In the beginning, street photo can be dizzying. There can be an inclination to photograph everything, which can lead to a large pool of images from which you’ll probably pick very few. Patterns start to emerge the more time you spend photographing wherever you are. Perhaps it’s something compositionally, or maybe you find that your best photographs are taken at a certain time of day or night because of how the light falls. Hitting your stride takes time, but as you fine tune your eye through constant practice, you realize what you’re good at.
Here are some suggestions to help you hit your stride.
Start a Weekly Photo Project
This will focus on the production of one solid image each week for the entire year. You’ll need to be part editor and part photographer, and there will be heavy emphasis on killing your darlings. That’s not to say the images you leave out aren’t great. They may be fantastic, but you need to be heavily critical in order to put your best work forward.
Start a Daily Photo Project
This is substantially more difficult than a weekly photo project because it’s predicated on having enough time to shoot substantially and edit down those images to one each day. It will get tiring. There will be days when it will seem like the images just aren’t happening, but you have to persist. By committing to shooting everyday, you’ll find that your images get better.
Shoot with One Focal Length
Using a prime lens makes photography a more physical experience. If you need a tighter shot, you have to move closer. If you need a wider shot, you have to move back. There’s a greater emphasis on composition, too, as you only have a fixed frame to work within.
Experiment with Composition
How many ways can you frame an image with one focal length? Of course, you can’t reshoot an image once the moment’s gone, but in lieu of that, you can pick one thing and shoot the hell out of it. Take an object, a scene, a person or anything else and make many different images. See what works and what doesn’t work. Learning good and bad composition will help you when you’re walking around.
Get close, get low, get high, get far–just try it!
Everything aside, just keep shooting. There’ll be an ah-ha! moment when you take a photograph or a series of photos, and you realize these are the ones you should be making. Once you’ve hit your stride, you’re on track to make a considered body of work.