street photography

Street Photography – The 3 Keys To Success

“Travel is the greatest experience anyone can have, we learn new ways of life, culture and a great appreciation as to what we have in our own countries”.

Street Photography
Happy Stall owner, Sanur, Bali© Peter George

Photography has been a way of life for me over the past 18 years, I have photographed everything from weddings to major sports events. Over time two fields stand out for me

  1. Travel
  2. Sports

ironically, travel is one of them as one of the first jobs I had was in domestic travel. Jane and I have spent a lot of time in Bali, Indonesia which is a mecca for photographers.

Sports, on the other hand, has been what keeps me and a lot of Aussies going, AFL, Cricket, NRL is a way of life, as a photographer to be able to capture a moment in time is priceless.

The lessons learnt in photographic weddings and sport has helped with understanding and finding the passion for street photography, being able to see as well as anticipation of an image is key.

To be able to walk along a street anywhere in the world and see and the image is vital to your success as a street/documentary photographer. Combining this skill and the love of travel and you have a great life.

So let’s break down the true art of street and travel photography.

I will start this by saying It’s not your given right to just photography anyone, you must show respect for your subject or location understand that all buildings can’t be photographed and it is only fair to compensate the people you photograph specifically.

Every image I have taken of a person up close they have either agreed to or they have been compensated.

Familiarise yourself with the area, step back observe and then go to work on your next set of images. Sanur was most of these images are from is a great location, it is a busy seaside village that has a day/night market that lets you watch the build-up of the day. 

By the end of day two of our last trip I had already set up a challenge and that was the 20 Faces of Bali, which I completed.

The Gear

Street Photography
The best doughnuts in the land, Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia© Peter George

Phones the best thing about photography today is that everyone has a camera, typically phones today do an exceptional job, they are unobtrusive but you still have to learn how to use it properly. Most of today’s phones allow you to take control of your images which is great, I will do a video on how to get the most out of your phone images.

Point and Shoot cameras a still a good travel option that allows a little more advancement over a phone with zoom lenses etc.

Mirrorless and DSLR are the high end of capture and will give you the most flexibility, I normally use my Sony A7ii and a 2470 lens for street photography, its small compact and flexible in the shots you can take.

The Approach

Street Photography
Food vendor Sanur, Bali© Peter George

Travel street photography is not just a matter of pointing a camera in a general direction of a person and firing away, you must ask the person that you want to photograph their permission even if it is a nod and a wink from both of you, but it is that mutual respect. 

This image was taken the reverse way I saw the shot took it then asked but compensated the shop owner.

One thing that I have learnt not only in photography but business as well is to shoot with then end in mind. I was taught back in film days and did a lot of Balck and White photography and I carry that to today’s shooting.

One of the other sayings I have is “We are the most photographed society in history, but we will be the least remembered”. So make sure you print your images, it doesn’t matter how but print, books, framed prints, canvasses, just print. 

Technology changes, you can lose your phone, but you can never lose a print or a book.

Finishing Your Images

Street Photography
On the coals at Sindhu night market, Sanur, Bali © Peter George

Finishing your images is the key to a successful street campaign, I personally use Lightroom and have for many years, it is simple and effective. I have a series of presets that help speed up finishing my images.

I will be doing a series called the story behind the image, the why I took the shot, the before and after image.

So make sure that you sign up to to get all the latest tips tricks and anything I can think of to help you with your photography. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.

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