In this video I explain exactly how I deal with the fear of doing street photography.
Building up your confidence
Before you got out to shoot, you should feel good and confident. While that’s easy to say, it is something you can control to a certain degree.
Imagine you are going out for a party and you want to project the best version of yourself, that’s basically what you are going for here too.
Before a shoot, I’d recommend you to:
- Take a nice shower.
- Find some comfy clothes to wear.
- Listen to your favorite music.
Basically, do whatever you can to get yourself in a good mood and build your confidence. If that’s dancing, watching funny Youtube videos or drinking a shot of tequila – do that.
Sometimes I like to watch short videos about street photography to get inspired and motivated before going out. And I’m also filming my own videos doing street photography on my Youtube-channel.
Right before I leave, I like to take a couple of photos at home, just to make sure everything works as it should, so I don’t leave without a battery in my camera or a full SD Card.
It is important to note that if a have a kind of shitty day, I wouldn’t go out doing street photography. That bad energy ruins it for you and everyone you meet.
The first 15 minutes of shooting
It’s important that you get out of your shell at the beginning of your shoot, so you don’t let your fear build up. So take off your headphones, and approach the first couple of people you met, even if they don’t make for a good photo. The faster you start interacting with people on your shoot, the more fun and the easier it will be for you.
Managing your expectations
You should do street photography because you like or love it. And I do that, but I can’t help to set high expectations for what photos I want to bring home, even though I try telling myself that I shouldn’t stress too much about the result.
But the truth is, most time I go out, I fall into these dips of negative thoughts and frustrations.
“I’m a shitty photographer”
“I won’t get a single photo I like today”, and so on.
I have learned to accept that just how it is, but it can be a bit tough on bad days. When you have walked around for 30 minutes knowing all of the photos you’ve shot so far, aren’t good, you will start to build up these negative thoughts or frustrations that is extremely counter-intuitive.
I got out taking photos once a week, for a couple of hours and I always walk with this mixed feeling of fun, anxiety, and frustration. That’s how it is for me.
Don’t let the fear scare you
Dealing with fear and anxiety is probably what most people struggle with, going into street photography, and I get that and I deal with that too, but in a different way.
I am more afraid of being too scared to take the photo that is in front of me, and not becoming the photographer I want to become, than of getting rejected by someone I approach in the street.
Dealing with Rejection
After taking photos for a year now, and approaching hundreds of strangers, I have learned that rejection isn’t that bad. The fear of rejection is usually a lot worse than rejection itself.
“But what if I’m really shy?”
Street photography has a reputation of being an intrusive, obnoxious, careless form of photography, where the photographer would piss off any person they meet on the street if that would give them the photograph they wanted – an aggressive, bullish Bruce Gilden type of photographer if you will.
But if you look at Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work who is arguably one of the most praised street photographers to have lived, you will immediately notice how far is stands from his subject and how he took advantage of his introverted or shy personality.
Just because you are extremely shy or introvert, doesn’t mean you can’t produce incredible photographs in the street.
See how I do street photography
Since I got into street photography, I lot of people asked me “how do you take your photos” and “don’t people get mad? So I started a Youtube-channel called Trovatten Photography, where I show exactly how I take my photos with a GoPro mounted to my camera. By the way, here is a list of my camera gear. I usually shoot with the X-T3 from Fuji. My two secondary cameras are the Ricoh GR II and the X100f.
If you want to pursue street photography and you feel it’s intermediating, just go out with your camera in hand and see what happens from there. You don’t need to be in people’s face to make great photos. Look for light, shadows, symbolism, contrast, and colors in your neighborhood. It’s all about the start and experimenting.
I’m @trovatten on Instagram and if you have any questions or doubt regarding street photography, just message me there and I will be happy to help.
Bio: Frederik Trovatten is 29-year-old Dane living in Mexico. He has been doing street photography for a year and is currently doing a ‘365 days of street photography project’ in Mexico City. I also have a course on Instagram about how to market yourself as a photographer.