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What’s Your Street Photography Style?

street photography style

Images shot with Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5

If you have a street photography style, what is it and why is it that?

If you do street photography but don’t have a particular style, why is that?

Do you think it’s important to have a street photography style, and why?

Questions, questions, questions.

I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

Here are mine.

If you have a street photography style, what is it and why is it that?

I’ve recently changed things up a bit regarding the style of street photography I shoot.

A look at my Instagram gallery from the last few months will bring up a wall of monochrome images. In most cases too, monochrome images with only one real subject or layer or point of interest.

I got a little bored of this, though. And when I say bored, I mean bored of both looking at it and shooting it. So I decided to do something different.

Different for me, that is, but not necessarily anything the world’s never seen before.

china-street-photography-kiosk

The idea was to try the colour and layers approach that Alex Webb probably does best. Other people are doing it too right now, and that’s the style I’ve enjoyed looking at most recently.

As yet, my results have been mixed, but I did notice a trend emerging when reviewing what I’d shot.

The images in this post all have a passing subject, partway in the frame but without blocking the background interest. They weren’t really intentional, but it could be a style to play with more in future.

Until it too becomes boring.

If you do street photography but don’t have a particular style, why is that?

See above. Β πŸ™‚

Do you think it’s important to have a street photography style, and why?

I do, yes, and for the following three reasons.

The first is the consistency it gives your work.

I mentioned Alex Webb above, and that act alone represents a great argument for why you should have a street photography style.

When looking for an example of a style, that’s who I thought of.

Having a style and consistently shooting it will help you get thought of tooΒ – if that’s what you want, of course.

I’m not saying you’ll get to an Alex Webb level of thought of, of course. Perhaps aim for your 1000 true fans first, as Kevin Kelly famously espoused.

The point is this: people tend to like street photographers based on their styles, so if you never settle on one and shoot instead what seems a random collection of images in a mishmash of colour and monochrome, it’ll be very difficult to create an identity as a street photographer, and very difficult to become thought of when people are talking about street photographers they like.

china-street-photography-mannequin-shop

The second reason I believe having a street photography style is that it helps you improve.

We could talk about Alex Webb again. We could talk about any highly-regarded street photographer with a defined style.

You know why they’re highly-regarded? Because they’re good at what they do.

They’re not highly-regarded for just shooting in their style. They’re highly-regarded for shooting exceptionally well in their style.

If you want to reach anywhere near that level, you need to practise. That means practising in the right way. Laser-focused and deliberate.

Wasting time shooting with a scattergun approach to a style means wasting time when you could be honing your skills on an aesthetic that you want to become thought of for – no matter how big the army of fans you recruit is.

Experimenting is good in the beginning. You need to find a style before you can get good at it, of course, and the best way is by trying a few out for yourself.

But there comes a time where you should decide which one to settle on and become as good at that as you can be.

street-photography-street-cleaner

The third reason for having a defined street photography style is that it can help you to enjoy shooting.

Whichever style you settle on, I’m going to presume you did so partly because you like making those photographs and also like looking at other people’s examples of doing similar.

So, again, why waste time producing anything else?

I sometimes find myself lacking inspiration for things to shoot. I’ve talked before about giving yourself a photography theme when this happens to you.

Having a style you shoot in gives you a long-term theme. You can leave the house knowing what kind of images you want to come back with, even if you don’t know what the subjects will be.

And you don’t necessarily need fantastic subjects if your whole body of work is kept tight by the running aesthetic that comes with shooting in a consistent style.

The enjoyment that comes from seeing your body of work grow will encourage you to keep going, and so will the enjoyment you get from the constant improvement you’ll be making.

If that enjoyment starts to fade, you can always find yourself a new way to shoot. That’s what I did.

It’s okay to change your street photography style from time to time.

I just think it’s good to always have one.

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So how about you?

Here are those questions again. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you have a street photography style, what is it and why is it that?

If you do street photography but don’t have a particular style, why is that?

Do you think it’s important to have a street photography style, and why?

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Do you know what your street photography style is? And do you know why you should have one? If you answered 'no' to either, you need to read this!

 

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