taking street photography photos w/ 35mm lens makes subjects mad

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by denada, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Dikkie

    Dikkie No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good advice.

    I'm always dressed like a confused tourist :)
    MMM, with a wide angle lens, you need to get pretty close to get people close in the picture. It's more discrete if you have a tele lens and shoot from far away, no?


     
  2. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think shooting street with a 70-200 2.8 and trying to be discrete defeats the purpose lol.
     
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  3. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It sorta depends on how you use it. If you shoot down the Street at 200mm it becomes somewhat discreet.

    [​IMG]
    XP1 @ 200mm

    Sometimes it isn't.
    [​IMG]
    XP1 @ 200mm

    Sometimes being upfront with your activities is better than discretion. For me, much of the attraction of shooting Street is the challenge of shooting in a potential hostile environment. I like the heightened challenge of shooting in full photo regalia than hiding what I'm doing and sneaking wide angle shots from the hip. It is all a personal code.
     
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  4. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've only done very little street stuff because where I live but I'd feel weird shooting street with a telephoto unless I'm shooting something specific. Honestly, if I was going to shoot street, as in taking candids of people, I wouldn't even use a DSLR, I'd probably use something like a Ricoh GR because its compact and not flashy whatsoever, its very discrete. But yes, you are absolutely correct, we all have a personal code. That's what makes street photography so unique!
     
  5. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Being discrete doesn't mean you have to be in a far off position, outside the scene you want to photograph, like a sniper waiting to get a clear shot. For me, it means being in close to what interests you without affecting or changing things. Have you ever watched one of those short films where polar bears or gorillas walk through a scene and nobody noticed?
     
  6. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No to the film, but yes to what you said. It is all a mentality thing, you need to blend into the street as if you belong ... ultimately, no different than a mailbox or a street lamp. When I was shooting news everyday, I developed those skills to blend into the background and become relatively unnoticed.
     
  7. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Defeats what purpose? There is no single purpose in street photography, and no where does it say that you have to be right in the action, in someone's face. Andre Kertesz, for example, shot some beautiful street photography and he often used a longer focal length.
     
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  8. bert0324

    bert0324 TPF Noob!

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    I think he simply meant that such a lens is not "discrete", not that he was referring to any purpose of street photography.
     
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  9. nerwin

    nerwin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, I meant the lens not being discrete.

    You can shoot street with any focal length but you may get some rather interesting looks walking around taking pictures of people with a huge tele!

    I find using a discrete setup has a lower chance of being noticed but then again, I'm not someone who would shove a camera in someones face like Eric Kim.
     
  10. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    One doesn't have to be walking on the street in order to shoot "street."

    Methods, techniques, gear - all this relies on exactly what one wants to accomplish. Close up, far away, discreet, non-discreet...there are many ways to accomplish these objectives.

    To use Kertesz as an example again, his shot were often from above, featuring people in a wider context. Looking at his street photographs as a whole, it seemed to highlight the private moment in a public space, or isolation amidst a crowded city. He wasn't mingling, he was watching.

    So maybe the lens isn't discreet, but how and where one uses the lens can be. And if someone wants to be out on the street, mingling, but still be discreet using a long focal length lens, then they don't have to use a huge dslr lens. There are smaller options available.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  11. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    There are many physical ways to be discreet besides using a small lens-camera body or being far away.
    Stay with the movement of the crowd so that you're not visible as a boulder in the flow.
    Move smoothly not erratically. Don't continually look through the lens at the world. Frame the image in your mind, make adjustments on the camera body before it's raised, then raise the body, take the image and smoothly lower the body again.

    Don't stare at people, don't fixate on your target, keep your eyes moving.
    Back when I was shooting demonstrations, I would circle through the crowd, shooting and once people got used to me being there, they ignored me.
    Yesterday I sat in a coffee shop, read book, poked at a tablet, drank coffee, looked at pictures on my camera and eventually took some, no one noticed.
    Have the idea and manner that nothing big or important happening here, just move along.
     
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  12. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suppose it boils down to whether you get better results being discreet or discrete, which aren't quite the same thing. I personally like to be in close but still remain discreet, just minding my own business with a small camera; but in so far as I try not to affect the scene this means, hopefully, that I'm also discrete. When I really am discrete, at a distance with a zoom lens, I feel more awkward about things.
     

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