Street Photography 101: #1 – Slow Down

Candid street photography of some youths holds up a sign reading "slow down wankers" on the South Bank in London

Over my years of shooting street photography I’ve regularly made notes to my phone to help improve my street shots, usually as I’m out and about photographing on the streets. Although these were primarily learning notes for me, I thought they might be useful for those of you learning to shoot street photography.

So I’m taking these notes and turning them into a bite-sized series of blog posts, called Street Photography 101. There’ll be no particular order, it’s just as I’ve randomly noted them down, and sometimes they may even seem obvious and simple, but hopefully they will get you thinking about how and what you shoot out there. And so we kick off with number 1: “Slow Down.”

In our excitement and eagerness to get shots, it’s easy to rush about the streets in the hope of finding the next great image. It can be a bad habit of mine. I usually like to keep moving, never one for lingering or loitering too much. I’m a fast walker normally and when out shooting I do feed off the energy of the fast moving streets.

But just consciously slowing down can help you see more. Yes, I know, it sounds basic but sometimes you just don’t realise how quickly you are walking. Slowing down will help to notice things more, to better evaluate scenes and even blend in more.

I won’t go all zen like and talk about slowing down your breathing too, but just try slowing those steps down and see what happens. I still have to remind myself to do it, but when I do remember to slow down a bit more it usually pays off!

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