The Importance of Shooting With a Vision: Street Portrait Photography
Having a vision of your final image as you photograph can help guide your choices as you shoot. With the idea in mind and how you’ll edit, you can choose the proper background, lighting, etc. In the end, you’ll have a set of images that tell a cohesive story. In this video, I’ll be walking through my street portrait photography process and how I captured the image. Then, I’ll be walking through the editing process in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Video: The Importance of Shooting With a Vision: Street Portrait Photography
Street portrait photography can open up the opportunity to capture many different looks, subjects, and styles. There’s often little to no planning as you’ll never know what to expect. This is where a vision comes in handy. A vision includes imagining the color scheme, mood, and how you plan on editing the images. Then, let that vision guide you as you photograph to tell a cohesive story.
Before we begin, be sure to download the exercise files here and follow along as I edit.
How I Captured the Images
We met Buddy during a street portrait photography challenge with David Suh. Buddy is a fantastic street performer on the streets of Pasadena. I had one minute as a part of the challenge to conceive and photograph Buddy. I knew I wanted the images to be black and white. Then, placed Buddy in front of a white wall. I wanted to use the blank wall to extend the background in post and reframe the image. With this in mind, I made sure to keep Buddy and the trumpet completely within the edges of the frame.
The goal with these images was to bring out some grain and make the tones pop to get that street feel. I selected the Bold Portrait preset from VF Presets Black & White Mixer. Then I stylized it with the Street Portrait option. Then, I added Medium Grain.
Related Reading: Beginner’s Guide to Street Portrait Photography
Here are the final settings from the presets.
Copy the settings over to the next image and adjust accordingly to match. For this image, I added a radial burn and graduated filter to slightly darken the top as well as create a subtle vignette.
For the last image, I planned on extending the white wall and change the composition of the image. To do this, we’ll jump into Photoshop. First, I used the Patch Tool to remove the imperfections in the image.
Then, use the Marquee tool to select the edge of the frame that’s not white. Then Fill using Shift+Backspace and make sure Content Aware is selected. Photoshop will automatically fill in the missing area.
Apply to both sides to get a completely filled backdrop.
I then used the Crop tool to extend the top of the image for a square composition. Once I reframed the image, before pressing OK, I selected Content Aware. Then Photoshop filled in the rest of the image with the white background.
After cleaning up the image with the patch tool, I had this complete series of photos.
I hope you enjoyed this article/video. Next time you’re out capturing street portrait photography, try envisioning your final image and editing process. Then, let that vision guide you to a complete and cohesive story. For a complete tutorial on editing, check out the Mastering Lightroom course on SLR Lounge Premium. You can also get the Black & White Mixer for your own street portrait photography from VF Presets.