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Where is Street Photography?

Lesson 11 from: Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers

Ashley Gilbertson

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Lesson Info

11. Where is Street Photography?

Street photography doesn't require a street. Ashley explains how any public or semi-public location is fair game for street photography. Find insight into additional spaces to shoot besides just outdoors on the streets.

Lesson Info

Where is Street Photography?

I think we should clarify what street aware street photography actually is because it's it seems that a lot of us might consider just to be on the street but it's not extreme photography is really anywhere like any semi public or public environment when I say semi public it could be you know like these sort of public spaces that they build in you know the corporations have to build into buildings when they make a space so you can sort of shooting there until somebody tells you otherwise and then you can fight a little bit maybe get a couple frames off until you get thrown out um but so street photography is really like truly public areas it could be the beach it could be uh park it could be even in games like football games um even music festivals you know it's based around the street but the street is I think sort of a code for in public it's anywhere the public is gathering so I try to explore you know what I'm doing this to try to explore other opportunities other than just like peo...

ple on sidewalks you know, people inside walk is great but you know you might get bored of that o r you know it's good to have visual range and your picture's particular few doing a profile of a city like seattle and you're trying to create you know, many documentary about what the place looks like you're definitely gonna want to go inside and outside look att places I train stations or markets whatever else he might find like this compaq's allover the place that apparently get filled with people tailgating which is why I mentioned earlier on game days just the trip to me um so so um yeah like one of the things that I learned early on when we think those taught early on was apparently the geographic photographers would be very keen on photographing first thing in the morning until about nine o'clock and then again in the afternoons from you know, for until sunset but in the middle of the day when the light was really harsh and a lot of these places they would work inside so it's good in your notes to have different locations where you can actually work on dh you know, find great lighting situations and powerful you know, picture opportunities and if you're working in some place like I don't know amnesia and it's the middle of summer and it's midday no one's gonna be outside because it's just steaming hot but you know, in the early very very early in the morning and late late in the afternoon it's busier outside that's great so take all of that into account while you're shooting, we hear union station where where hopefully we're gonna find a bunch of people sort of in transit or waiting for buses or trains it's a pretty normal place to come any city that you know working as a street photographer you're looking for areas that attract people so transportation hubs well that could be often sketchy this one seems pretty nice um they always attract a little people which makes an interesting place to try to photograph on meet strangers I think it's a street photographer it's important to say that you know, photographing any sort of public space is a really good thing some spaces and more public than others like you get thrown off a lot of areas but what I generally do is work until I'm told I can't so it's always better with security and police to ask permission or teo basically get permission as your access is getting smaller and smaller so don't ask wait until you're told that you can't work um but then of course when you actually photographing the people this is what we're going to explore here I think different situations call for different approaches there's times that were going teo work as you know, work up to people and into their space without actually asking verbally for commission but it could be looking through the eyes making eye contact it could be saying hello and then continuing to work sometimes you know, I think I have seen some of the earlier clips you actually engaged before you even start shooting so we'll see how we go here so always ready uh this was the on the other patch to just print was on the patch of the second asia in iraq which I loved it was like it was like the grown up version of be prepared um so this just means um like what I was looking at before how you're always setting your camera as you're entering and exiting different situations and that the like the book of five rings idea of the sword becomes no sword that thought becomes no thought that you're just acting you know, acting on instinct you know, photography street photography I think needs to be instinctual where you're listening you know, to your heart you're listening and you're responding to things as you go rather than you know, looking at something to analytically which is which has its place for sure I think that that sort of analytical thinking comes into place when you arrive into into a scenario and you're looking at where might work but once you've identified areas you go in there and just let it go you know, be in the moment and start working the situation and seeing what's happening um I always clean my equipment and check everything before I start working um so I think that's what this is so always before I shoot I checked both of my cameras have exactly the same dates on times so that when I'm ingesting the photographs the photographs will actually come up according to capture time and using two different cameras, the photographs will be in in sequential order as to when I shot them. S o I've got these new york time, and then this camera has a function that allows me to create local time, someone local time for seattle, which is right, and then this one is the same thing, so they're both in line and then I've always been taught going up that no matter how clean your camera's, looking to clean them every day, these were brought up in this kind of weird samurai tradition. Um, where they talk about the idea of cleaning your swords and making sure that soldier shop because a blunt sword is useless. So it's the same thing with your cameras, you have to make sure that they're always clean in orderto make sure that you're shooting shop and they're working, so that doesn't have to go through them with a toothbrush, but definitely make sure your lenses or at least clean I'm some reason my lenses are always filthy. Uh, and then the last thing I do is check the light on dh see what I need to shoot out so today's super over cost, so I'm gonna shoot it eight hundred. Um, normally, if it's sunny, I'd be it like one hundred or two hundred. And then, as it gets darker and darker, I can usually go up to sixteen or thirty two hundred. That's it eight hundred, which is good on dh. So is this one. So we're good to go.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Street Photography Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Street Photography Pitch Kit

Ratings and Reviews


I have taken more than a few of the Creative Live courses. I have, in general, found all of them to be very good and I have learned something important from them all. Not always enough of exactly what I was looking for, but something useful and important. This course was absolutely amazing. The best I have taken. I would like to download it and see it again and again. Ashley's style was authentic, humble, yet confidence inspiring. The information he gave was focused and totally useful. He shared both philosophy and thinking as well as real tools to learn - whether they be soft stuff (like how to approach someone) or hard stuff (like gear and settings and such). I cannot recommend this class highly enough. If you want to learn to do "humanistic photography" (his term which resonated with me), this is best I have ever taken!


This was a terrific and wonderful class. Ash was superb. His stories were awe inspiring, his passion was evident and his ability to teach was flawless. I would take any other class by him and actually can't wait for more of the VII agency programs eminating from Ron's class during photo week 2015. A great great addition to Creative Live's orbit.


Wow, I loved this course - I watched the whole thing, and most of it twice, during the first run. Ash is is intriguing, a good teacher, honest. I found this class to be so inspirational. I especially loved his encouragement about talking to strangers, asking to take their picture- "what's the worst thing that could happen?" And the videos watching him in action were motivating- you saw him make connections but also saw him get rejected too, but he keeps such a positive outlook. Love this class, please more photojournalism!

Student Work