Many people love the appeal of the journalistic style of street photography, yet are reluctant to explore this creative avenue – primarily since it usually requires the need to photograph strangers. Combining street photography with your kids as part of the canvas is a great way to delve into street photography, and eventually, you can make the jump (if you like) to full-on street photography, or just use this style as a unique way to capture your kids.
Here are some tips to get started:
Tip 1: Any Street Will Do
While you might have noticed a lot of street photography focuses on large cities, any street will do. The key is to find interesting streets – lined with trees, cool buildings and cars, fun colors, etc. You don’t need to travel far; start on your own block and go from there.
Tip 2: Black and White?
A lot of street photography is shot in black and white, and you can certainly do the same. Don’t discount color though – if it adds to the story. If you aren’t photographing in black and white (i.e. you’re going to convert it later), ensure that you are choosing a scene with tonal contrast, so you child doesn’t just blend into the background.
Tip 3: Interesting Backgrounds
In portrait photography, we talk about simplifying the background. In street photography, it’s almost the opposite. Find interesting backgrounds: graffiti on walls, busy traffic, billboards, tree-lined parkways, etc.
Tip 4: Find Interaction
To help with expanding your own comfort levels with street photography, find somewhere your child can interact with others. This could be street performers, park visitors, other kids (with permission), etc. Get used to asking others to take their photos.
Tip 5: Any Day, Any Time
Rather than waiting for the “perfect” time of day or sunny day to start your street photography, just go with whatever arrives. Learning to work with different lighting situations (and weather) will help you become a more flexible photographer. Don’t forget umbrellas, just in case!
Tip 6: Capture the Action
For busy areas, if you have a cooperative child you can try a longer exposure. Have them hold still and start at 1/60s, then go up or down. Depending on whether it’s people or traffic you’ll have different results – but a fun blur for a really interesting image.
Tip 7: Find Juxtaposition
Find scenes where you wouldn’t normally shoot a children’s portrait (a busy street, the office district, graffiti on a wall, etc.) Combining kids and scenes where one wouldn’t normally expect to find them makes for kid’s photography that really stand out.
As with any type of photography, practice makes perfect!