Street photography is an art form that has grown in popularity in recent years, but have you ever noticed that many of the photos being shared today look the same? While there may be subtle differences, a lot of trends are similar. This could be because of the way street photography is being taught today.
When you go out to shoot street photography, do you find yourself taking the same shots every day, using the same angles or compositional tricks like reflections or leading lines? If so, you're not alone. Many photographers have fallen into the trap of using the same techniques they see on Instagram or TikTok without consciously thinking about it or looking for their own unique shots.
While these compositional tricks and photography hacks may be useful for beginners, they shouldn't be relied on as a crutch. As photographers, we should strive to find our own voice and shoot something different from what everyone else is doing. If we all follow the same techniques and guides, we'll end up taking the same photos forever.
So, what's the solution? Destroy our phones? No, that's not necessary. Instead, we should stop paying attention to those who are teaching us to shoot in specific ways. This doesn't mean we should stop watching photography videos altogether. There are plenty of valuable resources out there, and we can always learn new things. However, we should avoid following exact guides on camera settings or compositional guides.
Instead, we should try picking up a photo book or two and browse them in a bookshop. Flicking through the pages of a photo book, we begin to realize that it's rarely the compositions that make the photo stand out. It's the time, place, and emotion it brings out. A good composition with uninteresting content is still a bad photo. Leading lines or reflections don't make for good content.
The best photos elicit a reaction from the viewer. They can make you laugh, smile, feel sad or empathetic, or even make you look inwardly on yourself. No compositional trick can help us achieve that. The compositions that really resonate with us aren't necessarily anything special.
If you feel like you're getting the same old photos every time you go out and shoot, don't force yourself to take a photo. When you force photos, you're only looking for compositional crutches for an interchangeable subject in a random shot. Instead, take your time, be patient, and wait for the right moment to present itself. It may not happen right away, but when it does, you'll know it's worth the wait.
In conclusion, while street photography may be a popular genre, it's important to find your own voice and shoot something different. We should avoid relying on compositional tricks and hacks and strive to elicit a reaction from our viewers. By taking our time, being patient, and waiting for the right moment, we can capture unique and meaningful shots that stand out from the crowd.