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Masters of Photography

Lesson 10 of 25

Street Photography: Great Things

Steve McCurry

Masters of Photography

Steve McCurry

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Lesson Info

10. Street Photography: Great Things


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Meet Your Master Duration:00:47
2 The Early Years Duration:08:30
3 Going To War Duration:08:03
4 Influences: Cartier-Bresson Duration:08:29
5 Other Influences Duration:08:06
6 Tell A Story Duration:12:04
7 Conflict Zones Duration:14:13
8 Finding Subjects And Stories Duration:13:16
9 Choosing The Light Duration:12:55
15 Portraiture - 9 Key Tips Duration:08:27
17 Photographing Children Duration:12:37
18 The Afghan Girl Duration:05:59
19 Using Juxtaposition Duration:06:37
20 Landscape Duration:10:14
21 Composition Duration:06:52
22 Cityscapes Duration:08:20
23 Shoot In All Weather Duration:06:39
25 Making Pictures For A Living Duration:02:20

Lesson Info

Street Photography: Great Things

(gentle music) When we're talking about exterior light there's different times of the day different kinds of light there sometimes a very hard bright light sometimes it's overcast, it's more soft in the early morning it's again soft late afternoon more soft it's really a personal preference what kind of light you like to photograph in there's no right or wrong way. I would really encourage you to look through photography from some of the great masters and sort of see what their solution is to working in different kinds of light. (gentle music) I generally try to get out on the street early in the morning work out through the day sometimes for me it's easier to photograph at the end of the day because the light keeps getting better and better and better, so you're able to really think it through maybe come back to another place while the light's improving over the course of an hour, and hour and a half or whatever. Conversely in the morning, the light starts very soft wonderful shadows ...

and it quickly brightens up the light becomes for me less interesting as the sun rises. So both are great times of the day to shoot it's just that one you have to be poised and ready before sunrise and the other one late afternoon you have time to kinda work through the situation and maybe have an hour or more while that light is getting better and better and softer and more kind of interesting looking. Sometimes an approach where you photograph in deep shadow or in silhouette can also be very graphic and very interesting. If I go out on the street, during the middle of the day I try generally to stay on the shady side of the street, again, I prefer that low contrast, muted look. As opposed to the sunny side of the street. So I would encourage you to go out and experiment between shooting on the sunny side of the street or the shady side of the street and see what you think works best for you and your photography. (gentle music) This picture I made in Varanasi in India I thought was a good example of waiting for the light to go down the sun again this is a picture after sunset when the interior light starts to really kinda shine and you have that wonderful balance between the setting sun, the ambient light and the interior light. And it's that half and hour 45 minute you have that sort of narrow window when you can make these kind of pictures. It really makes the scene come alive. I thought the juxtaposition between the man sitting in the doorway, this fortune teller, this astrologer and the man in immediate foreground and how the man in the foreground is much darker and the man, the astrologer, is very bright because he's illuminated by the light bulb and then you have this wonderful scene the river showing life along the banks of the Ganges, I though it was a nice story about this quiet moment with this fortune teller perhaps waiting for a customer, waiting for a relative or a friend to arrive. Or just sitting there contemplating the evening light. (gentle music) This picture I made in Kabul Afghanistan is of a circus troupe which entertains children with different acts and different performances and whatnot so I wen to this location where they were performing and I spent pretty much the whole afternoon with them I discovered as I was shooting and they were juggling with this fire, that the light became really interesting just past dark, so I decided to, I shot one of them when I was actually making the selection. The dramatic pictures were the ones where you could see the fire and the light was very dark and very mysterious and very dramatic. So again, shoot throughout the afternoon, but you might find that the best light and the most interesting situation is after sunset when the light becomes very dramatic and a fire really comes alive. That might be the best time. (gentle music) I'm here in a Portuguese fishing village, it's amazing to have all these boats, some of them are abandoned some of them are being used the tide's out, right now the light's a bit sharp it's a little contrasty for my taste. It's better to wait for the light that you work best in, than to rush it. For me I'm gonna wait a while, wait for the light to get a little bit lower and a little bit softer then I'm gonna walk around and do some work. (gentle music) so we have this very interesting fisherman here with the really wonderful sort of weathered face and I wanted to make a portrait of him. We have just a little bit of light left, the sun's already set, so now we're past sunset, but still there's a lot of light left, so I'm gonna take advantage of the next sort of 10 or 15 minutes to take a portrait of this fellow. So when we got here the light was really strong as you can see now it's very soft, the scene for me comes alive more, the colors are more vibrant. Before coming to a location it's good to plan the timing for the light. In this case we came here with enough time to kind of look around, to scout, to do a little bit of recky, and then as the light got better was able to start shooting. So I think it's good to think about the light prior to arriving at the location to make sure that your there when the light is best for you. And I think only you can decide what that light is. So we've sort of lost the light now, I'm going to wrap up and we'll come back tomorrow and have another day of shooting. (gentle music)

Class Description

Steve McCurry has been one of the most important voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years. Masters of Photography is bringing Steve’s class to CreativeLive to share the learnings from his iconic career. Steve will teach how to:

  • Find a subject to photograph
  • How to shoot in all types of weather condition
  • Understand the light at different times of day
  • Improve your compositional skills
  • Blend into the environment so that you can capture impactful street images
  • Use his 8 key tips in order to capture the best portraits

Watch and learn with Steve as you accompany him through the fishing villages of Portugal and in the vibrant streets of Havana. See for yourself how he creates images, as he shares ideas and experiences, and explains how to make great photographs. Steve will also suggest some projects for you to try for yourself.

You can use any device from camera phone to’s all about the image and storytelling.


Adriana L-G

For me this is not a class, is more the photographer talking about his photos and his experience. It is a little repetitive but I enjoyed. From Masters of Photography I loved Joel Meyerowitz's class and I recommend it strongly. In case you need to choose.