My Street Photography Process (with Contact Sheets)

Have you ever wondered how street photographers capture those raw moments of everyday life on the streets? Well, wonder no more! In this blog, I will take you through my street photography process and share with you the contact sheets that reveal the stories behind my chosen shots. Street photography is a form of art that requires both patience and observation, as well as a keen eye for interesting compositions. It is about capturing the essence of the streets and the people who inhabit them, freezing a moment in time that tells a compelling narrative. So, join me as we dive into my world of street photography and uncover the stories hidden within the contact sheets.

My Street Photography Process (with Contact Sheets)

The Myth of the Perfect Shot

I think there’s a myth that needs to be busted about your favorite photographers. Many of us romantically assume that the photographers we look up to walk around the corner, they see a scene, lift up the camera, hit the shutter, and they walk away with a great image every time. But the reality is most of us have to take a lot of shots to get to those good ones. Taking multiple shots is a part of the process that photographers engage in to get to the final images that they are willing to post.

The Magnum Contact Sheet Book

In fact, photographers like Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, and Trent Park, among others, have shared their contact sheets in a book called the Magnum contact sheet book. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into their photography process, showcasing the multiple shots they took to arrive at the final image. It is interesting to see how their minds worked and how they experimented and explored different ideas before capturing that perfect shot.

My Street Photography Contact Sheet

Now, let me walk you through one of my own contact sheets to give you a glimpse into my street photography process. The contact sheet I’ll be showing you includes every shot I took during an afternoon walk around London. I started at Southbank, crossed the river into the city, and ended up near the Museum of London area.

Please note that the numbers on the contact sheet are sequential, and I haven’t skipped any images. You will see the good shots and the bad shots, as well as my thought process behind each one. For reference, I was shooting with my Sony a7 III and using a Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens.

Collecting Ideas and Visual Notes

When I go out to shoot, not every shot I take is meant to be a final image. Sometimes, I capture interesting light or cool scenes as visual ideas or notes for future use. These shots serve as a visual scrapbook for me, reminding me of potential opportunities and compositions.

For example, in the beginning of my contact sheet, you’ll see shots of interesting light and unique walls. These shots were taken to remember certain elements or ideas that caught my attention, even though they may not be final images.

The Journey to the Final Shot

As you scroll through the contact sheet, you’ll notice that certain shots start to stand out as having potential. These shots capture interesting compositions, slices of light, or spontaneous moments that caught my eye. I take these shots with the intention of exploring their potential and seeing if they can become final images.

However, patience is not always my strong suit, so if nothing much is happening or if I feel like I’ve captured the essence of a scene, I may move on fairly quickly. Each shot is a stepping stone towards a potential final image, but not every shot needs to be fantastic. It’s a process of trial and error, experimenting, and refining the composition until I capture that shot I am truly happy with.

The Importance of Contact Sheets

Contact sheets are a valuable tool for photographers to examine their processes, learn from their successes and failures, and track their creative journey. They provide insights into the photographer’s mindset, their exploration of ideas, and the development of their composition skills.

So, next time you admire a famous photographer’s work, remember that behind that iconic image lies hours of shooting, experimenting, and refining. The contact sheet reveals the hidden process and reminds us that photography is not about instant perfection, but about the journey of capturing that one exceptional shot.

In conclusion, street photography is a process that involves capturing numerous shots, exploring ideas, and refining compositions to arrive at a final image. Contact sheets provide a glimpse into this process, showcasing the photographer’s journey and the evolution of their creativity. So, the next time you go out shooting, remember that every shot brings you one step closer to that perfect image.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is street photography?

Street photography is a genre of photography that captures candid moments of everyday life in public places. It usually focuses on urban scenes, people, and random encounters on the streets.

2. How do you approach street photography?

Every street photographer has their own approach, but I typically prefer a discreet approach. I blend into the environment, observe moments unfolding, and capture them without interfering or interrupting the scene.

3. What cameras and lenses do you use for street photography?

I primarily use a mirrorless camera, such as the Sony A7III, for its compact size and versatility. As for lenses, I find a 35mm or 50mm focal length ideal for capturing street scenes and human interactions.

4. Do you ask for permission before photographing subjects on the street?

As a street photographer, my aim is to capture authentic moments, usually without asking for permission. However, there are situations where it’s necessary and respectful to seek consent, especially if the subject is the main focus of the photograph.

5. Could you explain the concept of contact sheets?

Contact sheets are an essential part of my street photography process. They are a series of thumbnail-sized images printed or displayed in a grid format, providing an overview of the images captured during a specific session. Contact sheets help me review and select the best images for further editing and processing.

6. How do you select and process your street photographs?

After reviewing the contact sheets, I select the most compelling images based on storytelling, composition, and emotional impact. I then proceed to post-processing, where I adjust colors, enhance contrast, and fine-tune the overall look and feel to convey the intended mood.

7. How can I improve my street photography skills?

Improving your street photography skills requires practice, observation, and experimentation. Stay open to new perspectives, study the works of established street photographers, and challenge yourself to capture unique moments that reflect your personal vision.

8. Can I buy prints of your street photographs?

Yes, absolutely! If you’re interested in purchasing prints of my street photographs, kindly visit the Contact page on my website or send me an email directly. I offer various print sizes and materials to suit your preferences.

9. Are there any legal considerations in street photography?

While street photography is generally legal for personal and artistic purposes, it’s important to respect people’s privacy and local laws. Be mindful of photographing children, people in intimate situations, and avoid invading anyone’s personal space without consent.

10. Can I hire you for a street photography session or workshop?

Yes! I love collaborating and sharing my passion for street photography. If you’re interested in hiring me for a personalized street photography session or workshop, please reach out to me through the Contact page with the details of your request.

I hope you find useful my article My Street Photography Process (with Contact Sheets), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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