A street portrait is a type of photography that captures a person or a group of people in a public place, such as a street, a park, a market, or a subway station. Unlike studio portraits, street portraits are not staged or posed, but rather spontaneous and candid. They aim to capture the essence and personality of the subject, as well as the mood and atmosphere of the location.
Street portraits can be challenging but rewarding for photographers who want to explore the diversity and complexity of human life in different environments. They require a combination of technical skills, artistic vision, and social skills. Here are some tips on how to define and create your own street portraits:
- Find your style. There is no single definition or rule for what makes a good street portrait. Some photographers prefer to shoot close-ups with shallow depth of field, while others like to include more context and background in their shots. Some photographers use flash or artificial light, while others rely on natural light and shadows. Some photographers ask for permission from their subjects, while others shoot discreetly without being noticed. You have to find your own style and preferences that suit your personality and goals.
- Choose your location. The location of your street portrait can have a significant impact on the final result. You should look for places that have interesting people, colours, textures, patterns, or contrasts. You should also consider the lighting conditions, the time of day, and the weather. You can scout for locations beforehand or improvise on the spot. You can also revisit the same location at different times to see how it changes.
- Approach your subject. One of the most difficult aspects of street portrait photography is approaching your subject. You have to decide whether you want to ask for permission or not, and how to do it in a respectful and friendly way. You also have to deal with possible rejections or objections from your subject or bystanders. You should always respect the privacy and dignity of your subject, and never force or harass them to pose for you. You should also be aware of the cultural and legal norms of the place you are shooting in.
- Interact with your subject. Another challenge of street portrait photography is interacting with your subject. You have to decide how much direction or guidance you want to give them, and how to make them feel comfortable and relaxed in front of your camera. You can try to establish rapport with them by talking to them, complimenting them, or making jokes. You can also let them be themselves and capture their natural expressions and gestures. You should always be polite and grateful for their cooperation, and show them the results if possible.
- Edit your photos. The final step of street portrait photography is editing your photos. You have to select the best shots from your session and enhance them with post-processing tools. You can adjust the exposure, contrast, colour, sharpness, cropping, and other parameters according to your taste and style. You can also apply filters or presets to create a consistent look for your street portraits. You should always keep in mind the original intention and message of your photos, and avoid over-editing them.