Some more street photography

09th June 2016
I think I've stated enough that I'm a people photographer. That's why I shoot weddings.
I love being around people - well at least when I'm behind a camera. I love to watch people, imagine what they're up to, what's going through their heads.
I THINK I'm quite good at reading people, and that maybe helps me in my wedding photography ?

I've almost completely lost all interest in landscape photography just now. I find it too static, but in a world overloaded with people & faces, every day offers a remarkable array of photo opportunities.

I'm extremely fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living, but I also know that I work VERY hard at it. You have to.
To think 6 or 7 years ago when I started shooting a lot again after a few years break, I had said then "I'm not doing weddings again!" , but then, here I am now, absolutely loving it.
I was encouraged by friends & family - I shot my sisters wedding in North Berwick - whilst still under the impression that "this is a one off" but by the time I'd done it a little shoot of enjoyment was about to flourish into a tree of wedding business.
Did that make sense ? Too cheesy ?
Anyway , encourage by others including Nancy over in the US who continues to pat me on the back from afar, it's where I am now - and I can't see anything I'd rather do.

But on my days off ?
Street photography.

Our wee town has a wee bit of interest every day, but when I get to spend the day in Edinburgh, I'm in my element. Walking around with absolutely no time restraints, no plan, no structure just a few quid for a burger later on and my X-Pro2 and the 18mm lens hanging over my slightly portly belly. ( "what ? No way G , you're so slim & handsome" I hear you say. )

I mentioned before I went on a day's shooting/instruction with Lauren Macneish and I heartily encourage anyone wanting to dip their photographic toe in street photos should look up her day courses and sign up. (link at the bottom of this page).
Great lass who will help & encourage you to develop your street thang. Yes thang. No typo there mum.

Anyhoos, why do I find street photography helps me in my weddings business ?
Let me summarise very simply...
1) Confidence
2) Awareness
3) Visualisation
4) Technical readiness
5) Learning about people

All of the above things are very important - nae... CRUCIAL to a wedding photographer, and you can gain experience of them all without the pressure of a wedding day and it's obvious time restraints on an afternoon's walk about doing street.
On a wedding day, I'm always pushing Annie (16 year old daughter and trainee assistant photographer) to dive in , do what's required to get the shot.
I know what it's like to be young and shy in front of a group of people - especially strangers who all know each other, and I can see sometimes she stalls.
Not often , and regardless - she always pulls off great photography. But I've also seen her miss fantastic opportunities to get killer shots as she was just that wee bit timid.

Out doing street photography, you are constantly watching for a situation, or you find the makings of a good photo and you just need a character to be in the frame to complete the shot so you have to be ballsy enough to make the shot.

There are times when I'll get a batch of shots doing street, and the people in the frame are completely unaware they've just had their photo taken - I've either did it so stealthily , or they were too wrapped up in their own world to notice.
Other times people know exactly what's going on, and they react differently.
Some smile, and seem happy to have been noticed & photographed, others are mystified, others look a tad annoyed at some stranger snapping them.

Either way, there's this buzz and thrill of the chase :)
At a wedding we're constantly watching all the guests, usually in a priority order... with the "A-Listers" being the couple and their mums, dads and grandparents, maybe their own kids too, and the supporting cast of their other family members & friends.
We scan every face over and over again... is anyone going to cry, is there a big laugh happening with some in joke between a group of friends, are the kids chasing each other about or being mischievous ?

I'll sometimes see something happen that's closer to Annie and give her a commando style signal to advise her of something going down at her side of the venue - and she obliges back.

Street photography is much the same, you're walking around watching and waiting. You might see an interesting character and follow them for a bit to see if they create a photo for you, or you might come across a place that looks interesting, but it maybe needs the right person to walk by.

The more you do it... the more you see.

Amongst the photos below are a section from a recent trip to Edinburgh I made.
I started out at Princess Street Gardens and thought for the day's project I'd get as many photos of people on benches or seats as I could.
But then when I went into the National Portrait Gallery to continue this theme, it changed as I noticed lots (too many) people sitting checking their smart phones instead of the beautiful art around them, What a sin.
But also what great photos it made.

I have now settled with the gear I use, and the settings of the camera.
I shoot with a Fuji X-Pro2 and an 18mm lens.
I set focus to manual and zone focus.
If you don't know what that is, it's basically using the aperture of the lens and focus point to get a range of depth-of-field. I usually have it set to cover sharpness at a range of 2-10 mtrs.
I find that f8 gives me 2 mtrs to infinity, but inside f8 demands a crazy iso, so I'll switch open to f4 or f5.6 and get more critically accurate with the distance from me to my subject.
I use the in camera black & white jpegs, and do very little (if any) post production afterwards. My life behind a computer is busy enough without my play time putting me there. Photography should be about being behind the camera anyway !
The X-Pro2 makes gorgeous black & whites anyway.
I generally don't look at the back of the screen at all during my street photography sessions. Preferring to see the pics for the first time when I'm sticking them onto my Blog or the likes.
That way I feel I've been out shooting film. Kind of... in a really lame way lol
That's just my way.
Every other person I know does it a different way.

So here's some of those recent pics. Sorry if I went off on a weird tangent there, I'm typing this up quickly as it's in my head, and I've 2 wedding Blogs to go up soon and I wanted this out of my head and onto the Blog whilst it made (at bit of) sense still.
As per usual, please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.


Lauren's workshop page...


Photo comment By Harry Jackson: Having all photos in black and white is not absolutely the best. you should allow maybe some to be in its original capture so as to allow other viewer's know how the editing works.
Photo comment By Grahame: Thanks Harry , but these photos are shot in black and white with no editing really.

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