How One 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 film cameras at funny street signs. Others look for shafts of lighting falling between tall buildings.

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

Often, the process that the photographer uses to capture street imagery is as interesting as the final shots. In his latest video, photographer, James Parsons utilizes a shoulder-mounted GoPro to show his thought process as he searches for the best composition to photograph the various elements in front of him on the streets of London. He uses a Fuji x100v. This is a camera that we don’t seem to hear much about these days, but one that is small, silent, and ideal for street photography. Because he is shooting in black and white mode, James looks for ways to maximize the contrast between these 2 tonal extremes. At times he shows why he has chosen to frame his image in a specific particular way with regard to distracting elements or drawing the viewer’s attention to the subject of the photograph. Although my approach to street photography has little in common with James’ I found the exploration of his thought process interesting.

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