The next time you're out walking with your camera, try taking images of folks out doing whatever they're doing. You might be surprised at the variety of photos you can get. Street photography has a long and storied history. Many photographers have made it their primary effort. They captured little slices of everyday life, making great photos from seemingly mundane settings.
There are many great examples of street photography for you to discover, and I urge you to look at them. Find the photographs that talk to you, and try to figure out what you like about them. This is a great way to learn, and the price is right. Many are presented in black and white. Since, historically, you had to load film, you made that choice at the beginning of your photo session. (And, of course, the farther back you go, that was your only choice.)
Today, we have the choice. There are lots of reasons to stick with traditional black and white. Colors can distract your viewer's attention away from your subject. Maybe you just want to make your images in the style of the old street photographers. You can hit the topic cloud at the bottom of the current blogs to find black and white topics from our earlier entries.
I usually expand the definition beyond just images of people on a street since I don't live in a crowded, urban area. I make my "street" images wherever I happen to be. It might be in Fairbanks, Alaska, with a street musician (they're always happy to let you snap some shots).
Street performers are another group that will gladly cooperate with your efforts. You don't have to worry about asking them if you're a shy person. They are out there to be seen.
But there really is no reason to be shy. I have rarely been refused when I asked for permission to take a quick photo. I found the next photo in Alexandria, Virginia. There we were, in one of the historical parts of our state, with a big flag on the building behind this New Age tea vendor. How could you pass this one up? As soon as he saw what I wanted, he happily posed for several shots.
Last weekend, I was up in Boston, walking downtown, and we stopped into the open air market. The vendors completely ignored my camera. They were trying to get a few more sales while the weather was nice.
For someone who likes making images of people, it's just another fun way to practice your craft with spontaneity, shooting without all the reflectors and lights. You get to meet lots of new people and share interesting stories. While we were out, we ran into Kevin McBride.
You don't know Kevin? Well, Kevin is an Irishman who currently resides in Boston. He was a heavy weight boxer, and, in June 2005, he beat Mike Tyson in a 6th round TKO. We met Kevin near Harvard Square. He talked with us for a while and had no problems with me shooting some up-close shots, including this typical boxing pose.
So get out there and make some images of new acquaintances and people just enjoying themselves. You'll have fun, too.