Hitting the Streets… Lessons Learned in my Street Photography Class

So I’ve started my Street Photography class and I have to admit that it is quite challenging! It is putting me out of my comfort zone and stretching me both as a person and as a photographer. Which is a good thing right? No matter how awkward and painful it may seem at the time? This is the first class I’ve taken in a while where I know no one…that alone is intimidating because I don’t have a comrade to commiserate with, I don’t have a pal to buddy up with when we go out on our field trips! I feel completely alone and vulnerable. So from there we go into our first assignment – street portraiture. This involves going up to strangers and asking if I can take their photo for my class…for whatever reason this terrified me! I got 4 “No’s” in a row and felt completely gutted! The first day of class and I already felt like a failure, totally defeated! I went home and thought, well maybe this isn’t for me, I can’t do this, what was I thinking?! And then I talked to a few friends and they gave me a pep talk, a reality check and a boost in my confidence. I can do this, it isn’t that hard and honestly the worst that can happen has already happened so I have nothing else to lose. So I went out again on my own and the next 4 people said “yeah, sure” and what a relief that was!!

While a challenging assignment, I think the most challenging part was getting out of my own head! I was the biggest problem – I got in my own way. It taught me how quickly I can give in to negative head space and let in defeat! Another thing that I realized after I got the shots was how frazzled I became causing me to not check my exposure or take in the background for the shot – just they said “yes” lets get this done as quickly as possible! Note to self: Take a breath, relax your posture, check your surroundings and adjust exposure accordingly – all in a matter of 30 seconds. These are my best shots of the day:


Street.Langara.2013-4179“How You Doin’?”

Street.Langara.2013-4141“Waiting on a Woman”


The second part of our assignment was Motion and Perspective. Capturing motion and depicting that photographically could mean a slower shutter speed to blur movement, it could also mean a faster shutter speed to freeze movement. This part I would like to do over again with fresh eyes, less rushed, and more thoughtful. But again that is what this class is all about, practice-practice-practice! Learning by doing and doing it over again! So who knows I may have a whole new series of movement photos for you! I liked changing perspectives, that was a good challenge. I shot some from the hip, some I got down low and others I just got caught up in the moment. Here are my best shots for this assignment:

Street.Langara.2013-4202“Abbey Road Anyone?”

Street.Langara.2013-4127“Beauty in the Negative Spaces”

Street.Langara.2013-4140“Urban life is on a bike”

Street.Photography.2013-4193“Have a seat”

So that is my first assignment for Street Photography – I learned a lot and hopefully I will continue to learn and grow and get better! Getting stretched isn’t easy, it’s going to take a LOT of effort to not let myself get discouraged and defeated! So I just have to keep reminding myself to breathe, pause and take in the life around me and focus on what I want to say and share….easier said than done but I’m going to do my best.



7 thoughts on “Hitting the Streets… Lessons Learned in my Street Photography Class

    • Thanks so much for your kind words – it means a lot! 🙂 I’m gonna do my best to hang in there! I survived the first assignment and critique so can only improve from here, right?

  1. Hey Naphtali, I think I was in your Basic (or was it Intermediate?) photography class. I did the Street Photography class last summer too with Jim. It was amazing! Love your shots! (especially the dancer with the umbrella for some reason). I wish I lived closer to an urban centre so that I could do more of it. Keep it up, it’s so rewarding. 🙂

    • Hey Tommy! Yes we took basic together, you’re in one of my night “ghost” shots! Thanks so much for the encouragement! It means a lot! I love Jim, I took landscape last summer with him, learned a lot! I love that dancer shot too, it was my last shot of the day and was just fun! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Happy Anniversary to me & YOU! | picturethismyway

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