My Process For Street Photography

I just read the book Contact Sheet (considered the Bible of photography) where you’re taken through the contact sheets of famous photographers and get a behind the scenes look at their workflow when creating some of their iconic images.  I decided that I would share my process for one of the recent shots I took in Pittsburgh.  Simply named Pittsburgh 2015, the same as all of my images taken in Pittsburgh this year.

I have been waiting for a chance to walk around the city in a snow storm and see what sort of out of the ordinary shots I could come up with.  Unlike Landscape Photography I actually prefer the weather to be crazy like this when shooting in the streets, people act differently and unique moments tend to present themselves.

As you can see by clicking through the images, it was not one single “decisive moment” that went into this image…  It was a series, I worked the scene (as you often need to do) and ended up with the woman making the perfect arm gesture at the perfect time (as they walked through the light area).

You may also notice that the framing of the image is a little different from the rest, the image at the top of the article has been cropped as well.  After reviewing the images I decided that the archway at the top of the frame was more distracting that supportive of the main subjects so I did the unthinkable…  Crop!

As you can see in the image below, there are many times where I’ll work a scene until I get the shot I like.  The chances of you stumbling onto the decisive moment is small, most of the time you’ve got to be prepared.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 7.59.18 AM

There are times, like in the image below, that you’ll get lucky and be in the right place at the right time.


One of the dilemmas I run into is this…  If I had not been on the move I would not have come across this shot above but had I stuck around near the alley in the shot at the top of the page what other interesting subjects could I have photographed?  For now, I settle on a healthy mix of moving about as well as staking out good scenes.


What’s your process?  Have you given it much thought?  Try a couple of different approaches next time you head out with the camera.  Spend one day working each scene thoroughly before you move on and the next day try staying on the move and seeing what’s around each corner.

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