The Fear of Street Photography

Overcome your fear of shooting street photography by Erik Kim

Overcome your fear of shooting street photography by Erik Kim

I was doing some research on street photography and I came about the website of street photographer Eric Kim. Eric is an acclaimed street photographer working out of Los Angeles who has traveled around the world taking photographs.

On his blog he has published the draft of an e-book about overcoming the fear of street photography. So what do I mean about the fear of street photography? This is about overcoming the fear of taking your camera and taking someone else’s picture without their permission. I can relate to this. Only last week when I was taking photos at Nottingham Canal, I felt nervous just getting the camera and shooting people standing at the back of their canal boats. It felt awkward, but there really is nothing wrong with it. This book is written more like a 31 day plan. The plan covers:

    • Day 1: Identify what you’re afraid of
    • Day 2: Ask for permission
    • Day 3: Avoid eye contact
    • Day 4: Shoot from the hip 
    • Day 5: Pretend like you’re shooting something else
    • Day 6: Shoot with headphones on 
    • Day 7: Smile
    • Day 8: Talk with them afterward
    • Day 9: Shoot with a small camera (or an iPhone)
    • Day 10: Shoot with a friend (or a group)
    • Day 11: Look like a tourist 
    • Day 12: Look confused after taking someone’s photo
    • Day 13: Fidget with your camera while shooting 
    • Day 14: Have staring contests with people 
    • Day 15: Get really close (with a wide-angle prime)
    • Day 16: Say something before you shoot someone
    • Day 17: Don’t ask for permission
    • Day 18: Focus on different body parts 
    • Day 19: Shoot at a busy place
    • Day 20: Shoot somewhere with few people
    • Day 21: Go somewhere that makes you feel uncomfortable
    • Day 22: Prepare to explain yourself
    • Day 23: Don’t take the photo until they look at you
    • Day 24: Get in front of people
    • Day 25: Don’t think too much 
    • Day 26: Take the first click
    • Day 27: Go wider
    • Day 28: Bring business cards with you
    • Day 29: Just walk away
    • Day 30: Shoot with a flash
    • Day 31: Tell them to call the cops

There is some great advice in this little book and it won’t take you long to read it. I worked my way through it in about 45 minutes. Eric’s site has a whole wealth of useful information on it, a good place to start is with these 2 links:

Street Photography Tips

Start Here with Eric Kim

I am certainly going to practice the techniques Eric presents here. I am quite interested in street photography, especially post processing my images in black and white as I think this is a medium that really suites those candid shots. Of course I am not ruling out Color images altogether, they certainly have their place also.

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