Street photography is booming as a genre thanks to tools like Instagram and cheaper cameras that help anyone share candid moments in daily life and also great places to learn the fundamentals like Eric Kim’s blog and Valerie’s Street Focus podcast. With that in mind this new ebook (Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond) for Valerie Jardin is a great tool to help introduce new folk to street photography as well as a good refresher of the fundamentals for old hands.
Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond has three sections entitled
- Getting Started
- Different ways to approach street photography
- Elements that make a strong street photograph
The first element is very important for a person new to street photography. It lays out the ethical and legal issues surrounding street photography, an no nonsense guide to the gear you should use and it looks at the fear of taking pictures of strangers. [It’s kind of similar to our street photography for dummies series]
The second and third elements are more universal in skill level. I found Valerie’s different approaches to be an interesting section as it made me reflect on how I usually shoot and consider experimenting with a couple of different approaches to get different photos. The third section includes classic compositional ideas such as the rule of thirds (and how you can break it), juxtapositions and more.
Throughout Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond there are example photos from Valerie’s work which show of a variety of styles, from black and white to colour, bokehlisous to tack sharp and layers to isolated subjects. These help to demonstrate ideas and also provide some great inspiration and encouragement to get out and shoot. In a couple of the sections of composition, a few sketches on top of the images might help to really reinforce the ideas and direct the viewers eyes further but perhaps these are unnecessary (and they certainly would diminish the photos quality).
Valerie’s main and constant point throughout the book is to get out and take more photos. It’s the best way to learn and grow. In this book she helps provide the starting knowledge for a newbie as well as some great inspiration for a more advanced head. It certainly left me more eager to get out and shoot (as I sat on an airplane having finished reading). If you are an experienced street photographer, don’t expect any amazing new revelations, but a reminder of the fundamentals explained clearly.
As such I would whole heartedly recommend Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond for beginner and relatively new street photographers but would suggested more experienced heads consider carefully.