In a recent tutorial video, photographer Clifford Pickett from Urban iPhone Photography takes us on an insightful journey into the world of ‘staged street portraiture’. A shift from the common candid moments often associated with street photography, Pickett emphasizes the value of engaging with subjects to create powerful, unique images:
According to Pickett, there is something profoundly beautiful about slowing down, introducing oneself to a stranger, and co-creating an image. Engaging with subjects allows photographers to get unique shots that might be missed when focusing solely on candid moments. By stepping out of their comfort zone and establishing a connection with the subject, photographers can co-create extraordinary images that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
Meeting Characters on the Streets
Walking around a city, Pickett encourages us to look for ‘characters’ – interesting individuals who encapsulate the essence of the city. The character of the subject, Pickett argues, is far more critical than the background. This is illustrated in his interactions with several unique individuals – Edi, Ranny, and King David – each of whom brings their own flavor to their portrait.
Framing and Posing
As Pickett moves through the city, he provides valuable insights into how he selects and manipulates his shots. He focuses on clean backgrounds that complement his subjects and highlights the importance of an uncluttered frame. Pickett also employs techniques such as switching to portrait mode or adjusting his position to get a better shot.
Despite this, Pickett advises against over-posing subjects. Instead, he suggests guiding them gently to achieve a natural look, capturing their personality authentically.
Not Just Photos – Connections
As Pickett concludes his video, he stresses that staged street portraiture is about more than just photos; it’s about making a connection with people. The joy of this style of photography isn’t just about capturing stunning images but also the experience of engaging with subjects and the connections formed during the process.
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone, engaging with subjects, and focusing on clean, uncluttered frames can lead to exceptional results. Street photography, after all, isn’t just about the image; it’s about the story behind it.
For further training: The Urban iPhone Photography Course at 80% Off
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