We receive heaps of approaches to join our photographic team as a street style photographer. It’s fun and an exciting line of creative work. It also sounds like a really cool line of work. Cool? Yes. Glamorous? No. Demanding? Absolutely!
First of all it takes a lot of energy to be a street fashion photographer. You’re constantly on the lookout, scanning the crowd for the one that stands out from the rest, for all the right reasons. It could be a hot, energy-draining 39 degree day. Alternatively it could be freezing cold and pouring with rain and you’re battling to spot anyone who’s not dressed in a black or grey tracksuit.
You might have flown in for the day and have to hit the streets straight away to make sure you get your quota before you have to head back to the airport. And if it was an early morning flight and you had to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport in time, you might have already drained your batteries before you get started.
Secondly, you need to be outgoing. This is easier said than done because it’s not just a matter of approaching strangers, which can be hard enough. You need to be able to approach them in the right way. When you are photographing people of the opposite sex, finding the right balance in words and tone can be tricky when you are asking a stranger if you can take their photograph. Smile too much, and they think you’re a sleeze; not enough, and they’re sure you’re from ASIO. You have to be ready to deal with rejection, too.
While most people we approach are flattered to be asked, some of the less memorable replies have ranged from “Piss off” and “You want to take my photo: why?” to “I’m sorry I don’t have time”, and simply “no, thanks.” And there’s disappointment in that too, because they could look incredibly photogenic and photoworthy.
Thirdly, you need to be super organized. Along with coins for parking meters and trams or buses, you’re juggling your equipment This includes one or two cameras and their lenses as well as camera bags. You also need a bag for your personal belongings such as keys and wallet and often a drink. Not to mention the all important clipboard required for housing your paperwork and as something for your subjects to lean on when they write their details. So you need a pen too and business cards that can often become airborne in the confusion of juggling all these pieces around necks, waists, heads and shoulders knees and toes….
Fourthly you need to stay sharp. When you’re so focused on making your subjects look their best in your frame, you can sometimes not notice that there’s a guy in the background who’s also perhaps a little too focused on your subject as well. Or you might miss that dirty tissue that your chosen goddess is standing on – this is all taking place on the street, after all. Sometimes you need to try all manner of things to try to photograph your chosen Adonis standing on both feet, rather than inexplicably leaning to one side like a famous leaning tower. Men frequently do this when they are being photographed: can’t really figure out why that is. Its so disappointing when selecting a photo from your gallery to submit to the editor that every frame shows a guy who looks like one leg is unusually longer than the other, when it actually isn’t.
And finally, you need to be fit enough to walk around for an hour or two, dodging people and cars and be able to chase someone down the street who’s walked past while you are still collecting the details of your previous subject. If you’re not fit enough, your energy level will sap and so will the look on the faces of your chosen fashionistas. Hardly the recipe for getting the best photos : more likely you’ll be producing photos that will be overlooked for selection by the style and fashion gallery editor.
So spare a thought if you spot any of our guys out there. Being a street fashion photographer is more demanding than you’d think. They’re up for a chat as well as a photo or three. Or better still, why not make their day and go up and have a chat with them when you spot them. Make sure you’re all decked out though! 😉
If you’d like to know where and when our street style photographers are coming to a street near you, please get in touch to find out!