How Street Photography Helps Me Photograph Weddings
I have always found street photography extremely beneficial as a wedding photographer especially during the winter months before the wedding season gets underway. Once the season starts my outings onto the streets dwindle and become less frequent or stop completely. For me street photography is not about being in someones face or even stopping strangers to ask them if I can take their picture. In most of my images the people are unrecognizable. Sometimes I include people for scale, sometimes it’s to accentuate a feeling. Sometimes it’s just to balance out a composition. So how does street photography help me with wedding photography?
This one is probably the most important one for me. Any type of photography is all about light for me. Light can create mood, light can strengthen composition, without good light there is nothing. Winter in the northern hemisphere is a great time for street photography. The sun never full rises thus the light is never super harsh. Even at 1 pm the light can be beautiful. The downside to this is I live in Canada and usually on clear days it also tends to be really cold, especially in Ontario. I’m looking forward to doing some street photography here is Vancouver. It never seems to drop below freezing. Buildings can also create some great reflections, always look for interesting reflections coming of off windows or buildings.
This one is a little hard to explain for me. What exactly is composition? The term “composition” can apply to any kind of art but in photography it describes placement of objects and elements in a image. I don’t think you can overemphasize the importance of composition and it’s a key component in a good photograph. Good composition requires good balance of elements, negative space and should be just plain pleasing to the eye. This is the time I will experiment and try new compositions, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. If you want to read more in-depth about composition there is a great article here.
Have a look at the image above. It’s a frame in a frame and the main subject is off centre yet it has some symmetry. It’s hard for me to explain but this image just works for me.
Most of my street photography is black and white, especially if I’m out with a film camera. Don’t get me wrong, I love colour and if all the elements come together, great. Things I mostly look for here are complimenting colours. Have a look at this image. The blue and yellow are opposing colours and they compliment each other really well. Add the shadows of the branches which are pointing directly to the person walking through the frame. There is even some symmetry with the windows. This image has a lot of elements that make a good image for me but the two complimenting colours are the driving force in this one and really make it pop.
Anticipation and Timing
Another great thing about using street photography to become a better wedding photographer is the anticipation and timing thats required. That decisive moment when to hit the shutter button. I truly love to photograph weddings in a journalistic, reportage, documentary way. Capture the moment as they happen, with no staging. A big part of that is knowing where and when things will happen, anticipating, and position yourself in the best possible position to get the image. This is true in both street and wedding photography.
All these elements are require for a good photograph in my opinion. Really when it comes down to it the biggest way street photography helps me photograph weddings is, learning to see. Usually at the end of the wedding season I need a little break. Being out on the streets is almost a way to warm up for the up coming season and keep my eye sharp.
Here is a quick rundown of my favourite gear for street photography:
Fuji X-T10 - I loved this camera and wrote my thoughts on it on my other site. You can check it out here.
Nikon F100 - An oldie but a goodie.
Film - Kodak Tri-X and occasionally Portra 800.
My go to film developing lab used to be Downtown Camera in Toronto. I that I’m on the west coast would love some suggestions for a local Vancouver lab that does a good job at processing film. What’s your favourite lab?
Here are a few more images from my time roaming the streets…..