Street Photography, What’s your Angle?

in Street Photography by

In a search for methods to read the city, a street photographer goes hunting regularly, hoping to get that perfect shot.

Like a writer, a street photographer builds the story and often leaves the reader with a happy or sad ending, sometimes with a mystery.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

Poets often use symbols to indirectly lead readers to another meaning (There are many similarities between poetry and street photography). Symbols add another dimension, they offer a new angle to read the scene which you are invited to see but not necessarily asked to buy. Symbols tend to move on a deeper level and bring a subconscious connection to the poem when done well. Photographer’s often try to do the same, and come out with beautiful results when done well.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

Street photography is more of a challenge, because of the uncertainty… the joy of capturing that perfect unrehearsed moment… perfect in terms of light, texture, and elements all perfectly in place. It’s not a work of fiction.

Street photography is a “get it right” process, not a “fix it later” process.

Street photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography. It’s difficult because the photographer usually doesn’t have much control over the environment, well at least as much as he/she might like.

A photograph is a slice of time, captured by the photographer from a particular place. Viewer only sees what the photographer wants to show. One of the ways to keep the viewer involved in our photographs is to have them complete an image, a form, or an idea. It’s for the exact same reason that photographs can lie, a graphic lie. Photographers often use tools to direct the viewer to the subject and leading lines is a good example of that.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

What becomes most important in the scene is “what’s your angle”, where do you stand? The camera angle instantly affects the perception of the viewer for the subject. Nothing will impact the photograph more than the angle.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

Trust your visual instincts and they will often guide you if you need to go in closer or bend down, to make the subject look stronger and powerful. Angle is important, both physically and metaphorically, choose it wisely.

The proximity will play a big role in creating a physical illusion of the subject being closer to someone at the back. If you want two, or more, objects to be conceived as a group, then place them close to each other (by moving in a particular angle). The human mind does the finishing work for you, grouping them. Things that are similar tends to be grouped together. They band together.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

While you place yourself in a particulate spot, your subjects and everything around them will either be in constant motion or likely, it will move without warning. The light will constantly change from one moment to the next. Second chances are rare in street photography.

© Rohit Vohra
© Rohit Vohra

When you press the shutter make sure everything in the frame has something to say and let serendipity play it’s part.

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2 years 10 months ago

I used to think that street photography is the most difficult kind of photography, and to some extent it is, BUT, is street photography, more than any other photographic discipline, that benefits of the element of the unseen or unexpected. That fortuitous element that exists only because of our limitations in speed, in awareness and anticipation. In sum it exists only because unwillingly we let go and let things happen and we are kissed by sheer luck. Because of this, we doubt we deserve merit for this kind of images, if not for choosing them in the editing stage.

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