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Street photography anywhere in the world will always throw up new surprises with action filled shots, movement and city life, whether you’re in New Delhi, Rome or Philadelphia. Every shot that you take has the potential to capture the real beating heart of life on the streets and even though there is a perfect photo opportunity waiting for you around every corner, there is an art to the genre of street photography that you can also master and work on over time. If you are doing street photography in a foreign country, then an application like the Google Translate Photo application is a good app to have.
Exploring the city with your camera, finding new angles and perspectives while expressing your creativity is a fantastic way to put together an exhibition, an interesting photo essay or just to snap some new shots. Any project needs to begin with a plan and using the framework of street photography gives you a great place to start from. You can do street photography or sunset photography while doing a photo walk.
Tips and techniques for Street Photography.
- Within the genre of street photography it can be a good idea to select a theme, such as public transport, street vendors, performers or a particular area. This will allow you to more deeply explore the theme within the context of the genre and help you to really express a unique vision.
- Make the best use of unusual lighting. If you see a shard of light cutting through a scene it can be used to great effect in your photography. The city is full of sharply contrasting lighting which you can use to create stunning and evocative photography.
- Keep your eye out for strong silhouettes that can help to give your photography striking depth and bold forms that really jump out of the picture!
- Try experimenting with the shutter speed on your camera to take photos with blurs and movement. This works very well if you are taking a photo of a train passing through a station, a busy street scene or cafe for example. Try to contrast the movement with a point of stillness that will naturally draw the eye of the audience.
- Have your camera at the ready whenever you can so that you don’t miss that perfect picture that will pass in a moment. Sometimes an opportunity will present itself to you for only a few seconds and even the smallest incident can create a magnificent image; that smile on the train or an accidental composition that comes together for an instant while the sunlight catches a window just right!
- Don’t be afraid of asking people if you can take their portrait! You’ll have to approach and ask politely but you’ll find that most people are very willing to be a part of your project! Portraits of people in their place of work, on public transport or in the parks can be the basis of a wonderful theme that will help you to really embrace the inner essence of the people who make up the city.
Ideas for your Street Photography in Philadelphia.
The Crowded City Streets: Getting in amongst the hive of activity in the City Center (downtown as some call it these days), University City, South Philadelphia, Fishtown, Manayunk or Roxborough neighborhoods gives you an amazing plethora of people, store fronts, iconic buildings and parks to put together through the art of your photography. Whether you’re looking for portraits (always ask first!), action shots or architectural images, the busiest streets make some of the most interesting and diverse settings for your street photography.
The Beautiful Parks of Philadelphia: Philly is full of great parks, each with its own unique character and ‘feel’. From the classical Washington Square to the former skater haven of Love Park, from Rittenhouse Square to the sprawling Plateau, the parks are lovely spaces to explore your photographic creativity and ideas. There is also the Schuylkill River Park and the biggest of them all, the Fairmount Park.
The Rivers of Philadelphia: The Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers flow though Philadelphia. Walking along the river banks of the city gives you a special perspective on the city and with the high rises reflected in the moving water it’s full of atmospheric scenes and strong contrasts. At sunset the rivers are beautiful and as the darkness falls the city’s lights play across the surface of the rivers creating dazzling images full of movement and vivid colors. For sunrises I prefer shooting near Columbus Boulevard and during sunsets I like Schuylkill River Bank.
7 General Street Photography Themes to Stir your Creative Juices!
- Silhouettes. Use natural silhouettes to add depth and contrast to your photography.
- Narratives. Take a photo that tells a story in its own right or else find narratives in the city and represent them using a series of shots.
- Portraits. Taking portraits of people on the streets (with their permission) is always an interesting theme to pursue.
- Motion pictures. Capture motion in your pictures using slower shutter speeds.
- Feelings. Many pictures can relay deep emotions, for example a run down old building might be nostalgic, sad or give the feeling of abandonment.
- Shadows and light. Make compositions with strong contrasts of light and dark.
- Street Performers and Musicians. Artists and performers who busk on the streets can make a great project.
Philadelphia is the ideal city for street photography.
Exploring the streets of Philly will present you with an endless stream of engaging scenery and unique moments of life all waiting to be captured by that perfect photo! Amazing exhibitions, photo blogs and series can be created from the life of this diverse city, and so with a camera in hand let your inner inspirations guide you as you explore the streets of Philadelphia!