The pandemic has obviously thrown the entire photography community out of whack, and it has made photographers rethink how they do street photography.
Things that were once okay are now much harder to do. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still take street photos. It’s just the opposite—now is a very important time to continue shooting. However, we have to do things a little differently for a while.
Keep more distance
Now is clearly the time to keep more distance than we used to. People are warier of getting close and, of course, it’s the smart thing to do.
So use a slightly longer of a lens (it doesn’t have to be that much longer) and add another six feet to the distance that you’d normally shoot.
Instead of walking up to people as often to snap a shot, maybe wait for them to walk by you.
Just in general, be even more aware of your surroundings and how you might make people uncomfortable. This is something that should always be done with street photography, but even more now.
Now is the time to focus on more street portraits. People are craving connection and candid photography is even tougher now than it was, so when you find an interesting person, ask for their portrait!
You can do it with their mask on, or you can step back far enough and ask them if they’d mind taking it off for the picture.
While technically not “candid street photography,” street portraits are a huge part of the genre, and this is a great time to focus on them to document everyday life.
Many misunderstand street photography as being all about people. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Street photography is about capturing your environment—all aspects of your environment—and the scenes around you are just as important as the people. So it’s a great time to focus on building that aspect of your work.
Capture the spirit of what your neighborhood looks like. Photograph homes, street corners, interesting things you find and even scenes of nature. While nature might not technically feel like street photography, if you’re weaving together a story of what an area looks and feels like, the natural world can very much be a strong part of the genre.
Look for interesting moments, but also capture the normal, the mundane, the everyday scenes. Those can often carry just as much weight as the spectacular and strange moments.
Search for small details in the world. Street photography is just as much about hints and strange details in the found world as it is great moments, people shots and spectacular environments.
All of these will create a complete picture of what you are trying to show, and if you are currently having trouble with people shots during the pandemic, this is a great thing to search for in the time being.
Focus on editing and projects
While you still need to get out there and shoot, there’s no better time to go through your old work to build out some projects and ideas and to plan what you want to work on in the future. Now is the time to focus on your editing.
Create Collections in Lightroom (or albums in other programs) and search for similar themes and ideas within your photographs to bring together. This is such a fun process.
As you figure out these ideas and themes, this will give you more inspiration for where to go and what to shoot. And it will help you brainstorm new projects and things to focus on. It can be such a rewarding process.
Don’t get discouraged
Finally, the biggest thing is to not get discouraged. Yes, it’s more difficult now and different than it used to be, but things will get back to normal, and there is just as much that you can do now in the meantime.
Try to be optimistic and adapt as well as you can. You might find that by the time the pandemic is over, you’ll have added an entirely new dimension to your work.
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