Ming Thein has a great post on petapixel on the ethics of photographing random strangers on the street and, as you’d expect, they are some wonderful shots throughout. It was interesting to read about some of the different techniques that can be used. I can’t remember where I first heard the line “If your photo’s not good enough, you’re not close enough”, but Ming has another way too.
There’s a slight snobbishness about shooting with a longer lens, too – it isn’t seen as being hardcore enough. In fact, these days, it seems if you’re not at f/8, hyperfocal distance and sticking your camera and flash right up to somebody’s nose, then you’re not really doing street photography.
There’s another approach, though. I think it’s much, much harder to shoot wide open with a relatively wide lens – say nothing longer than 35mm – and shoot without your subject knowing you’re there. This is what I like to call the stealth method – you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, and better yet, shoot without even bringing the camera to your eye.
I’d love to give this a proper go. It’s easier to blend in and look inconspicuous with a cameraphone than with a big lens perhaps, but the one I’ve got now isn’t up to much. I sense a post-Christmas shopping opportunity!