Street Photography: Portrait Techniques

Taking portraits with a model or of somebody you know is nowhere as challenging as photographing strangers in public. You get very limited time to work, and you don’t always get to apply all the composition techniques and color theories that you might’ve studied. You need to be quick and precise. This makes it very difficult for street photographers to take the perfect street portrait. Photographer Joel Sternfeld, on the other hand, is somebody who’s brilliant at doing it. In this video, photographer Jamie Windsor discusses the styles that we can see in Sternfeld’s work:

If you study Sternfeld’s photos, you can see that they have some subtle yet impactful characteristics. One feature that you might notice in his work is how he captures individuals as they are. His images strive for an accurate representation of the individual. He avoids exaggeration or biases in any form.

“In my opinion, this is exactly what a street portraiture should do. Show a person  going about their day to day life without pretense, without judgment, without mockery, but with humanity.”

You can also notice how wisely he composes his image with regards to the color palette. The subject either seems to seamlessly blend into their environment or completely stand out from it. This creates a sense of connect or disconnect of the subject with its surroundings respectively.

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