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Street Photography: Capturing Unique Images

Lesson 6 of 6

Empathy is Key

 

Street Photography: Capturing Unique Images

Lesson 6 of 6

Empathy is Key

 

Lesson Info

Empathy is Key

Steven John Irby (street noise) I just think the street is pretty cool. I'm always suckers for like uh, I'm always a sucker for a location like this, where it's like an alleyway shot with you know something really dope in the background, with like the buildings coming up or, or anything of that nature so just wanted to see like what this looks like in frame. (shutter clicks) Not to shabby. (shutter clicks) I wish somebody would walk down there too, but I want somebody to do like something crazy, like somebody playing, like a saxophone (giggles). So I am going to wal-oh that looks pretty cool. (street noise) (shutter clicks) This dude looks pretty cool, you know he's just in there hanging out. (shutter clicks) He just seems like he's just looking at his phone, and watching the day go by and all that kind of cool stuff, but what I really like is the framing and the colors that's going on with a shot like this, one of things that I always think is really important for photography is like ...

just trying to empathize with the subjects and the people that you're working with so. It could mean, it could-it could really take shape in so many different ways, if it's somebody who is just like lost like looking at their phone, um scrolling in a really cool location like I mean I think everybody can understand like what that feels like so, I mean empathizing is probably probably not the right word for that situation in particular, but you can still kinda understand like what's going on with the situation so I just try to find these empathetic moments without the day and hopefully it's usually of something that's a little bit more of uh, that bird was really cool, usually it's hopefully it's something that's more of like a human element of something besides like scrolling through your phone (chuckles), um, but yeah we will probably find some subjects that we could take pictures of like that, you look really cool with that crack actually. (street noise) (sings lion king theme) (street noise) I just can't help it, but looking at the puppies play (giggles) just looks so peaceful. (puppy barks) (street noise) (camera clicks) (street noise) (leaves crunching) (camera clicks) (street noise) I was trying to see if he was gonna make some kind of uh, like his way towards me so in situations sometimes like I try to like kinda of I wouldn't say trick the subject but I'm also gonna play it off and shoot one way and have somebody else walk towards the frame so I can kinda set something up, but he's on a mission, so he has something else on his mind so it didn't really work out the way I wanted it to, but I'm gonna keep on playing with the puppies for a little bit. (street noise) (camera clicks) Their run is so crazy I kinda I-I'm envisioning a shot that if I can just get them in the tight area and I could crop out (camera clicks) (camera clicking) John (chuckles) it's so funny (sniffles) (street noise) (gravel crunches) (camera clicks) (bird chirps) (dogs barking) John (clicks tongue) (camera clicks) (dogs barking) (shutter clicks continuously) (shutter clicks) John (chuckles) I want a dog you have no space for dogs in New York, no space. (dog barks) (shutter clicks) (street noise) I just can-sometimes I get lost in the situation, it just like it just looked really like really fun I wish I was a dog for that sec. Oh shit! (street noise) John (chuckels) they got beef. so for situations like that I mean I guess everybody can understand what it's like to just like know your shh, just everybody's just chilling on a Friday and like you just taken it easy like on a long day of work so, yeah, everybody loves animals. Like if you don't love dogs I mean come on come on, come on. (street noise) (mumbles) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks) (street noise) I just think it looks really cool how the, the buildings just look in the distance especially when you have a walkway like this to kinda scale with the, the scale of people with the buildings it kinda gives yourself a more of a relation of you know how small we are in comparison to some of the things that are around us, um, yeah so anytime I can get a moment of somebody walking across or something like that, it just looks really cool so I can kind of scale it up. Especially when it comes to using the eighty-five um this is why I love the eighty-five so much for reasons like this. Especially for shots that you don't wanna be too close, but you still wanna have a very composed and tight shot the eighty-five especially the one point four is really important to kinda give yourself a good amount of distance, but still have it fast enough in order to you know, capture something that-at a really good speed so. (street noise) (camera clicks) As of right now the day's kind of winding down a little bit and I just noticed that there's like a bunch of people like waiting on the line for a bus or something like that, it's kinda hard to kinda tell, but I'm gonna kinda work around the area a little bit to figure out like what's going on over there and seeing if I can find any like really cool situations. Maybe I could get a couple more portraits with my eighty-five, or maybe I can just hang out across the street and snap a couple more people from a distance so. Dude. (traffic) (shutter clicks continuously) (street noise) (loud traffic) (shutter clicks) So right now it's kind of crazy to me that those people are just hanging out on the side, and on scale with everyone else is like waiting for the bus and then like the paramount sign is kind of right in the middle as like a divider so it's kind of interesting to like kind of play around with that, I've noticed them across the street also, but I couldn't really tell what they were doing so it's just basically like kind of cool to see them just really just hanging out on a Friday like everybody wants to hang out on a Friday so we kind of know what that feels like, so Let me see if I can find like more cool ways that kind of angle those that are hanging out over there. (traffic) (camera clicks) (camera clicks) (loud traffic) (car horn) (shutter clicks continuously) Just doing slow shutters of the traffic right now. So I kind of have like a-an idea in my head for like a visual story throughout the day like morning day, (scoffs), but like morning lunch, and like night kind of like your whole cycle so like those are little thumb points through the day that I like to do like all the little stuff that I photograph, so traffic's definitely one of them and finding cool ways to kind of poster traffic. (shutter clicks) (traffic) So I wanna try and get some of this action with the bus. (shutter clicks) That was tight, it's always cool to shoot try to get, taking portraits of people on the bus is always uh, (loud traffic) (traffic) (shutter clicks) (bus engine revs) (traffic) (car engine humming) Oh that was tight (mumbles) (traffic) (traffic) (shutter clicks) Oh (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks continuously) (traffic) Ugh, sometimes when you get like, I started to run and then I, (mumbles) my shutter speed was at 250th of a second, so it's close to being not sharp enough. So when I get-I get really stuck onto-I try to shoot as many photos as possible within the time so that's why I'm always kind of preferring shooting with like one of the fastest lens'-the fastest lens' is like or something like that, it looks cool with this guy. (shutter clicks contiuously) So one of the most important things about like I guess like empathy is key is like you know like there's so many different stories that you could hear, but like if you have like the moments of where like a Dad is walking with his little daughter on his shoulders, like this is kind of like what it's all about. You know, I think that like if you can find a respectful way to capture that moment, then it's the most inclusive feeling of a human being that it actually exists honestly so. And it's something so simple, you know like I-I just think that it's really cool to be able to you know show someone of that photo, even if it's not like the best photo like technically speaking, but that is like a partially like what kind of makes all these moments worth it like you know, I have a little sister so I know that if those days are far removed from me holding her all on my-on top of my shoulders, but like everybody understands what that feels like and I think that's, besides everything else, that's what I kind of do it for you know that was uh, that was cool so. Hopefully I can find at least one more I might have the right camera settings. (traffic) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicking continuously) (traffic) (shutter clicking rapidly) Not, I need to get a little bit slower. (traffic) (shutter clicks) (shutter clicks continuously) Maybe even a little bit slower. (shutter clicks continuously) (traffic) Un-zoom a shot a couple more, so sometimes when you do a motion bar you don't get all the cars and, you know drag and the same time So, I'm just trying to get that right. (shutter clicking) (traffic) So yeah, but sometimes in situations like this I uh, I just like to get um, pretty much like a good feel of, say if I'm looking for one particular shot so much that I can't find it, I try to find other things to help my situation and like keep my blood flowing. And then shooting the city and shooting the cars moving and you know all that kind of action is something that will always, you know just finding a really cool road and an awesome cityscape behind it is you know it's one of the things that always makes me feel good, so like if it's a situation where I like if can't find the shot that I'm looking for per se, it just always makes me feel good to do something like this. So we were walking around a little bit around the overpass area, we were just trying to focus in on figuring out what exactly we wanted to capture around that area, so like I started shooting a little bit by the overpass and we stumbled upon this really dope dog park, and I think that like sometimes I get lost in these little moments throughout the day of like you know these very like you know normal acts of like (chuckles) human kindness of you know, people literally just watching their dogs and feeding their dogs while they're you know, running around the park and the dogs look so free and carefree and stuff like that like, I just wanted to capture some of these things sometimes and really I think it's important to kind of break it up, mainly because there's-you're just trying to find empathetic moments throughout the day that sometimes you just wanna be relatable rather than always be so contradicting or just being controversial or whatever the case that is, and then like through all the mist of all this business and commotion and like you know people watching their dogs running around like maniacs, you know like there's a Dad walking around with his daughter on his shoulders just in the midst of all this traffic. I mean the reason why I like photos is, I used to look at family photos and I used to remember being that child on my pops shoulders or hanging out with my Mom or on the couch or like being able to catch, you know this father with his daughter, It's just one of those dope things that makes it feel real and I empathize with that 300% so, I always try to find things that I gravitate towards that I'm genuinely interested in so like seeing like you know, since I couldn't find like another Dad walking around with his daughter on his shoulders, which would have been sick, but I couldn't find that. I just gravitated towards the traffic and then a lot of the way that the traffic was moving and like just getting the cityscape of Seattle in the background, and in the midst of all that I got somebody wearing a mask on their face as if it was still like smoky outside so. You know, it's kind of one of those thing where you just put yourself in the right situation. Especially when it comes to photography so even if you don't get what you want all the time something might come to you which inspires you and you'll be able to document that as well too so. I think the biggest point to take away from this whole experience especially from this last couple of minutes was you know empathy is key and one of the ways that you can show empathy is whether, it's through documenting you know photographing you know like parent's love, or you know documenting just people on the bus and I'm just standing like what is life to be on that long bus ride after a long days of work, we all can empathize with it for that moment so, and that's what I try to center my, uh center this part around.

Class Description

The beauty of street photography is that it allows the photographer to capture humanity in its various forms. It is art that tells the story of life, humanity, and cultures. With so many of us now living in urban environments, being able to create an image that resonates and tells the story of urban life is more valuable than ever. But it can be intimidating to start when you don’t know what gear to use, how to look for the important moments or how to connect with the subject in your story. Steve Sweatpants, a well-known street photographer in New York City, will teach you the top 5 tips to help you overcome your fears so you can get out of your comfort zone and shoot the stories you see in the world.

You will learn:

  • The best gear to have with you
  • The right time and right place to be to compose the image
  • How to find the light and set up the shot
  • The importance of the small moments and how they make your images more relatable
  • Respecting your subjects and their journey
  • How to pace yourself and be patient as you wait to capture the story as it unfolds

Street photography is a unique genre of photography that requires persistence but is ultimately very rewarding. Steve will show you how to overcome your fear of photographing on the street so that you can create images that capture the people and history of any location.

Reviews

Gary Hook
 

Steve is an engaging and 'real' sincere individual. I enjoyed his tips and having them highlighted on the screen was effective. Might be nice to detail them out and offer it up as a download. Some of the best take-aways for myself was the angles and reflections in the puddles. Hadn't thought of that before and see some great potential. Did n't really talk about lighting and time of day and his thoughts on what each situation offers. Overall enjoyed the course

MikeD
 

Feel the people, feel the scene, feel the vibe of your location; now, frame the image you feel in your camera and take the shot. Also, be happy, have fun. Steve takes a bit over an hour to say this and provides a lot of video of him trying to do it. It's an interesting watch, some good advice and a few tips on how to push through when things are tough.

Megan Dzwonkowski
 

I thoroughly enjoyed this class. What I most enjoyed was the idea is street photography and photography in general was presented in a way that feels attainable. And the emphasis on the every day moments that are beautiful instead of always thinking you need to wait for "perfect". Would be interesting to see his approach to editing.