Have you ever notice how some street photographers are just so lucky. They capture those magic moments the rest of us mortals only dream about. While we have just another photo of some guy on a smartphone, they have a dreamy wonderland of shadows and light. They have all the luck and we have none.
Well that’s a lie, they aren’t lucky and getting a lucky charm won’t help you. But you can create your own lucky moments by learning how they made their own lucky moments. Today we’re looking at how to create your own luck in Street photography.
Learn to see
Great photographers have learnt to see properly. They know what they want in their photos, they know what things will make a good photo and even more importantly, they know what will ruin a photo. They are tuned into the focal length they shoot with and know roughly where they have to stand to frame a shot. All this becomes second nature so they can get to the right place quickly.
A bad background can kill a photo, A good photographer plans their background so that they won’t be distracting. They find “stages” where they can get good photos and they revisit those spots to make the most of them. This is why photographers who stick to their own neighbourhoods often find more interesting and original photos than those who are visiting.
Stay out an hour longer
It’s no coincidence that many photographers find have stories of when they were just about to go home but stayed out a bit longer and got the shot of the day/week/month in that extra hour. Elements like the changing sun light can have a factor but most likely it’s just a pure odds game. If you give yourself 3 hours to shoot instead of 2 you’ve got 50% more time to find that shot. In addition I tend to find that when I stick out that extra hour, I either revisit a great spot or go back to a good spot. I make a deliberate decision to take photos, I usually slow down and I just open up to what is around me more. Where as when I don’t stay out for longer, I’m usually in a hurry and traveling to or from somewhere. That makes me per-occupied.
This was something I learnt from Charlie Kirk, don’t settle for “okay” photos. Go back and improve the shot, be greedy and aim for an amazing, original shot rather than the safe okay shot. The trouble with this is that you end up missing loads of shots and turn okay shots into bad ones…but sometimes you’ll get amazing photos. If you don’t take many shots then you’re wasting shots, if you take lots of shots and stay out longer, eventually you’ll get something incredible.
Don’t play it safe
When you play it safe and stick with in your comfort zone, there is no room to grow. When you take risk, you have more space to grow. Furthermore, most other photographers, especially amateurs, won’t take those risks. In a world where everyone has a camera with their phone, you need to take the risks others are unwilling to take.
Take the shots no one else is taking
Similar to the last point, the greatest photographers take the photos other people don’t. This could mean the risky photos, but isn’t just that. My friend Tony recently when to a photo spot near him, a collection of pools. There are thousands of photos of them full with water, but he went when they were being cleaned and empty. He grabbed some photos no one else has taken by going when no one else went. If everyone has their cameras pointed one way, shoot the other way. Look for whatever one else is ignoring.
When in doubt “do a push up”
The best athletes are always ready to go, they do this by training nearly everyday so they are at the top of their game even when they don’t have to compete. For photographers, this means doing “pushups” everyday. A little training activity which keeps your mind and lens sharp, ready to be called on for those moments you don’t know are coming.
- focus on one aspect of photography,
- go on a photowalk with someone else,
- look at good photos
- go out and just shoot
- shoot the same spot every day for a month
- make something boring interesting
and more, if you have some ideas, leave a suggestion in the comments below.
It’s tempting to think that others are just more lucky than us but the truth is that in most cases that’s simply not the case. The lucky ones are the ones who rig the system to get lucky. They create their own luck by training, working hard, doing things that no one else will and always being ready. The good news is that you too can create your own luck. It will take time, (i’m not there) but you will grow.
How do you create your own luck?