I’m doing a couple of talks at camera clubs this fall about street photography. If you go back to the beginnings of photography itself a lot of it was street photography. The new photographers took their cameras, such as they were, to the streets, to the cities, to war and into their homes.
What they shot was the world around them.
Street photography is a lot like photojournalism with the main exception that you don’t get paid for your street photography…but you could!
This famous photo was shot by one of the old masters Henri Cartier-Bresson.
In a sense, I started my photography career doing street photography. i had been getting $10 freelance assignments from community newspapers and I was looking for full time employment. A buddy of mine let me know of a job available in his city so that weekend I went and shot their summer fair. On Monday morning I showed up for my job interview with precious few published photos but pages of photos of the summer fair. I got hired on the spot 🙂
Street photography is also a lot like travel photography. When we’re travelling I am always looking for something special to shoot…like that time in Chicago when the naked bike race was going through town or when we chanced upon the Giro d’Italia as it rode through Sorrento.
Shooting street photography is good practice. It teaches you how to use your equipment. It can be challenging as situations change so rapidly.
I like shooting jazz festivals like the Beaches Jazz Festival here in Toronto. Musicians are right on the street from about 7 pm until it gets too dark to shoot without a flash (and flash is usually pretty ugly as you’re shooting directly into the face of your subjects).
I also shot the Toronto Zombie walk for a number of years. This was four hours of non-stop fun and made for hundreds of photos which I posted to free online galleries.
Here in my little town, I shot the Mayor’s Baseball Tournament one year and that was 12 hours of shooting out in the sun on a really hot day.
I only carried two cameras with extra memory cards and shot all day long.
Some of the other volunteers wore their photo backpacks and carried everything they owned. We learn by doing 🙂
Now as to getting paid!
It’s not impossible to sell a few images back to the organizers for use in their future publicity materials. Then the next year they might even hire you to shoot for the entire event.
A few business cards and an online gallery and suddenly you’re a street photographer specializing in photojournalism. Wow does it get better than that?
Rates are going to be high but selling a couple of photos at $20 to $50 each is nice and getting a day-long assignment for $150 to $300 isn’t out of the question.
BTW the best shot of the night, IMHO came way after dark: