- Hide menu
Smart Phone Photography Shindig “Visualize it” – March 31, 2012
iPhone 4s Capture and Edit
Mind the Background – One of the most difficult part to master doing street photography, candid photography, any type of photography is to “mind the background” it is unnerving enough taking pictures of strangers at first, let alone taking the time to compose the actual image to have everything just right – when I first started doing street my images’ background were cluttered. It is normal to focus on the subject at first, it takes getting used to, as it take getting used to paying as much attention to the background and foreground as you pay attention to the main subject. Practice makes perfect “mind the background” is the best advice I ever received doing street – I’m just passing it along. When making an image, on what ever subject, architecture, street, landscape, nature photography – essentially any type of photography, one must think about not only the main subject, but the subordinate subject(s) – background and foreground elements in relation to the main subject and how all these elements interacts with one another, where will the viewer’s eye be naturally looking at in your photographic composition – think & mind the background, put a little more work into your images and they’ll improve greatly over time.
Minding the background is how I make compelling images – without the background or a different background some images image wouldn’t have the same impact by minding the background you’ll see images you never thought of making before – hence, improved photography by minding the background.
A question which comes up time and again is, “What would you do in a crowded area such as NYC? There are often too many people to avoid having “extras” in your pics, and waiting can cause you to lose the interesting person you were going for.” what would you do in a crowded place… Excellent question, same thing I do in Toronto, Paris and did in Tokyo… I avoided rush hour like the plague, I love it when I can compose an image which is not too cluttered or crowded, at time not making an image simply because all elements weren’t right… Too many people, the light isn’t good enough… Some areas of Toronto I avoid because they are too crowded at certain times of the day or the week. It is a question of picking and choosing – an interesting subject is always interesting but set against the right background it will be even more interesting – as opposed to being set against a crowded or cluttered background. My advice is to pick and choose when and where you shoot just as much as what you shoot.
You can have your cake and eat it too – Even in a crowded setting an image can be beautifully composed and executed think Robert Doisneau “Le baiser de L’Hôtel de ville” and Alfred Eisenstaedt “V-J day in Time Square” there are more memorable images set in crowded settings but these two come to mind quickly – the trick is not only to capture an interesting subject but an interesting subject portraying an interesting emotion then the busy background is truly secondary and in the case of the two images I mention actually highlight the subjects portrayal of said emotions again an example from Alfred Eisenstaedt “The Parisians” an iconic image of children facial expression as they watch a puppet show … at the moment the dragon is slain. You may want to google these images to see them for yourself – a great subject in a crowded place with a great expression or doing something which stands out against the otherwise busy background works very well too.