According to the written oracle, Wikipedia, 'street photography is sometimes called candid photography that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Though people usually feature, the image can be absent of people.'
Let's face it: we do not suddenly turn into professional photographers when we pack a suitcase to go on holiday. Yet, we expect to be able to take those Instagram shots, which give a tingle up the spine and make our friends turn a shade of puke-green in envy.
The secret to taking fabulous pics while on holiday is to:
- Take the time to learn how to use your camera before leaving home or merely put the camera onto the automatic setting. Don't stress about it at all.
- Carry your camera like an extension of your hand—if in a dubious area, hide it under your shirt and only take it out when wanting to take shots.
- Get out and walk the city streets—you will really feel the vibes and see far more than if you are on motorized transport.
- Sauntering is the new walking pace—take your time, really look around, look up, look down. Take different angles of the scene you want to capture.
- Be aware of the light—rise early to catch the soft glowing light in the wee hours when streets are bare of flocks of people. This is the golden or magic hour, which occurs the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. While, the brief interlude between sunset and when the skies are ink black, known as the blue hour, give brilliant indigo shades.
- When photographing, use discretion on whether a property is public, private, or totally out-of-bounds.
- Be aware of cultural or religious differences by doing some homework before leaving for your destination. For example, it's taboo to take a person's photo in some countries. Be informed and respectful of other beliefs.
Below are my best spots for photo opportunities:
- Take a seat and linger over numerous coffees on the terrace of a corner cafe.
- Hang out of the window of your accommodation.
- The rooftop of any building.
- If there's a waterway of some description, jump onto a boat to get shots from the water.
- Stand in the middle of a bridge.
- Have your camera ready when crossing the road to grab a photo of the approaching traffic—do be careful attempting this.
- Check out any alleys or laneways.
- Sit on a bench in a park or a plaza.
- Subways and underpasses give evocative vibes.
- Haunt old industrial areas and derelict buildings.
- Find a good vantage point if a street parade or festival is happening. Alternatively, run alongside the action taking photographs.
- Shop and cafe windows give a different perspective with their reflective glass.
- Markets and bazaars are a kaleidoscope of color waiting to be captured.
- Street art or billboards make fantastic backdrops.
It's a weird world with crazy happenings. In another lifetime, I owned an Italian restaurant. I would happily fly off to Italy from Australia with my camera in my backpack each year, of course, in the name of research. Upon my return, my random street photos would adorn the large menu board at the restaurant's front. One such image was taken in Piazza del Popolo in Rome, depicting the bustling crowd of locals and tourists. The focus was on a central male figure in formal attire carrying a briefcase. About 3 months after this picture went up, that same man in the same suit, complete with his battered leather briefcase, was standing in front of the menu board looking at the picture of himself. It was the ultimate serendipitous moment, not just for him but for me as well.