Have you ever felt nervous when you set out to do some street photography? There’s a million reasons why we might and a million more now as we navigate life during a pandemic. Sometimes, you might feel like you have a big sign around your neck that says: “Hey! Look everyone! A street photographer!” Pandemic or not, drawing that kind of attention can make others nervous, causing them to avoid the gaze of your camera or hostile, provoking an unwanted conflict. So how can you become a confident street shooter, one no one seems to notice or mind?
Michael Walker-Toye knows how you feel. In his article, Practical Tips to Build Your Street Photography Confidence, he confessed, “When I first started out, doing street photography, I was so focused on seizing photo opportunities I could see people staring back at me. On numerous occasions people I spotted as a potential photo saw me and moved away. Market vendors were deeply suspicious and glared. I quickly realized I was missing shots because I was looking conspicuous and acting a bit weird. That slow purposeful walking and excessive bobble headed looking, then stopping and staring for longer than normal people stop and stare. Very conspicuous.”
Fortunately, Michael figured out how to build his confidence and how to shoot in a less conspicuous fashion. Here’s two tips from his article I really appreciated:
- #1 Act like a tourist. Dress like them and walk around casually like them. Tourists can be pretty annoying to locals, but they are always tolerated and oftentimes ignored.
- #2 Be prepared, but not overprepared. Skip the giant camera bag with all your lenses and your special photographer jacket and take along only what you need. Michael suggests all we really need is a spare battery, SD card, lens cleaner pen, business cards, and a waterproof bag.
Michael had lots of other tips for finding your confidence on the street, many of which still carry weight with the new pandemic situation we are facing. So check out the full article here. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, you can sign up here to get access to new issues and our entire library of back issues where you can find more tips and inspiration to meet your street photography goals.