Street Photography technique and psychology. Post number 1, picture number 1 — Primary and secondary subjects.

 

 

Other posts in this Street Psychology and Technique series:

 

Post 1 - Introduction and Primary and secondary subjects.

 

Post 2 - My street photography kit.

 

Post 3 - Clean backgrounds and distracted subjects.

 

Post 4 — Looking for interesting light.

 

Post 5– Neutral zones

 

 

 Introduction.

 Why? Well, why not?

Seriously though I thought it might be an interesting to show a series of shots and then explain what was going through my head when I took them. Firstly Ive realised not much out there about the nuts and bolts of how experienced street photographers conduct themselves. There are very few books, magazine articles or blogs specifically on technique and particulalry the psychology behind shooting candid street photos. There are of course plenty of images, but information on technique and psychology is pretty thin on on the ground. Secondly, since Ive been shooting street photography for a number of years now and realised that my own photography, not just my street photography, has greatly improved by my practicing a particular methodology. I have developed these ‘tools’ over a number of years and of course still practice them. I also constantly seek to tweak and improve them on a day to day basis. What I have learned has ended up becoming a pretty simple system and a way of thinking that works for me. Im happy to share that with you and I hope you too can benefit from some of the things I have taught myself. You can of course if you like also find me on Facebook for my latest work.

 

Where to use these techniques.

All of the shots you will see in this series of images are taken in India. I could have chosen some from other countries but since I have been shooting predominantly in India over the last few years, they are the most straightforward shots to illustrate these ideas .

I will say though that these techniques may not work so well in say, New York or London. I think there would be cultural issues of privacy and there can be a certain antagonism to photographers taking such images. In India and most parts of South East Asia for example people are generally much less concerned about their picture being taken and have got more pressing things to occupy them than having arguments with photographers.

No, these techniques will work in some parts of the world better than others. I have however found people in Romanian villages very easy to shoot and similarly Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and as I say, India. There are no rules, you just have to get a sense of the place and how you will be reacted to. You will almost feel it in the air as soon as you take your camera out. Some countries will be very different to others and you may find rural areas easier to shoot than urban ones. A local photographer may get away with shooting more boldly than a tourist but I have also heard contrary opinions. In India for example local photographers are often challenged because their subjects often think they are journalists and are exposing (no pun intended) those people for some reason or other – perhaps they are trading without a license for example. These same people they may just view western photographers as tourists with no particular agenda. On the other hand, sometimes it’s the local photographer seems to have a lot more latitude when he’s shooting and the tourist is the one to be suspicious of. As I say. there are no rules — you just have to sense it, almost smell it.

All this is not to say that its not possible to take perfectly good street photography in the UK or anywhere else for that matter. I think its fair to say the kind of street photography practiced in these countries will generally be a different style. I am simply saying that the techniques that I concentrate on will work best in the kinds of cultures I have indicated.

What ‘kind’ of street photography am I dealing with here?

There are many different genres of street photography. Some photographers like walking down a busy street snapping people as they come towards them, others wait at intersections and shoot the subtle interactions of strangers. There are photographers shoot very successfully from the hip or shoulder and others again who use a long lens and pick out portraits of interesting characters, blurring backgrounds into a pleasing creamy bokeh. My own photography is classically based with simple, balanced scenes usually containing primary and secondary subjects. This kind of photography would be exemplified by someone like Henri Cartier Bresson. I also like a more contemporary approach with more complicated and layered images. For me the master of this style of photography would be Alex Webb. In each instance my frames will generally be quite broad in their content, having more than one subject. Backgrounds and often foregrounds will be intrinsically important in the compositions of the kinds of images I like to take — they will very often become framing devices in my images.

My style may of course not be your style. It may not even interest or be visually pleasing to you. However, I am sure that there will be something in the way I shoot and then analyse what and how I shoot that will be helpful to many photographers. It might be something that you hadn’t thought of, or just something that prompts you to consider making one small adjustment to how shoot the next time you go out with your camera.

 

A wider application beyond street photography.

I use all of the techniques I will be discussing when I am shooting any form of candid photography, be that reportage weddings and events, social documentary or street photography. The same principles apply when I am shooting people candidly in any environment, it just becomes a question of picking which of those tecniques will be appropriate to implement. In that sense shooting a street scene in Calcutta is not that different to shooting a documentary wedding in London. Both subjects will be slightly wary of the camera but if you conduct yourself correctly you wont have any trouble getting the images you need without making anyone feel uncomfortable or putting yourself in a stressful situation.

 

Conventions used in these posts.

These posts following this one that deal with specific images will

1/Background to this image.

2/Pre visualisation

3/Technical considerations.

Histogram with exif

Shutter -

Aperture -

ISO -

4/Psychology

Tip –

5/Taking the Shot.

6/Picture analysis.

Light –

Composition –

Gesture –

7/What could I have done better?

 

1/Background to this image. 

A simple discussion of where I am, what time of day, how I found myself to be there and my thoughts about the photographic possibilities of that environment.

 

2/Pre-visualisation.

Pre-visualisation - This refers to the idea of looking around you and imagining ‘potential’ strong images. It might be a scene that doesn’t even exist yet because the characters in that scene are not even there. Using your imagination you can learn to see what that final image might look like – perhaps you have the basic structure if the scene and one or two elements but the final image is not quite there. It needs more. Some character is not quite in the right place, some other neutral space in the scene is crying out for someone to be there. Perhaps what the people in your scene are doing is not quite interesting enough yet. Thinking like this you are pre-visualising what might be.

Seeing these potential images will encourage you to stop, look and anticipate strong images. Someone once said to me every time you see a shot, go ‘click’ in your head — it was good advice although I cant do it for too long. It needs a lot of concentration but it does make you sharper and more mentally alert when you do go out shooting.

Pre-visualistion might also be how you might think a shot would look from a different angle or a different light level. You can mentally walk yourself around a potential picture, much like I can in retrospect walk myself around images I have previously taken whilst I am writing this piece. The common feature is imagination. I can imagine myself right back in that scene even though I am currently not there. I believe I can do that because when I shot it I was thinking so intensely about what was going on, it became burnt into my memory.

 

3/ Technical Considerations.

Self explanatory really but this section will be about how I chose the camera settings each image. Shooting fully manual mode (M)is how I take 100% of my pictures and I encourage you to do the same.

I shoot manual exposure because only in this mode do I feel I have complete control over the camera. All other modes which include Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Auto and even Auto ISO will I believe produce random exposures. The only instance where this is not the case is when you lock your exposure and then make tweaks to that exposure with exposure compensation – I have tried this and personally found it to be more trouble than its worth. We do not want random exposures, ie, too dark or too light because our best images will be the ones where we have chosen exactly the right exposure. Once we have locked that in we will then have exactly that same exposure until we choose to change it.

If you are afraid to shoot manual because you think you are going to be to slow, just try it for a week. You will find that you get increasingly more adept and more comfortable with it. You will find that your exposures become entirely consistent and, like driving a car or riding a bike, it will all swiftly become second nature.

I will not condemn priority modes outright though. I know some people shooting Aperture Priority who have thoroughly mastered the use of it. It requires a completely different set of skills to do this, just not the ones I shall be talking about here.

This might sound a bit ridiculous but bear with me. Psychology in this sense refers to how I am going interact with my photographic subjects on a psychological level. This is relevant in all ‘people’ photography but particularly when you are taking candid images or at least images that are not posed. (I make this distinction because sometimes your subjects are ‘camera aware’ but not necessarily posing). Psychology is also pertinent to portraits but I shall deal with that separately. For the most part I shall be talking about unposed, candid images.

 

4/Psychology

The nature of candid photography is that we are not asking permission to take those images and moreover we usually want to take those images in close proximity to our subject – often only a few feet away. These two facts present a fundamental problem. By getting close to our subjects and then taking our cameras out we enter into a relationship with that subject. That relationship involves us wanting to get something from them and them not necessarily wanting to give that thing to us! That ‘thing’ we are battling over is their their inclusion in that image. Typically we may have other unspoken demands of these complete strangers — we don’t want them to look at the camera or smile for example! It can be a bit of tough ask.

Your subject may also have a set of things that he or she wants. This might be for you to not include them in an image or for them to not face the camera. On the other hand, perhaps they actively do want to be in that image, want to hold their child up for display or want to get their best friend in the pictures too. Most commonly what they want to be wearing a big fat cheesy grin and we don’t really want any of those thing do we?

So perhaps you can see that this can all become a strange mental and emotional dance you perform with one another, often played out at subconscious, unspoken level. That is why there is a psychological element to street photography. I am going to share with you some tips to help you think about how to interact with your subjects in this strange dance and those tips should help you get the picture you really want.

 

5/Taking the shot.

Once you have established how you are dealing with your subject on a psychological level and set your camera to shoot the exposure you want the next thing you need to do is start shooting, obviously! This section will cover the actual shooting the images and how you might adjust your physical position during that process. It will also cover whether you should keep shooting beyond your initial image and how to decide if you have really got the shot you pre-visualised. Perhaps the image you have taken is ‘close but not quite’ there and so you need to work the scene a little more.

Sometimes it may be appropriate and respectful to engage with your subject after you have taken the image. I shall also talk about my personal thoughts on this.

 

6/Picture Analysis — Light composition and gesture.

Light, Composition and Gesture explained.

I personally believe that Light, Composition and Gesture are the 3 main components of an image and if your image has strength in these three areas you will have an amazing picture. If however you are only strong in one of these three I would suggest that you may have a pretty good image but the key is to try and excel in all three if you possibly can. Whatever element you are lacking in I would encourage you to think about how you might improve it, it may be as simple as taking a step to the right, a step back, or indeed just waiting a few seconds more. I shall talk about looking at these characteristics of my images and asking myself how they could be improved.

Light – this is the quality and direction of the light. How interesting is it? How pleasing is it? Did you expose for it correctly. Light is the key with good light you can take a picture of almost anything and have a pleasing image. In bad light you will struggle. This is why you will hear photographer bemoaning ‘poor light’ so often. In short, the quality and direction of your light can make or break your image.

Composition – how is your composition? Whats interesting about it, does it flow, and is it balanced? Does it draw you in if you see it as a very small image (a thumbnail or the back of your camera) and does it make you want to open up and see it large? (If it doesn’t then I would suggest your composition could be better.)

Did you use any framing devices and where did you focus? Do you have an appropriate depth of field for that image? I could almost go on forever but these are the kind of questions I will be looking at. Good composition is very learnable and it does follow a number of rules in my opinion. When I first started my photography I think I had a reasonable sense of how to compose but was generally weak and limited in the varieties of compositions I was familiar with – along the way I learned a lot more. They became like other things part of my ‘toolbox’ as a photographer. You can do the same.

Gesture – what the hell is gesture? Well, to me gesture is the ‘hook’! Many will take gesture to be a simple human non verbal action, how someone holds their hands, a particular facial expression and so on. I believe though it has a broader meaning.

For me it is this: What is it about what is happening in that image is giving it that extra punch? It could be a glance between two people, a thoughtful expression, something about someones gait or a particular way they hold themselves. Perhaps its a posture that shows what a proud person they are or perhaps something about them implies strength, frailty, kindness or anger. Gesture might also be more subtle, a perceived relationship between people or things, something in the image that makes you terribly sad or indeed joyful. Gesture is whatever hook that is contained within that image and sometimes you may only be aware of it at a subliminally . It can be in a person, an animal or an inanimate object –maybe its the way a tree bends in the wind or a dolphin leaps. Gesture is that ‘visual ‘hook’ that will give your image extra impact.

 

5/ What could I have done better?

I am deliberately not going to make this a showcase for my best work. Many of the shots I show you will be flawed and I want to explain why they are flawed.  There will be other photographs that perhaps I am more pleased  with and will perhaps not have so many things to criticise . These images I show will be a mixture of work Im happy with and other work I now see could have been shot more correctly.

It is my belief that we do learn from what we get right – it’s not just giving ourselves a pat on the back, its an acknowledgement that we did certain things correctly and therefore can repeat them in a similar situation. Much of becoming a better photographer is about being able to repeat things you done well and not leaving your next shots to chance. Great, but what about our mistakes? Of course we learn even more from our mistakes because when we are getting to grips with photography ( which can be a very long time!) we make a lot more mistakes than we we take perfect images. All too often though photographers spend precious little time looking at the images that didn’t work and working out why they didn’t work. The concentrate on all the good images and throw the poor ones straight in the trash without even looking at them.

When I started professional photography I was definitely not shooting as well as I wanted to shoot – I largely overcame this by endlessly examining my work and asking myself what was it about a lot of my images that wasn’t pleasing for me? After every job I would spend as much time making notes about how to adjust my shooting for the next assignment as I would processing the images. After making copious notes I found myself constantly tweaking, constantly moving towards shooting in a way that I wanted to shoot. My keeper rate was slowly rising — I felt I was taking control over my photography by examining my mistakes and learning not to repeat them. You can do the same.

After each image I show you shall what could I have done better? Why? Because thats what I always do! Very, very rarely do I get a shot that even if I really like it, do I think there is not room for improvement. I make a note of this, either physical or mental and try to remember that next time I am in a similar situation. You can train yourself to think like this and I believe it will improve your photography if you do.

Ok, lets get to it. Here is image number 1.

 


Picture no 1. Primary and secondary subjects.

 

Young girl on the morning of Eid, Jodhpur.

 

Muslim families often sacrifice a goat or a sheep on the eve of Eid-al-Adha to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God’s command. After the sacrifice the animals meat, usually from a goat or an ox, is distributed amongst family, friends, the butchers family and the local poor.

 

 

1/Background to this image.

It was about 7.30 AM, I was walking up a lane in Jodhpur, Rajasthan with a friend when I saw this elegant young girl standing beside a beautiful goat. She was a vision! She was brightly dressed for the Eid celebrations and the goat had been also prepared and washed for the ceremony which would occur later that day. Many families in Jodhpur had such goats outside their houses. They were beautiful animals, well cared for and I would often see children playing with them and keeping them more like a family pet than an animal destined for slaughter. I was already primed and looking for interesting shots that contained one of these fine goats and some other character. I had seen many shots that had come close but nowhere had I seen as cleanly arranged as this, with such a strong primary subject, who was of course the girl, dressed in her finery.

2/Pre-visualisation.

The first thing I noticed as I approached was that the girl was particularly beautifully dressed in a bright red outfit. She was unmissable and stood out like a beacon against drab grey of the path. The goat was naturally framed, standing in front of a large green door. The girl was also framed standing at the foot of a narrow lane. My task was to get a shot of her facing straight on to her, absolutely on the same plane her and the animal. I did not want a shot taken obliquely from one side or another. It is my view that such shots rarely work, since they have the sense that the photographer was either to nervous or unwilling to put themselves into a position where they would be square on to their subjects.

 

 

3/Technical considerations.

I checked my general exposure from that image and made sure there we no ‘blinking highlights’ on the girl and that her skin tones look clean. I might have zoomed in a little just to check this. The shot was probably a little light or dark on my camera screen (I don’t recall which) so I would have tweaked the exposure, up or down until my histogram looked nicely balanced (not clipped in the dark or light areas). The light was lowish so it was a compromise between aperture and ISO since my shutter was locked in at 160th for reasons I outline below.

I didn’t want to drive my ISO any higher than necessary and I wanted a aperture that would give me good sharpness in both subjects. I would not for example shoot this at a lower aperture eg at 2.8 and this is why. Even though both subjects are on more or less on the same plane and there is a reasonable amount of DOF (depth of field) at this focal length and camera to subject distance, I knew I would lose a certain amount of sharpness with my humble 35mm f2 lens. The shutter is possibly a little faster than than may have needed but it allowed for the possibility that the girl may start moving and so I would still have a sharp shot. I also get a little panicky sometimes about a shot that I really, really want and so it allows for a little camera shake!

 

Histogram and exif info for this image.

 

Shutter — 160th to allow for extreme subject movement and camera shake.

Aperture f4 — with a wide angle lens like a 35mm this gives very reasonable of DOF and sharpness. The girl and goat will be in very acceptable focus at this aperture. It also serves to blur the far background behind the girl.

ISO — at 1000 iso this image will be very clean shot with a high iso camera like my  Canon 5dmk3

 

4/Psychology

The problem here was going to be two things. The girl and goat were almost perfectly positioned. (If I was quibbling I would have preferred the goat to be slightly further over to the right of the frame so its head was more cleanly framed by the door lines.) My concern then was firstly that the girl would move, adversely altering the composition. My other concern was that she would notice me and either turn away, pose or leave. I knew that as soon as got near to her and turned square on to shoot my cover would be almost immediately blown and I would not have long before the act my shooting altered the present scene, which I clearly didn’t want.

As I approached the area where they was standing I pointed the camera and shot off a picture in her general direction so that I could get an idea of exposure of her and the area where she was standing. I deliberately did not look at directly at the girl and I certainly did not want to make eye contact with, this would have almost certainly lost me my opportunity to take this candid shot. Experience has taught me that even that small amount of engagement, a simple eye to eye glance, can cause your subject to turn away or move or react in some way that is not going to be helpful to your final image. I did not bring the camera to my eye but snapped off a shot from my chest and quietly turned around to view it, I was now about 8 or 9 meters away.

5/Taking the Shot.

So as moved forward I came square on to her I was now on the opposite side of the narrow lane, approximately 3 meters way. I quickly focused and recomposed the image in the viewfinder and shot a number of frames. I do not like to shoot with the camera tilted down or up if I can help it so with the girl being a little shorter than me and my wishing to get her feet in the shot, I bent my knees slightly so I wouldn’t have to tilt the camera down. My camera is always on silent shutter mode.

I kept shooting because amazingly the girl hadn’t noticed me or wasn’t concerned by my presence. I re-focused and shot of a few more frames. I re-focused because sometimes you think you have focus but you actually haven’t. It’s not uncommon to accidentally grab focus of something contrasty just behind your subject like a branch in the air and believe me, nothing is more upsetting than coming home and finding you have missed your killer shot because all the shots from that scene are out of focus – you can play it safe by focusing twice.

There is another benefit to keeping shooting and staying with the shot. ‘Working’ the scene because you never know how it might change to your advantage. I don’t mean shoot indiscriminately or motor-driving the camera, shooting 6 frames per second, but just take another shot and then another while you watch small changes in the scene. Since your camera remains focused locked and your exposure is perfect, all you are now looking for is subtle changes in the gesture and perhaps composition of your subjects. For all you know a someone may come out and start feeding the goat or an old man hunched over with a walking stick may start walking by. I have had lots of my best shots by just waiting a little longer, usually crouching, where the most fantastic things have come along and improved an already pretty good shot.

The girl didn’t seem to be uncomfortable by my presence. She looked this way and that so I shot her various movements. I took a few more shots and then moved on. In the end I preferred the original shot – I would say that 50% of the time I prefer my first shot but many of my favourite shots have come about from the unexpected change in the scene which I only managed to shoot because I waited. The beauty of shooting in India is that you never have to wait too long for something interesting to occur.

Tip –Focus on an area of contrast on the girl, the camera grabs focus most easily on lines where there is a strong difference between dark and light tones. Lines are good — her hair meeting her forehead would be an obvious place to focus because it has the double benefit of achieving that focus quickly and the girls face was very much the main area that I wanted to be perfectly focused.

Tip –Focus twice just in case you accidentally missed focus the first time.

 

6/Picture analysis — Light, composition and gesture.

Light – Early morning light, soft and directional.

Composition – Primary and secondary subjects balanced within two subframes. I nice block of colour in the green door and girl centrally framed starkly contrasted against the grey of the passageway behind her.

Gesture – Always personal, but for me its the relationship between these subjects. This goat has in some ways become her family pet, groomed and cared for, and he going to die this day. Another gesture is the girls red dress and her facial expression. For me these are visual and emotional hooks.

 

7/What could I have done better?

Unusually, I feel this shot was about as good as I could have got it and my exposure settings were about correct — I have fallen into the trap of showing a picture I really like for this initial post. Trust me, there are very few shots I ever feel this happy about, they can nearly always be better and in future posts many images I will show will be quite flawed.  Perhaps, I would have liked the goat to be in a slightly different position, i.e. a little more to the right, but since the goat was tethered it was unlikely to have moved much in either direction.

 

Other posts in this Street Psychology and Technique series:

Post 1 - Introduction and Primary and secondary subjects.

Post 2 - My street photography kit.

Post 3 - Clean backgrounds and distracted subjects.

Post 4 — looking for interesting light.

Post 5– Neutral zones

 

 

Thank-you  for reading. If you have any comments about this post Id love to hear them.

 

© Mark Carey and www.markcareyphotography.com/blog/ 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mark Carey and www.markcareyphotography.com/blog/ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43 Comments

  1. Mona Ali - Great post Mark, really engaging and detailed. Thanks for sharing your methodology and what's going on in your head when you're shooting. Look forward to more.

    • Mark - Thank-you Mona. I know you know India very well so I hope these posts will have a particular resonance for you ;)

  2. Adam Riley - A really great post Mark, filled with great tips, and amazing images of course. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Mark - Thanks Adam - It really makes it worthwhile to write knowing that someone gets something out of reading it.

  3. Neil Palmer - Great stuff Mark. Really enjoyed reading this as well as your other posts. Keep it going !

    • Mark - Thanks Neil, much appreciated.

  4. Rachel Raphael - Hi Mark I'm a friend of Mona's and so hear a lot about you & your work. Really love your images. Thanks for sharing in such detail your thoughts and process behind the shot. It's always interesting to learn how other photographers work, what they use etc... as we are all learning everyday, as we go along. I hope you do more in the future. Thank you.

    • Mark - Thankyou Rachel, glad you like them! If you want to see more please hook up with my facebook page, lots of recent stuff on there. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Carey-Photography/173450579357624?ref=hl

  5. Soniya | Soniya Zeb Photography - Thanks for this Mark! I am a wedding photographer and find street photography difficult. I find that with street I concentrate on subjects instead of scenes (rightly or wrongly) This is a eeal interesting insight into how you work...I am going to Granada next month and will be putting some of your techniques into practice!

    • Mark - Hi Sonia, Street photography can bedaunting. I often dont feel comfortable but I have learned to identify scenarios where I do and then that allows me to shoot pretty much exactly how I want. There is a tendency to cop out and take tight portraits, candid or otherwise, with a long lens. I hope these images will encourage people to look at the potential for broader images. Good luck in Granada!

  6. Tim Kendall - You don't mention anything about processing the image Mark. Did you just do basic adjustments in Lightroom or Photoshop, do you use any particular plugins. Fantastic shot by the way!

    • Mark - My processing is pretty light most of the time Tim. My feeling is that if you have to mess too much with the image then you probably havent got your light or exposure quite right. If you have nice light and you expose well for it then the picture really needs hardly anything and if you do push it too much, it can really start to upset the image..That said I use LR for all my work. Some black and whites are processed with Silver Effex.

  7. Axelle - Thanks a lot for sharing your experience Mark. I've discovered your work a few months ago and I'm growing a bigger fan each time I see more. The pictures you are sharing with us for the purpose of this article are absolutely fantastic. I can't wait to see and learn more :)

    • Mark - Thankyou Axelle. I realised the best way to examine how I worked was by going back over pictures I had taken. Its amazing all the little calculations you are doing in your head. I hope the future posts have something in them that can be of interest to you.

  8. Kabz - Hi Mark Firstly thank you for sharing your insight, vision and passion with us all. I love how you capture the geometry of Henri Cartier Bresson and the Layering of Alex Webb. The psychology of street photography is something I rarely see online so again Thank you Will look forward to more posts from you Kabz

    • Mark - Thankyou Kabz - I guess we all have our different influences. Some of Webbs work blows me away its so clever. Hes a photographer that really makes you look at how your work can be stretched I think. I highly recommend you try and track down his work on Istanbul.

  9. Krishnendu Saha - Very nicely written Mark :)

  10. Paul - absolutely more than excellent. I will be reading this again. So detailed and thought provoking. I've been to India several times, never with a camera (hard to imagine isn't it? haha) but going again mid year WITH my camera. So very helpful advice and insight here thank you!!

    • Mark - Hi Paul, Thanks for that very nice comment. India has been the easiest and most rewarding place to shoot I have ever been. Arriving in Calcutta I was like a kid in a sweet shop. You have the combination of amazing things happening and people who pretty much let you get on and shoot as you wish. Im planning about 40 of these posts so please dip back in for another look sometime ;)

  11. scott collier - come here for a big hug, you...........

  12. Phill - That made for a thoroughly engaging, informative and thought provoking read Mark. Truly useful as a learning tool too. Thanks for sharing. Your notes on gesture bring to mind Barthes' notion of punctum.

    • Mark - Thank-you Mr Phil. Its very encouraging that professional photographers are reading and engaged by this post as well. Ok, Im off to look up who Barthe was and what the hell punctum is!

  13. Shounak Roy - A fantastic cut throat analysis in both aesthetic and technical domain. Very nice Mark.

    • Mark - Shounak, what a great comment! Thanks mate!

  14. Dipanjan Mitra - Hi Mark, I had read the thread thoroughly and found it pretty interesting as I found a lot of similarities with the techniques that I use myself while am out shooting. You just might want to take a look at my website (although all the sections are not yet ready) to get a fair idea. Would love to get some feedback from you on my shots. Regards, Dipanjan.

    • Mark - Dipanjan thankyou. Its interesting you use similar techniques already. I shall definitely take a look at your work this week. I think we are facebook friends?

  15. Kristian Leven - Mate, such an amazing post. Seriously impressed by the detail you went into. Completely empathise with missing focus on a killer shot - has happened many a time. It hurts. Love the image too - colour just pops. Really look forward to the next one.

    • Mark - Cheers Kristian, I know you have 'been there' in more ways than 1. Really glad you as a pro, and a seasoned street photographer enjoyed the post. Thanks bud.

  16. Sally - I really, really enjoyed this post Mark. Especially your words on the importance of gesture. It seems my shots which nail that aspect along with light and composition are always my favorites. Can't wait for your next street shooting post. Thank you!

    • Mark - Thankyou Sally, Im glad you found it informative and Im also glad my thoughts on 'gesture' made some sense!

  17. Mike - Hey Mark, A lot of detail here, well done. Nice to see the approaches of other street photographers. Cheers, Mike

  18. Chad Lyons - I love the insight of the shot breakdown. Very detailed, as if I was walking up on the scene myself, look forward to more...

  19. BJ - Mark this is awesome! Thanks for the great insight. I love your work, keep it up!

    • Mark - Thanks BJ, I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  20. Sumit - The post was a real pleasure to read. Loved the way you gave your analysis. And its true that one finds a lot of brilliant shots but not much on the story behind them, and I mean the whole works. To read yours, presented a wonderful insight. A part of me thinks that this is also a good exercise to adopt. PS. I'm also glad the techniques you will be talking about have a relevance to situations in India, since that's where I am active currently.

    • Mark - Cheers Sumit - Im a great believer that analysing our work is a great way to improve. Please take a look at the other posts in this series.

  21. Debi Sen Gupta - I liked the tip on focussing as I often end up with the subject OOF. A good article and very helpful overall

    • Mark - Debi- Thank you. There will be a lot more to come on focusing techniques and depth of field.

  22. Damien Rogers - And sometimes I thought I was being too harsh or too technical about my photos. I loved this post. Very very interesting to read. I live in Ireland and went to Dublin for the day to shoot some Street Photography. It was a terrible day. It was as if my eyes were not switched on. But I suppose maybe we get days like this. Do you? Sometimes I feel if i don't see it or don't sense what interests me I won't take it? That silly? I do look at photographs like the way you explained and how to try and get the photograph you want. Thank you!

  23. Jeremy - Your images are breathtaking and a great read. Jeremy

    • Mark - Thanks Jermemy ;)

  24. sap - it really helped me a lot.. made my concept of photography stronger..

    • Mark - Thankyou Sap - Im really pleased you find this useful.

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