Hi, this is Jay P. We’re out here in the Baltic Sea, stopping at these little countries all around the Baltic Sea. I’m trying to do candid street photography. I’m a little nervous sometimes. I’d rather ask somebody to take their picture. But I’m trying to get candids, just really lifestyle kind of people doing their thing here. So let’s give you some tips on doing street photography, the real hardcore sneaking shots of people street photography. Let’s get started and see what we can do.
This kind of candid photography is a little hard for me. I’m more comfortable asking people if I can take their picture. I just ask and most people say yes and they’re happy about it. But just grabbing a shot feels kind of intrusive. I have to find myself shooting people from behind because I’m more comfortable as they’re walking away. But I sat down here for a little while and I just kind of looked at the people as they’re waiting for the bus and started taking some pictures. And it started to happen, you know. I look like I’m looking up in the sky and then I come down and take some pictures. It worked out really nice. I got a few shots here. Let’s push on and see what else we find.
So we’re going to go back into the city. I find it pretty easy to just put my camera down on a table if we’re sitting at a little cafe or something. And just kind of take pictures. I was doing it the other day. Julene didn’t know I was doing it. She didn’t know where I’d taken pictures. She was sitting with me and I took pictures of everyone around me. So I pop out the screen on my camera. I turn it around so I can see it. And I just kind of let my camera sit on the table and I just shoot around. It’s, I think it’s a really interesting way to get some shots of people as they are talking, eating, walking by. Just a really easy way to get some candid shots. It even works better when Julene’s sitting with me because then it looks like I’m just talking to her. It just makes it pretty simple.
So this is the perfect little spot here. It’s just a little kind of courtyard. I don’t know what you’d call it. There’s an entrance way and there’s doors that go into two different businesses here. So it works out really well. It just allows me to have a place to look. I’m looking out the window. I’m able to pick up images of people walking across the street. I can use the signage in some of them which looks kind of cool. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable here. And people don’t even really realize I’m taking pictures of them. It’s almost like I’m invisible back in here. So they are probably just focused on what they’re doing. They can’t really see me. I do have to live with the fact that I’ve got this glass and it’s not, my image is not going to be as clear and clean. But you know, I’m shooting a 50 some odd megapixel image. So it’s not like I can’t sharpen them up a little bit.
For the longest time, we got on the Hop On Hop off bus and it was nice because there were no windows. There was a bar there that made it a little hard. But I could shoot from a high angle and it was just interesting because you catch people just in the middle of their day and talking to each other. A little girl jumping. That was an awesome shot where she’s jumping. Just great shots of people talking at the cafes. The lady trying to serve coffee. I mean it was just really an interesting angle. It’s up higher because we were on the second story of that Hop On Hop off bus. But it really gave me some very interesting, kind of got personal moments of the people down below. Looking in on the street below. So it was really interesting. So I shot a lot of those. Take a look at some of these. There’s a lot of these we shot.
When we were in Japan I would carry my camera around like this. And I shot on a 35mm so it’s wide. And I just shot like crazy. So it’s just walking through the crowds of people. I got some interesting things like that. It was very, very candid. It was very rough. But I just shot a ton of that kind of stuff. So I just kept my thumb on the trigger and my camera down low here on a 35mm and just kind of shot and walked along. And you know here are some of those images. It’s kind of interesting.
So I’m shooting the Tamron 28-200mm. It’s an f/2.8-5.6. The reason I use this lens is because it’s just an incredible range. I’ve got really wide at 28mm. I’ve got a little more at telephoto at 200mm. At f/5.6 it still lets the background fall out if I get fairly close to people at 200mm. And at 28mm I’m at f/2.8. So it just makes a great kind of all-around street lens. I can set this at 35mm and look over my shoulder here and be shooting down here and kind of framing things up. I’ve got it set on electronic shutter so you don’t hear the click, click, click, click, click. I mean that makes a big difference because people hear the click and it becomes kind of obvious. So I’m just kind of walking and shooting as we walk around town and see what we get. So I just keep my screen out to the side so I can kind of frame. I was doing it without framing and that’s kind of hard. It’s just really whatever you get. When you’re looking down people don’t think you’re taking a picture. That’s why the old Rolloflex was such a great street camera because you’re looking down into it. No one ever perceived you’re actually taking a picture of them. So it worked out really well that way.
So it started to rain but rather than head for the room we just jumped in underneath the building eaves for about 20 minutes. And then it started to clear up. And then it’s sunshiny again and we got beautiful reflections. My experience is that bad weather brings amazing images. So you might want to carry a little poncho. A poncho is great, either a lightweight one you can put over your camera and everything. It just makes it really easy to keep working and get your backpack and everything dry, keep everything dry. So ponchos are great. I have a hard time with umbrellas because it’s just hard to shoot and to work with an umbrella. But you could carry an umbrella. But I think ponchos are the best bet. And just keep shooting. We got great reflections out here. Now we’ll shoot the reflections. See what we got.
I love looking through windows, car windows, hotel windows, business windows, into windows of the different apartments and things. Just looking through those windows and seeing people in there. There’s reflections on the window. It gives you another dimension. It’s just a fun way to do these candid images looking through windows. This girl sitting in this little window seat across the way it just looks really cool.
So I’m really working on trying to dirty the frame. And what that means is you have foreground elements that are close to you that are out of focus or background elements. So you have one item, one person in focus, with people out of focus front and back. It just makes it feel a little more like you’re finding this individual in the moment. And it also gives a lot of depth to the image. And it feels like street photography. So I’m really working on giving myself, dirtying the frame. Things in the corners, things in the front out of focus. It looks, it’s really cool.
This has been a lot of fun shooting and trying to catch these kind of moments. I’ve always been comfortable asking people to photograph. I mean even if I just point to my camera and point to them it’s always been easy to get people to let me photograph them. Very rarely, I mean occasionally throughout the day people will say no, but most of the time people will say yes. And it’s just a great experience. But this has been a different experience. I’m looking for great light. I’m looking for great composition. And I’m looking for something that’s more real. It has a, you know, a stronger realism. A moment in someone’s life. You’re trying to peer into what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling. And that, I think, is a really interesting place to be. I’ve enjoyed this immensely. I’ve got some other lessons along these lines. Check them out. And I’m going to do more of this. So we’re going to get out there and we’re going to keep looking at this kind of street photography. A lot of fun. So if you want some other lessons that look like this, check them out. And keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’!
My saxophone collection. People say I’m crazy. I’ve got about 150 saxophones. I love saxophone history. I love all the variations of the instrument that were created. And I love sharing it with kids in school. SKB, oh, you know when you have a collection like this the case that you put them in is so important. I heard about them. I introduced myself to them. They supported my project with all these great saxophones. And it just developed into a great relationship. They’re like family to me. I love them. This is a 1957 Selmer Mark 6. It’s a classic horn and I wouldn’t trust it in any other case but SKB. I’ve had this a long time and that SKB case has served me well. Thank you SKB.