Street photography doesn’t always happen spur of the moment. Sometimes when you talk to photographers about street photography I think they envision a photographer with his or her camera in a holster on their waist, like a cowboy/girl, ready to draw down on the decisive moment in an instant.
Side note: I’ve never been to Texas but I’m 87% sure that’s exactly what street photographers are like there. In the rest of the world, that’s not the case.
Whether you are staking out an interesting scene or casually walking down the street your mind has to be ready like a cat ready to pounce. Sometimes the decisive moment demands that the photographer be quick enough and perceptive enough to get in front of a moment… You must be able to anticipate some moments or lose them forever.
Sure, we all like to walk all around looking for the decisive moment to fall right into our laps but it’s unrealistic to think this will happen every time you venture out, camera in hand. In reality, one of the best things you can do is stake-out an interesting scene and wait for your subject. Basically you set the stage how you’d like by selecting the location, timing, and angle… Then you wait for the right character to come into the frame to complete the show. If you want the light to hit your subject a certain way or for your subject to be in a certain spot all you have to do is wait for the right moment.
So next time you take your camera out and are having a tough time capturing something interesting, stop acting like Wyatt Earp and start acting like a patient street photographer. When you’re walking through the city, town, or village, keep your eye out for interesting backgrounds. Pay attention to the angle of light, the direction the light hits an area can dramatically change it’s level of interest. The photograph below was taken in a rather uninteresting area but because of the angle of the light it made an interesting street shot.