I recently joined a street portraits group on Facebook, and without wanting to be overly critical of other photographers’ work, I’ve found a good 90% of the images posted extremely boring and unimaginative (when they actually hit the brief, which is rare). Pictures taken on long lenses with no engagement with the subject; the camera pointed randomly at the street, shooting normal looking people behaving normally with no real subject or point of interest; paparazzi/stalker-style shots as the photographer is scared to approach people; boring shots converted to B&W in the hope they’ll appear more interesting; the list goes on.
Street portraiture is probably my favourite type of photography – I’ve been published for it and have another whole website dedicated to it – and whilst I’m no expert or professional, I like to think I’m half decent at it at least. So here are my tips to avoid boring street portraits and to make more compelling and intimate images.
Asian markets have long been a popular draw for photographers, particularly street & travel photographers. It’s easy to see why – they’re a riot of colour, shape, and activity, full of people who are too busy working to worry about that weirdo pointing a camera at them.
And yet a lot of the market photography we see online tends to be samey and cliched – piles of fruit, smiling stallholders (a staple of any photographer’s visit to a market in SE Asia in particular), price tags etc. I spend a lot of time shooting in the markets of Bangkok with my photo walk clients, and always try to get shots that are a bit different to the norm. Here are my tips for making sure your next market shoot produces the goods!