.  After awhile the crowd will get used to you and life will continue as normal.

Related lessons:
Aperture and f/16 Rule
Shutter Speed Basics

Depth of Field
Focused Bracketing or Photo Stacking 

1 comment:

Catherine Martin said...

Susan, I love this post and I count it a privilege to have spent a few hours on the streets of Florence shooting pictures with you. I learned so much! Interesting that you should mention the Leica M9. I was walking along the Arno and saw a guy standing on one of the street corners, shooting across the Arno with the Leica. Maybe some day for me, but for now I am enjoying my Nikon and learning more how to use it every day.