[Guest post by Sebastian Jacobitz] It's a chaotic world. Finding yourself on the street looking for the perfect photo opportunity can be quite the challenge. If you live in a Metropole, the street can be a very chaotic place. People are crossing your paths, while you try to capture a great image and doing what you ideally had in your mind.
The street isn’t a quiet place where you can take your time to carefully take an image. It isn’t a landscape that only changes through seasons. It is a place that changes within seconds.
Detecting the moment that you want to highlight is key in this genre. As a Street Photographer, I believe it is our duty to “sort” this random puzzle. Through our camera, we are able to bring order to this chaos within a short shutter movement.
When the street is full of life it can be hard to find the right angle to capture a beautiful image. Especially beginner photographers are overwhelmed by all the impressions that they are facing.
Often I notice that this can be a burden and the images become worse. Instead of focusing on a single interesting detail, they try to capture everything at once. The persons laughing in the one corner, the long-tail shadow to the other side and the gesture right in front of you.
If these subjects are disconnected from one another you basically have three points of attention in your image. For the viewer, it becomes increasingly hard to follow what you actually want to show and tell with your photograph.
Furthermore, instead of creating one brilliant piece, you get three mediocre images.
Filling the frame is not needed in Street Photography. One detail that tells a full story is enough to encourage the viewer’s imagination.
Have the confidence to only include what is important to you. Sort everything out that is irrelevant and focus on the essential.
Robert Capa’s quote “if your pictures aren’t good enough, then you aren’t close enough” is a simple statement, yet it holds a lot of truth and meaning to this day.
By going closer to the subjects, you automatically erase a lot of the distraction in the picture. Instead of including some elements that aren’t necessary for the image on the edges, by getting closer you narrow down the frame and include more of the relevant details.
Of course, you shouldn’t just go close for the sake of being close. Frame your image in a way, that it couldn’t be any narrower without deleting substantial elements.
And no, a telephoto lens is no replacement for your feet. Being close is not only a shift in the point of view but also a different atmosphere. If you are right in the middle of the action as a Street Photographer it will be noticeable in your images.
Being a silent observer from far away might make you feel more comfortable, but they lack the action and authenticity.
Another way to bring order in the chaotic world is by following basic compositional rules. I understand that you feel restricted by rules at first, but the longer you apply them to your pictures, the easier it will become.
The rule of thirds, odds or leading lines aren’t some artificial inventions by some crazy photographers, they are an explanation for our human aesthetic sense.
In Street Photography we can make use of our natural instincts by integrating these rules cleverly.
Escalators are such a popular motive because they provide excellent leading lines. The subject is normally standing in the middle and above from the camera. Providing a great separation from the background while being the focus of attention.
The goal of a better composition is not only to make the picture more aesthetically pleasing but to be a better storyteller.
In the end, a street image is all about its story. Cleaning the image from all the unnecessary rubbish means to follow a great storyline, instead of finding yourself in a labyrinth of side stories and get lost.
Focus your attention on what is important for you. Pick the details, that remain hidden to other pedestrians.
Bring order to the chaotic world by capturing the best Street Images.
Check out more of Sebastian's work here: https://streetbounty.com/