For me, street photography is a scary thing. Maybe it’s because I am an introvert, or maybe it’s just because I am a wimp who lacks self-confidence, but in either case, thinking about photographing random people on the street gives me anxiety. About 6-7 years ago, I was in Africa to photograph a team of educators inservicing teachers there. While on the school’s campus, I was fine – able to shoot and observe with no issue, but on the street, so many rich scenes passed me by, but I was too fearful most of the time to raise my camera. (I did get the image you see above, though).
There is still one image burned into my mind of three Ethiopian old men in hats sitting on a concrete wall – one was snoozing, one was reading, and one was staring into space – but let the moment pass me by. I still think of that missed shot to this day.
Street photography is intimidating. Not only do you need to be very quick and observant, but you also need to approach strangers who may be skeptical of you and your lens. I’m a people pleaser at heart, and I don’t want people to get mad at me or confrontation if someone should get upset that I’m photographing them. If you feel the same, the video below was helpful for me and may be helpful for you as well.
Street photographer Eric Kim gives some practical tips, insights and anecdotes on overcoming your fear of street photography. Some of these are common sense, basic polite human interactions, like “Smile and say thank you,” which of course, you know this to be true, but in the moment, you tend to forget. Others tips he gives I hadn’t thought of, but makes sense – such as, when you are the most scared or in doubt, that’s when you need to take the photo. (That’s happened so many time to me).
The video is long (43 minutes), but it’s an easy watch – something that you could have on while editing (if you’re into that) and still glean some great advice.
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