Directing Street Photography

Here’s the 4th and last part of Directing Photography: after Portrait, People/Conceptual and Fashion.

If when doing Portraits you should direct the person’s personality and face itself, for People/Conceptual you should direct them as actors to your own play, and for fashion, you should direct them to show the designer’s work in its own mood.

But how can a photographer direct or guide the people in Street Photography?

You can’t!

Unless you’re a cheater and do Staged Street Photography like Doisneau did. But that’s not SP, is SSP; and SSP sounds more like one of those new psychiatric state-of-mind to sell more pills. If you stage street photography, you’re working on concepts and people, so the guidelines are the same as for the People/Conceptual post or even outdoors’ Fashion. Stage photography doesn’t have the real spirit of Street Photography and is to be done in a completely different way, so don’t cheat yourself: when you do stage photography in the street, call it photography in the street. Not Street Photography.

Once you can’t guide or direct the models on Street Photography, you must have a different attitude yourself, in a mix of: be ready, think fast, and sometimes a huge capacity of patience. Put all the nerves on the finger that will click and let your mind works. Pay attention to every single detail. Sometimes following an intense smell can lead us to a great photo. As in following your senses. If what you want to photograph is one specific person you saw, follow them -not as a paparazzi: be respectful!- until the moment you have the best location, light, composition… and story to tell. It’s not a paparazzi attitude because you want the person to act, or to be caught in a special way just for the sake of a great photograph: you’re not shooting that persons’ identity, you’re shooting street in which that person happens to be.

You’re shooting Anonymous People who most probably wish to remain that way.

So wait. Choose the locations wisely and wait for the best to happen. If you decide to wait at a terrace drinking absinthe while observing, make sure you pay the bill at the beginning and that you’re ready to take your ass out of the chair and run to the best Rapture! Yes, street photography is not a matter of capture: it’s rapture!

And if you’re patient, everything will come to you: just let it happen!

So: nerves on your finger, patience in your mind, attention in your brains.
More than being a voyeur: be a real observer. And be ready, because the best ones can happen when you less expect: don’t loose time picking up your nose with the finger you need to be ready to click because the only person you have to guide here is yourself!

Le Vendeur 2, by Gonzalo Benard

Le Vendeur 2, by Gonzalo Benard

Souk 4, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Souk 4, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Couple 1, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Couple 1, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Directing Photography” is a collection of 4 notes:

1 – Directing a Portrait;

2 – Directing People/Conceptual;

3 – Directing Fashion;

4 – Directing Street Photography.

Pening Soon, Paris 2012 - by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Pening Soon, Paris 2012 – by ©Gonzalo Bénard

La Tina, Paris 2012 - by ©Gonzalo Bénard

La Tina, Paris 2012 – by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Un Pas de Deux, Paris 2012 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Un Pas de Deux, Paris 2012 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Related essays you should read:

The Conspiracy of the Brain;
The Conspiracy of the Triangle (NSFW)
;

Tell Me a Story;
An Advice;

What Makes a Good Photograph? (part I);
What Makes a Good Photograph? (part II);

Shakespeare & Co., Paris 2012 - by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Shakespeare & Co., Paris 2012 – by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Chinese Class, Paris 2012 - by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Chinese Class, Paris 2012 – by ©Gonzalo Bénard

The Shooting Woman, Paris 2012 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

The Shooting Woman, Paris 2012 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

BW Priests, Paris 2010, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

BW Priests, Paris 2010, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Note: 2HeadS‘ aim is to give tips and help other photographers, emerging, amateurs, even professionals who want to change, for example from landscape to human related. This means that your own tips and comments will always be helpful. Each one has each own way to work, and here we are to share, learn and help each other. It’s always great to hear other ways, thoughts or opinions.

text and photographs by ©Gonzalo Bénard for 2HeadS
december, 2013
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