In today’s article we will talk about the ideal equipment for street photography. This is not exactly a new discipline, but it is an undeniable fact that is booming. Perhaps this is due to the proliferation of cameras that have come from the hand of the smartphone, however, it is not exactly an exclusive discipline of mobile photography, although it has been very embraced by it.
And, although you can perfectly do street photography simply with a smartphone or with any camera, if you want to go deeper and expand your range of options; if you have discovered that street photography runs through your veins; If you have noticed what makes you vibrate, lose sleep or walk as many kilometers as Forrest Gump, this article is for you.
WHAT IS STREET PHOTOGRAPHY?
Before continuing, I think we should stop for a moment to see what street photography, urban photography , streetphotography or whatever you prefer to call it.
Now, we are entering swampy terrain, since defining it is not exactly easy. Attempts to define it are quite varied and at some points there is controversy. Two points seem quite clear, and they are the ones on which I will base my definition for this article.
- This is photography taken on the street, that is, in public places (squares, markets, streets, the subway, etc.).
- Includes the human factor. Either people or some elements that evoke their presence appear.
Therefore, we could say that street photography is the one that captures life on the street, and I add that it is the one that captures the essence of what happens in public places, the one that records people’s relationships with spaces, or between them, the one that whispers stories, the one that immortalizes the customs and the way of living of a society.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU NEED?
- Extra battery
- Spare memory card
- Comfortable shoes
Once we have located ourselves and know what we are talking about, we can focus on what I promised you at the beginning of this article. What is the ideal equipment to capture the smell of the street, its soul, its essence.
I insist that you can do street photography only with a camera, be it a reflex, a mirrorless , a compact or a mobile phone. Any of these options are valid.
Now, like any discipline has its special characteristics, and if you are going to give yourself body and soul you will like to expand horizons and take full advantage of all the options. So I’m going to detail the ideal team for you.
Dear Elementary Watson. You need a camera. As we have said, anyone can be worth it, but it is true that there are some characteristics more appropriate to the idiosyncrasy of street photography. If you are going to buy a camera thinking that its main use will be on the street, you better take into account these characteristics:
- Size. Make it as small and discreet as possible. And this depends on you, your hands and your needs, that is, the smallest and lightest that you can handle as comfort, security and ease.
- Speed. Firing speed is another important point. The possibility of burst shooting and the time that elapses between pressing the button and capturing the photo should be the minimum possible. That was my obsession in his day to have an SLR. With my sad compact when the image was recorded the scene had completely changed and my frustration reached exorbitant goals.
- Focus. Ideally, it should have a very fast autofocus and a comfortable and easy manual focus.
- Sound. Being quiet helps your presence go unnoticed, so a shutter sound as quiet as possible is a good point to keep in mind.
- Settings. Ideally, it should be easy and comfortable to operate in terms of controls and buttons.
SOME RECOMMENDED CAMERAS
Next, I leave you with some recommended cameras for street photography. There are not all that are, but there are all that are 😉:
1. Fujifilm X100F
This is a compact camera with a retro design and cutting-edge technology that you can find for around 1,200 euros on Amazon .
3. Fujifilm X-T20
In the case of this Fujifilm, we are talking about an EVIL and with a much more affordable price, which is around 700 euros .
4. Ricoh GRII
The best thing about this camera is that you can go completely unnoticed and the results will not disappoint you at all.
As I was saying, there are not all the recommended cameras for street photography that exist in the market, however, all these that I have presented to you, due to their characteristics, can be great companions when it comes to kicking the street and capturing their essence.
Some of these cameras that I have presented to you are compact, so this section you could skip if it were your case. Although if you look, the focal length in the compact recommended for street photography is usually around 24-35mm, in an APS-C sensor, which is equivalent to a 35mm or 50mm “of a lifetime” 😉 And what does this mean? ? Well, this could be said to be the most used focal length for street photography because it is the one that most closely resembles the vision of the human eye. Does not distort like wide angle lenses or flattens like telephoto lenses.
However, and despite the fact that there is a great debate regarding focal lengths in street photography, there is no exclusive focal length to capture street images. Although some recommendations when choosing your ideal goal .
Although there are those who say no, that this is not street photography, if you want you can use a telephoto lens to get closer to what you want to photograph. What happens is that it is not the most discreet unless you hide in a paparazzi plan . And of course, that’s where the essence is lost a bit.
Another option, different from the standard focal lengths that we mentioned before, is to use an angle to capture a greater part of the scene, since it is not always a very specific and limited action that we want to capture, but what makes sense is to contextualize it within of a larger space.
OOM OR FIXED LENS
On the other hand, choosing between fixed focus or zoom is something very particular, each option has its advantages and disadvantages and it is up to each person to choose what they feel most comfortable with at all times and what they need for each situation or type of photo that want to do.
Although, in general terms, if you are starting, a zoom allows you more versatility, until you discover what type of photo you want to get. Once you are very clear about which lens you handle best and gives you the most satisfaction, it is time to use a fixed lens.
Everyone knows their limitations (and those of their camera). Maybe with the life of your battery you have enough for a street session. However, if you are going to go deeper into street photography, if you discover that it is the discipline you sigh for, get a spare battery.
The worst thing that can happen to a street photographer is having to go home because the battery runs out. Well that or …
This is the second evil that can happen to you. If you have a fast finger; you shoot in RAW; and / or burst, to capture the perfect instant; Or you just find yourself super inspired or the street full of opportunities, you can find yourself with a full card before you know it. If you run out of memory before time and opportunity will be really frustrating.
A spare card in the pocket does not weigh or occupy. But it saves you 😉
You may spend many hours on the street with your camera around your neck and we all know that the straps that come with the camera are not the most comfortable in the world. If you appreciate your neck and your back, and you are clear that kicking the street will not be a thing of a day to browse or try, better get the strap that best suits you.
If you are one of those who simply carries their compact in their pocket or hanging from their neck, the backpack will not be necessary. However, if yours is the case-by-case, and because you do not miss any opportunity loads with various objectives, batteries, flash, etc., you can not miss choosing your right backpack.
Likewise if you are going to photograph in a rainy environment, you should not stop protecting your equipment.
This may sound strange to you, but that’s because you don’t know Bruce Gilden’s work:
Yes, this is not a photographic accessory, obvious. But it is almost as necessary as a camera. Finding the best street scene will rarely be a coincidence, there is a possibility, yes, but it is normal that you have to kick the streets for hours if you want THE PHOTO. And above all, if you want to have fun and enjoy yourself.
As you go with uncomfortable shoes, wet or with a cold foot, the desire to photograph will evaporate in what it takes to click.
All ready to eat you up the street? I hope I have shed a little light on you. If so, I am going to ask you to please share this article on your favorite social network. This way we throw more light on other people who are like you.
Thanks and see you soon.