How a photographer shoots black and white street photography


There are as many approaches to street photography as there are streets in any major city. Some photographers use autofocus cameras and long lenses to capture candid scenes from a distance. Some shooters point their manual focus cameras at fun road signs. Others look for skylights falling between tall buildings.

My approach is to photograph couples in the NYC subway. Often I approach the couple and photograph them with their permission, but there are times when I photograph candids. Many photographers choose to shoot in black and white while others embrace the myriad of colors found in big cities.

Often the process used by the photographer to capture street images is as interesting as the final shots. In his latest video, photographer James Parsons uses a shoulder-mounted GoPro to show his thought process as he researches the best composition to capture the various elements in front of him on the streets of London. He uses a Fuji x100v. It’s a camera that doesn’t seem to be talked about much these days, but is small, quiet and great for street photography. Because he shoots in black and white mode, James looks for ways to maximize the contrast between these 2 extreme tones. Sometimes he shows why he chose to frame his image in a particular way with regard to elements that distract or draw the viewer’s attention to the subject of the photograph. Although my approach to street photography has little in common with James’s, I found exploring his thought process interesting.

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