Welcome back to my series of steps on how to improve street photography. And it’s time to consult the crystal ball of your imagination.
Step 4: Predict Shots Before They Happen
Can you see into the future? Well, as a street photographer, perhaps you should.
We need to see the shots we want to take before they happen, and make sure we’re ready and waiting – often a process that takes a matter of seconds. It’s all about being aware of our environment. We might notice a bold colour, an interesting background, or an eccentric character walking in our direction. So one element of a good shot is there already – we just need to think about what, or who, might complete the image – and get into position.
Without predicting how and when that perfect shot could happen, the chances are we’ll only see it as the moment reveals itself – and by then it’s probably too late to press the shutter.
So how to make it easier?
Well, the more we get inspired, and the more we take photographs, the more we develop our own style. We get accustomed to looking for the things that interest us. We know what we want to get in an image, and hopefully, where we’re likely to find it. That’s already to beginnings of ‘prediction’ right there.
The next step is to keep looking at who and what’s around you, and let your imagination run away with you. Imagine how they might combine to make the image you want. Could it happen? Then get into position, and be ready to take the shot. Some of the time you’ll be wrong. But the rest of the time…
It’s not just shutter speed – this photograph really took about 5 minutes to shoot. It started when I noticed the poster in the background. Could I use it somehow? Well, it was at just the right level to ‘interact’ with the people who might pass by. I imagined a shot where it looked like the poster was reaching out and touching a real person. I liked the idea – all I needed was someone to be in the right place. Was it worth waiting? Yes, it was busy and there were plenty of people – I reckoned I’d get the shot I was after quite quickly. Five minutes later, and there it was. Predicting – waiting – and then pressing the shutter.