Photographers who have tried street photography understand how difficult the art form is. On the surface it sounds easy. Just walk around and snap random photos of everyday people in their daily lives. But when you actually try it yourself, you quickly realize the challenges: the fear of confrontation, the speed at which scenes and subjects change, the difficulty of getting something unique and not boring.
Felix Irawan is a wedding photographer out of Melbourne Australia with a side passion for street photography. We came across his work in our Facebook Community Group in our Week 9 Challenge: “To show us what you like to shoot when you’re not being paid.” When I saw the images, I knew that we had to pick his brain for some tips, and he was kind enough to oblige. Here are 8 Tips for Better Street Photography:
Tip 1: Camouflage
“Bright colour outfits grab people’s attention, and I don’t like it when people know if I am shooting them. Wear dark colours and simple outfits. But no need to cover yourself like a ninja, as you may scare them.”
Tip 2: The camera: a smaller is better!
“Imagine you’re walking down along a street and you notice someone holding a big camera and lens aiming at you. You may avoid, stop or change your walking direction. I don’t want this to happen, so a smaller camera or even mobile phone camera is perfect for me. In fact, I shoot most of my street using my iPhone 7 camera. Small, light and always in my pocket.
Remember, the best camera is the one you have with you.”
[Related Reading: Step Out Of Your Creative Comfort Zone To Level Up Your Street Photography]
Tip 3: Less or no bokeh
“F11 all the time. I want everything to look clear and in-focus, from foreground to background. I love to combine each element in one frame into a story.”
Tip 4: Observation
“Not just observing the light but other important elements such as colours, people behaviours, street signs, and the probability the moment will happen again. This is the same theory as fishing a fish. You observe water, fish, wind, which spot has more chances to see fish, and you wait for the right moment.”
Tip 5: Pre-Focus
“Moments in street photograph pass super fast. It’s better to set the camera focus area from 1m to infinity. By doing this, I have confidence that above 1 meter everything will be focus, so I can capture a frame without looking to my camera.”
[Related Reading: Creating Mood & Mystery In Your Street Photography (Featuring Joshua Jackson)]
Tip 6: Poker Face
“Avoid eye contact with people you’re shooting. Give a blank stare to the object behind them, so they think that you’re not shooting them. Sometimes I act like a tourist even in my own town :)”
Tip 7: There is something about kids
“Kids always do honest & silly things, and sometimes they are great subjects of a photograph. But be careful, taking photo of kid without a permission is illegal in some places.”
Tip 8: Enjoy the process, the result is a bonus!
“Bigger expectations come with bigger disappointments, and that can lead to stress and suck the joy out of shooting. When passion becomes pressure, the craft is no longer enjoyable. I never expect to get a great photo when shooting street. I enjoy every single step. I am just like a kid in a playground, and street is my playground.”
Where to find more of his work
- Wedding Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/felixirawan/
- Street Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fezstreet/
- Website: http://feztography.com/
All images were used with the artist’s permission