When traveling around and especially when seeing the growing Street Photography community in Jakarta, I realized that Street Photography is not really popular in Germany or other places in Europe amongst younger people. In Berlin, I am probably one of the youngest Street Photographers at the age of 29. On the other hand, in Jakarta, I was amongst the older ones and it was refreshing to see so many younger people interested in Starting Photography. There is a huge influx of younger Street Photographers that inspire the Street Photography scene with their new ideas and style.
I want to motivate everyone who has only the slightest of interest to start Street Photography, not to hesitate and do it. Street Photography is not only a fun and challenging photography genre but also a method of personal development. Therefore, as a young and growing person, you will benefit from Street Photography even more.
Start Your Street Photography journey now, share your view of the world and express Yourself through your Photographs. Explore the world, meet new people and grow as a person through Street Photography.
Right now it is winter time in Europe and it might not be the most inviting weather or conditions in the street. Snow is slowing down the life of everyone and You rather stay at home. You would rather wait for spring to arrive before doing Street Photography because the sun is more dominant, the streets are filled with more people and in general, there is more life to be shown.
Does that sound reasonable to You?
Maybe You also had some New Years resolution, for example, You wanted to get more fit for the summer to show off at the beach or just feel better in general. Do You wait until the summer to start your gym classes?
Of course, You need a lot of time to prepare and the success doesn’t arrive immediately.
Street Photography is not easy and if You are interested in this genre, there will always be opportunities and experiences You can learn from.
Even if the weather is not inviting, there is no reason to wait until spring. On the contrary, I also find it easier to start in conditions like now. The streets are emptier, that is true, but they are also less chaotic and You will have easier opportunities to apply some compositional rules, like the rule of thirds.
You will also feel less nervous when carrying your camera because there are fewer people overall. This gives You an easier time to try different settings and get familiar with Your camera.
By the time spring arrives, You already have weeks of preparation and experiences in Street Photography and are able to create better photographs. Instead of missing interesting shots at street festivals or with the sun in full force, You have some basic knowledge that You can apply to capture the spring in Your city.
There is no reason to wait until better conditions arrive.
The Desire for Street Photography
For me, Street Photography comes from an inner motivation. Street Photography has to do a lot with personality and expressing yourself. Not only through photographs but also while You are out on the street and have time to think about life and various topics that otherwise wouldn’t cross Your mind.
If you have that desire and emotions in You that You want to show to the world then You should start Street Photography now. Even if You might not feel confident enough to actually express Yourself through Street Photography in the early stages and that Your photographs are too weak, then I can assure You that this belief is not true.
From the first moment I started Street Photography, I felt that I was able to tell stories and experience the city from a new perspective. Of course, the photographs are not that good in the beginning and it takes some time until You feel You have gathered a good portfolio.
But that is not the point of Street Photography. It is about the process and creating, rather than the results. You don’t need to share your photographs, just do it for Yourself. You will see that Street Photography is very fulfilling, even if you are not satisfied with your photographs yet.
Then again, to become better You shouldn’t wait but start now.
Benefits of Street Photography
I have written before that Street Photography is one of the best things you can do. Not only is it fun, you are outdoors and are able to create something, I furthermore believe it has tremendous positive effects on your mental health and overall well being.
- New Experiences
First of all, Street Photography may be new to You and all the different aspects and terms that might be thrown around are quite difficult to comprehend. Especially when You don’t have any previous experience in Photography, You have to learn it all from the beginning.
For me, this is one of the best things about Street Photography. At first, You have to understand the “simple” technical aspects, like the exposure triangle and how to control Your camera. How can You focus right and in which way does it influence the outcome of the picture?
These aspects don’t have much to do with the specific characteristics of Street Photography but are the absolute basics You need to know in order to get progressively better images.
- Street Photography Characteristics
Then there are also all the more advanced concepts that not exclusively apply to Street Photography, but definitely, play a much bigger part in Candid Photography.
Compositional rules, like the Rule of Thirds, Layering or keeping the attention to the background are a huge challenge in Street Photography.
You also need to be invisible, while at the same time getting closer and be right in the scene.
A challenge that makes Street Photography more interesting for me than any other genre.
- A life-long Journey
I don’t feel that Street or Documentary Photography could ever be “boring” for me. The world is constantly changing and as such there are countless stories to be found and told by us photographers.
The complexity of Candid Photography also ensures that we never can 100% “master” it. We can get better, of course, we can increase our success output and raise our overall quality, but when a Street Photographer says that he knows and sees everything perfectly, never misses a shot, or couldn’t have done anything better, then he doesn’t understand the true complexity of Street Photography.
Street Photography is more than just going on the street and snapping away some pictures. “Easy to learn, hard to master” is a quote that applies very well.
Personally, in other genres I would have the feeling that there is some peak, some sort of final goal, that is very hard to overcome. There are only so many ways to photograph a building or a landscape.
It is the unknown factor in Street Photography, that keeps my curiosity high and makes it a challenge throughout life.
“To master the unknown” could be one of the principles of Street Photography.
- Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Before, I described mainly the photography aspects of Street Photography. The greater and often more interested part is the mental aspect.
Street Photography in its way of candid photography means to get close to strangers, not only physically but also emotionally. That is a very difficult task in countries where people are more reserved and not really open to strangers.
All of our life we are trained to stay away from strangers because they could be a potential harm. In Street Photography it is about breaking that boundary again and being open to all kinds of people.
For me, one of the most important parts of Street Photography is to disregard any boundaries at all. Ideally, You should feel comfortable to go anywhere and take pictures, even when you get strange looks or attention.
If you are uncomfortable in public speaking, for example, Street Photography is no different. You will get the attention that might make You nervous at first, but the more comfortable you get, the more You enjoy the process of Street Photography. In conclusion, it will also help You in other aspects of life where You lack self-confidence.
Street Photography can teach You that the opinions of strangers have no weight on You and You will grow as a person during that learning process.
- Mental Health
Today’s world can be very complex. People suffer from depression and a lot of people feel unhappy to be stuck in a 9 to 5 job instead of being able to live their dream.
Life is not always about free choices and doing what You want. There are responsibilities and constraints that sometimes force us to endure a time of lower satisfaction.
Street Photography can be a good way to deal with it. Personally, when going out on the street it really helps to focus on the moment and forget all the other problems at least for the time being. Or if I am not seeing the right opportunities for Photographs, just walking and thinking about life can already make a huge difference.
For me, it is more beneficial than any other kind of meditation. It might not be for everyone and in the beginning, You are more focused on other details, like your camera and Street Photography itself.
Later, You don’t worry too much more about the camera and just be in the moment. It needs some time to really reach the Zen-Status, but then it can be a key to maintain happiness and learn what is really important in life.
Start Street Photography Now
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
If you are interested in Street Photography, there is no excuse for not trying it now. You don’t need a highly expensive camera, a smartphone can get you a long way. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect, “imperfect” weather has its own appeal.
Even at night, You can start Your Street, Photography Journey.
Although it might sound not that appealing, to just walk through the city with a camera in your hand, but Street Photography is more than just the Photographs. It is the process, the deep inner monologue and creating something meaningful.
Telling stories, expressing yourself and being part of the great Street Photography community is what motivates me to pursue this difficult task myself.
Yes, there are easier ways to find You way into Photography, but if You are interested in the real life, the candid moments and not some superficial world to gather likes, then You should start Your Street Photography journey now.