Street photography in Paris

Since my last post on Street Photography some of  you who have attended our Going Digital Portrait workshops have expressed some interest in this area.

I spent a week in Paris in early September and have placed a gallery on my own  Northern Light Photography site to show some of the images I captured there.

Some have you have asked about the lenses used and the best camera for the job and the short answer has to be – whatever suits you.  However, there is some wisdom in using a fairly small camera that can be easily concealed to allow for discreet shooting.  There’s nothing more likely to scare off your quarry than the appearance of a huge SLR with a 500mm lens.

The Rolls Royce of street photography is the Leica M series rangefinder and unless you are lucky to get a second hand one at a good price (as I did) you may have to sell your home, or one of your children to buy one.  An excellent alternative is one of the Canon G series (Currently at G12)

They’re small, classed as a Bridge camera, but have all the same controls as an SLR and offer excellent image quality.  You can pick up a good secondhand one for around £300.00+ at Ffordes on line.

An alternative might be one of the range of smaller cameras offered by Sony or Fuji.  They have interchangeable lenses and superb image quality.

As for lenses, it is indeed tempting to shoot from afar using a long lens, but traditionalists would have it that a shorter (35mm / 50mm) lens is ideal for the job.  Plus it makes it much more of a challenge to get in close and the perspective of a shorter lens often makes for a better image.

With regard to the Paris trip, I began (as I so often do) looking out for real street /homeless people and very quickly found that the streets are simply overflowing with the homeless.  Whatever their reasons for being there, it takes a hard heart not to be moved by their plight and whilst I have taken several shots – I gradually tailed off and moved to other subjects.

There is nothing illegal (or immoral) about Street Photography and Google is afloat with info. and articles on the subject.  have a look, get familiar with the techniques and do some research.

It does take some nerve to get in close, but there’s a real buzz in capturing what Cartier Bresson called the Decisive Moment.  He also said – “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Happy Hunting!!

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