Street photography can be a challenging genre to master, but it's also one of the most rewarding. However, many aspiring street photographers give up before they even get started. The reason why this happens is surprising, but once you have the solution, the path ahead becomes much easier.
I myself have experienced the frustration of shooting thousands of photos without anything to show for it. But a couple of years ago, I found inspiration again and decided to pick up my camera and start shooting for me. I learned the importance of quantity over quality, and just getting started with shooting everything and anything. It's essential to learn your camera, exposure, and understand the tools you use when getting started.
But eventually, you may start to feel like something is missing. You may start asking yourself why your photos look like everyone else's, why they don't stand out, and why they don't feel like you. This is where being yourself becomes a challenge. Trying not to imitate others when creating new work can be challenging, but it's essential to lean into what's you versus copying what's popular from someone else.
Shooting everything can lead to becoming a generalist, which means you're good at everything, but you don't have much to show for it. Within street photography, this is very important to remember. You can shoot everything under the umbrella of street photography, but until you narrow in, you're never going to create something deeper. It's essential to risk taking bad photos and experiment to find something that is yours.
The flip of being a generalist is choosing to be a specialist. When you specialize in something, you become more valuable, unique, and increasingly more knowledgeable in a much narrower field. If you're a photographer, people might ask, "what do you photograph?" And you can say, "I'm a street photographer." But once you get into street photography, that becomes an entire ocean of possible things that you could do. Street photography does not mean one thing. And the more you learn about it, the more you realize that there's room for everything in here.
In conclusion, if you're an aspiring street photographer, don't give up too early. Remember to shoot everything, but eventually, you need to narrow in and specialize to create something unique and meaningful. Don't be afraid to take risks and experiment, even if it means taking bad photos. And most importantly, be yourself, and don't imitate others. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful street photographer.