Street Photography

Why Using Your Smartphone to Shoot Street is a Good Idea

If you happened to read my previous articles about why street photography is dying, you would probably already know why I’d think using your phone to do some street photography is a good idea, especially if you are a new photographer.

Anyway, here are some reasons why:

  • Composition and Light Takes Priority

As greatly improved as today’s smartphone cameras are getting, they are still nowhere near the quality of a good APS-C or full-frame sensor camera. This means that they are limited in what they can do, especially when it comes to low light situations. As a result of these limitations, when shooting street with your phone you are more likely to focus on how to use available light and better compose your shots.

  • You’ll Always Have Your Camera

A lot of photographers find it hard to take their cameras with them all day, and give this same excuse for not taking enough photos. If you use your phone as your street camera, you won’t have to miss any more crucial shots no matter where you are.

  • You’ll Learn to Tell Stories

As a street photographer, it is important to tell stories through your shots. With a smartphone, you focus more on the content because there’s only so much your phone can do as far as the quality and ‘look’ of photos is concerned. You will start observing everything around you when you have your camera with you at all times, so you will see things that you would otherwise ignore.

  • Learning will Come Quicker

All of the afore-mentioned benefits will lead to much quicker learning for you in the art of street photography. You will take more photos, notice more compositions, use light more efficiently, and tell stories through your photos rather than just using fancy lenses to make photos that look pretty.

So, in conclusion, if you want to step into street photography and don’t have a camera to help you, using your smartphone camera may actually help you become a better street photographer than using a DSLR or mirrorless camera would. Â

Why Street Photography is in Jeopardy

In this digital age, it is much easier than some decades ago to take pictures. This is both a good thing and bad in my opinion. It’s good because, of course, more people have access to cameras these days, hence allowing them to pursue their photographic ambitions. On the flip side, a very negative effect of this is that many kinds of photography, including street, are becoming more about capturing every single mundane thing around you and putting it up on Instagram rather than actually caring about the story you’re telling the world.

While there are merits to going out and shooting the streets, the fact that so many people are doing it these days is not helping anyone. Let’s see how the digital age of photography is slowly ruining street photography.

It’s Too Easy!

The foremost reason why a majority of ‘street photography’ these days is not up to par is because it is way too easy for anyone to pick up a half decent camera and go into the streets without a second thought. At the time when street photography was at a high, people had to carry heavy gear outside, they had to wait full days for that one shot that would make sense to them. I’m not saying that the advent of cheaper and lighter cameras is bad, but the sheer presence of a multitude of them means that anyone can pick one up and go out without any real interest in street photography.

These kind of photos are also considered good examples of street photography by some.

 

As a result, you see so many similar photos these days that it is nearly impossible for anyone to stand out. Steaming coffee cups on rainy days, yellow taxis in a monochrome urban setting, thoughtless juxtaposition of elements; these are what constitute a major chunk of street photography these days. And it’s quite sad.

Reflections in puddles are found in every nook and cranny of the internet.

 

The Real Stuff is Lost

In the midst of all these coffee cups and sign boards, the really good street photographs, taken by people who actually care about their content and spend days in its pursuit, are lost. Any good, really good, street photographers that exist in the world remain undiscovered because there is so much saturation throughout the internet that it takes a lot of work and patience to stumble upon something promising.

And that is the main reason why I think street photography is headed towards its doom.