Saturday, August 15, 2015

Taking it to the street - Photography in Dubai

When you want to take your photography skill to the streets, it’s not going to be a very easy task to get accomplished. For any average photographers and beginners, it’s a moment that need to be faced and experienced. It’s like you are going to ride an elephant. It’s embarrassing, it’s intimidating, and it’s exhilarating until you get the feel of the street. Once you get the feel and you will be seemingly merging into the crowed and get the best street photographs of your life.

There are some basic things you need to take care while taking it to the street. These are not rules or things that you need to follow, but these can be taken as tips to make your life easier.

1. Forget your zoom lenses.

Yes keep them at home. Don’t take it to the street. You can avoid maximum embarrassment of being watched or stared by the people if you avoid big bazooka point at some one. It look real creepy if someone stand there on the street with a heavy round bazooka. Instead of getting in to the flow of the street you will stand out and get noticed by everyone. And to be honest, people don’t like a creepy looking guy with a billion mega pixel camera aiming at them. You may want to avoid face to face with a stranger in the street by using a 70 – 200, shooting candid from a distance. It would rather look creepier and do more harm than good. Go close to someone with your 70 -200 and they will feel scared as you are pointing a grande launcher on them.

Street photography is not you biology class where you will zoom into dissected part of a dead cockroach under a microscope. Street photography is like experiencing life in the street. It’s all about people and the stuffs related to their daily life in the street. You want to show the real life as a first person view. Go with the basic prime lens which is 50 mm or less. Get little more wider using 18 mm. Most of the DSLR comes with a kit lens of 18-55mm. This is one of the best for this purpose. You may only look like an stupid tourist from a poor village. Using the wide angles lenses you done have to point the camera at someone’s face. You will enough space to pan around to get the person at different angles. You will not embarrass them, and you will not get embarrassed by them.

2. Be confident, be close and smile.

You cannot buy confidence in the shop. It has to be gained by experience. So get out and shoot more.
Be close. so the wider the lens you have,  the closer you will have to get to the subject. 18 mm, 35mm, 24mm. Any of these will do a good job for you. I still recommend you to use the kit lens 18 – 55mm who can do all the jobs.

Smile like you are enjoying the present place and situation. People are very welcoming. They love when they come to know that you like their place.

3. Carry only the camera and always carry your camera.

I mean it. If you don’t want to stand out like the odd one in the crowed, don’t hang the unnecessary carry bags and tripods around your neck. You want to be looking like a hippie going on an expedition with all sticks and bundles hanging around. You don’t even need to carry a DSLR. If you have mirror less DSLR. Use that. It look very less fearful to people than a DSLR. If you have a very good Smartphone. You can use that also. No one will bother you if you are taking pictures in your smart phones. That has become a habit of people now a days.

4. Discard what others think.

One of the thing you may find difficult to face during the beginning of street photography is the self-consciousness or thought that make you about being judged by people as a creeper. You are in a street where nobody knows you. So why the hell you should be worried. They have no idea what you are upto. They don’t have any clue what you doing. You are street photographer and what you are doing is very normal thing. The moment you start pretending like this, you will notice that nobody cares about you. For an example. Go a bust street. Sit somewhere like a statue for 30 mins and see how many pass by and how many take a look at you. So if you are on streets, stay there for a while. Get acquainted by the scene. The start shooting.

5. Go straight instead of candid.

If you want to take a picture of a scene and it involves a person in it. Smile and ask permission to take a picture. 70 % of people from my experience allow me to take pictures. Don’t push them to pose for you. It may end up in a wired situation. Let them stay in the same position where they are and you do the position of your angle by yourself. You are the one who need the picture so you have to take effort. You give them the courtesy and show the image you have taken. Give them a copy If possible.

6. flash or speedlight... Big NO NO

Never ever use a flash for street photography unless your subject is ready to get pose for you. You will bring more attention to you and spoil everything.

7. No Sarcasm.

Avoid shooting homeless. I personally don’t like to take pictures of the homeless people who are down with their luck.

8. Make use of the best chance.

Don’t ever miss a chance to get a picture. Later you will regret it. So happy shooting. 

9. Caution / Warning - Last but not the least.

Don't ever try to take a picture of the Native residents of this country with out their consent. 
Do not attempt to take pictures of Ladies and kid. 
Do not take pictures of military, government buildings and Palaces. 
Do not take pictures of Government officials on duty. 
Do not take pictures of any accidents/incidents if you don't have a press licences.
Always look for no photography sign board. 

- You may end up in jail and deportation. 

Even when you want to click some one go as much as candid where anybody can barely make out who is the people in the picture. So I personally prefer silhouettes and over shaded images of people who are not facing the camera. 

In the contrary you may find people who are generous enough to pose for on condition like they will get a copy of that image. I have don't the same deals to get good collection of street photography. Expatriates in this country seems to generous enough to smile for the camera. So make advantages of it. 

10. Get a freelance license. 

Just in case.  

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