Although I shoot professionally with Canon professional gear, all of the images in the gallery below were “shot from my hip” with a Canon SL1 and 18-55mm kit lens (mostly set at 18mm which is 25mm with a crop sensor) as I walked around New York City near Time Square and 34th Street with my wife.
I enjoy looking at street photography and had the idea several months ago to try street photography in Raleigh by shooting from the hip. However, I never got around to it, but I didn't pass up the opportunity in New York City.
Why Shoot From The Hip?
1) It's less obtrusive in a public area.
2) It's candid as it happens (not posed).
4) It's a lot of fun.
5) It's a great teacher (more below).
More About: It's A Great Teacher
Candid: Capturing the images like I did from the hip, in the moment reminded me of a key element that can be easily forgotten in day to day photography: “Don't always pose people.” It was a lot of fun to review the images and see the moment captured candidly as it happened.
Light: As a photographer, knowing the source of light and the direction of where that source is coming from makes a huge difference. I paid attention to the light which is critical to photography. Photograph in Greek is translated “Light Drawing.” So to capture an image is to draw with light. Shooting from the hip reminded me of how important it is to pay attention to the light.
Composition: I wasn't worried about the rule of 1/3's, but I was concerned about people in the images because I think people are critical for street photography. For the most part, I kept faces in the images with the exception of the guy with his back to me which I still thought worked out well. I thought it helped to have some of the images slightly angled, the subject not fully in the scene and some other non-traditional type composition techniques for effect.
I Believe The Experience Will Make Me A Better Photographer
Unless you have actually tried street photography and in my opinion something different like shooting from the hip not looking, it's hard to completely grasp how it can make you a better photographer. For me, it got me out of my usual element of planning the shot and in some many cases, posing the shot. Yes, I capture candids as corporate events, but it's not the same as shooting on the streets of New York from the hip.
I'll likely incorporate this style into my paid photography work to provide some unique images that should help my work stand out.
The Takeaways: Key Points To Remember
1) Try something different. Get out of your comfort zone.
2) If you shoot low, try shooting high and vice versa.
3) Play with light. It's a must in photography.
4) Toss the rule of 1/3's out the window on occasion.
5) Think Candid – Not Posed
6) Try posting some images in B&W not color.
7) Tilt the camera. Everything doesn't have to be level.
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