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To be or not to be a Street Photographer

Top 6 Reasons NOT to do Street Photography:

1 – Your pics won’t get many ‘likes’

Most people on social media don’t appreciate the art of street photography. Cats and flowers do get more ‘likes’.

2 – Your prints won’t sell

People usually don’t buy prints of street images unless the photographer is somewhat famous.

©Valérie Jardin

©Valérie Jardin

3 – You won’t make any money doing it

No one is going to pay you to walk for hours with your camera to take pictures of strangers. Period.

4 – It’s intimidating

It can be scary to photograph strangers in the street or to ask a stranger to make a portrait. It’s not for the faint-of heart! You will get rejections and some people may even get angry and confrontational.

©Valérie Jardin

©Valérie Jardin

5 – It requires a lot of patience and a lot of walking

You can be out for hours and go home with an empty memory card. The hunt for the story, the right gesture or expression can take you many miles. You have to learn to be satisfied with just one good shot for the day, if any!

6 – A technically perfect shot does not mean it’s a good street photograph

You only have one shot at getting the shot. That fraction of a second that will never happen again. As a result, many of your best shots will have motion blur and noise. When you have to compromise between the technically perfect shot and the story, the story always wins!

You only get one shot! ©Valérie Jardin

©Valérie Jardin

Top 6 Reasons TO do Street Photography

1 – You will be part of a very cool community

Only people who truly appreciate the art of street photography will like your work and it will be a lot more meaningful and gratifying than any ‘likes’ you’d get for a pretty picture. The street photography community is awesome. They are so passionate because they are doing it for the pure love of it, not to please anyone or get recognition on social media.

©Valérie Jardin

You are documenting life around you.
©Valérie Jardin

2 – You are documenting life around you

Street photography is not a hot seller in the fine art world. As a street photographer, you have to look at the bigger picture (no pun intended). You are creating images that reflect a moment in time that will provide some valuable insight for future generations. Just look at the work of street photographers from 50 years ago, and how much we learn from it. That said, you never know when someone is going to connect with one of your images and want to buy a print. Be open to the idea of an occasional sale but don’t bet the farm on it.

3  – You shoot street photography for yourself

You won’t get paid to walk the streets with your camera but, on the bright side, you won’t have to compromise with a client either! Make money doing paid gigs on the side, and get out on the streets for YOU!

©Valérie Jardin

The technical aspect of the resulting image is not what street photography is all about.
©Valérie Jardin

4 – It’s addicting

Street photography never really stops being intimidating. But the rush you get is just as powerful as the rush the wildlife photographer gets when she gets that perfect shot of a wolf in the wild. Street photography is thrilling, exhilarating and addicting.

5 – Walking is good for you!

Street photography will make you appreciate the world around you so much more. You will never be bored again, anywhere! Get a good pair of shoes and get out there, practicing your street photography is one fun way to get your exercise!

Valerie Jardin Photography -Melbourne-2

©Valérie Jardin

6 – You won’t waste too much time in post processing

Street photographers don’t care about noise, they embrace it! Documentary street photography doesn’t require any fancy post processing. A quick exposure adjustment, an occasional crop, a custom black and white conversion if that’s what you like… Et voilà! That’s about the extend of the time you’d ever spend on a picture.  You are capturing a slice of life that will never happen again. It’s not going to be perfect, life on the streets is not perfect! No Photoshop action is going to turn a boring picture into a story. You need to know your camera and be ready to get the best possible shot. With practice you learn to anticipate and be ready without attracting too much attention to yourself. Those rare moments, when the story, the light and the composition all come together, are what keep us roaming those streets tirelessly with our camera.

Street photography is something you can do almost anywhere. As long as there are people. No matter where you are, the number one rule of street photography is respect. As a bonus you will make friends along the way, and that’s a beautiful thing! I will leave you with a quote that, in my opinion, best represents what street photography is all about:

“Get a good pair of walking shoes and… fall in love.” Abbas ~

Those rare moments, when the story, the light and the composition all come together, are what keep us roaming those streets tirelessly with our camera. ©Valérie Jardin

Those rare moments, when the story, the light and the composition all come together, are what keep us roaming those streets tirelessly with our camera.
©Valérie Jardin

Why are you a street photographer? Please share with our readers in the comment section below!

 Need a few tips on practicing your street photography? Check out some of these articles:

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Valerie Jardin
Valerie Jardin

I live and breathe in pixels! Photography is more than a passion, it’s an obsession, almost an addiction. When I’m not shooting or writing, I spend my time teaching this beautiful craft during photo workshops all over the world! I am also thrilled to be an official X Photographer for Fujifilm USA. Visit my Website
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