It can be awkward and nerve wracking to become involved in street photography, especially when taking photos of strangers in a foreign setting. Zack Arias, a street and portrait photographer, explores Marrakech, Morocco, with his Fujifilm X-T1. Along the way, he gives advice on how to take street photography and some tips and tricks for avoiding uncomfortable encounters:
1. Be a magician.
Attempt to distract potential candid subjects from your picture-taking by moving their attention away from you. Arias suggests acting like you are taking a picture of a nearby building or monument. When you go to look at the fake photo you’ve taken, you can take a picture of your real subject without them becoming suspicious. If they do begin to catch on, commit to your sleight of hand even further.
2. Look for framing elements.
Seek out interesting backgrounds or arches to frame your subject. Then, wait by this element as people walk by. Arias also counts the strides of his subjects in order to catch them walking in full stride in just the right place.
3. Use Wi-Fi.
To get the camera in close while you stay back, control your camera remotely. With the Fujifilm XT One and some other cameras, you can link the camera to your smartphone. On your phone screen, not only can you see a live view of the camera and take photos, but you can change the ISO and exposure settings, as well. If a smartphone connection is not an option, you can still take photos nonchalantly with a remote—you’ll just need to pre-focus.
4. Go local.
When traveling abroad, hire a local to help you get around, gain access to more exclusive areas, and communicate in the native language. Though you may have to pay them, they will save you money in the long run with their knowledge of the area and connections.
5. Make new friends through photos.
Arias often gives his subjects Instax photos using one of the Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras. These mementos not only break the tension between photographer and subject, but they give the recipients a way to remember the photographer, too.
“The thing I love the most about photography and the most about my life right now is that these little cameras are my passport, and right now they are my passport to the world.”
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