Rammell Photography

Surrey Wedding Photographer

42: London Street Photography - Capturing Moments in a split second

Tips & Advice, Blogging GeneralMichael RammellComment

Since the popularity of 'reportage' or photojournalism in wedding photography went through the roof a few years back, it became apparent that to be able to capture those beautiful candid moments as they were happening, a photographer would need to be fast acting and be able to make a photograph in a split second.

That means, knowing his camera inside out, knowing what exposure to use for each situation and having the technical side of things locked in. Rather than having think about settings - a great reportage photographer will just do it instinctively. 

Well, I took the time to put my own innate abilities to the test by going to a place where there is as much happening as there would be going on at even the busiest of weddings: London.

Why did you go to London? 

I made my way into London for a couple of reasons. Mainly, because it was my birthday, and I love nothing more than photography. Just having the camera in my hand and making great photographs. So, as a gift to myself I gave myself a day of photography. Another reason was to actually go and do something creative and artistic, a personal project if you will.

As as wedding photographer I love to photograph people. Usually, when they're at their happiest on their big day, but In general I just love to be able to record the emotions and expressions. So that's what I did - I went to London to make photographs of interesting people going about their daily lives. Street Photography as it's known.

The great thing about London is that you won't  find a larger collection of odd / interesting people anywhere else!

Confidence Is Key

When shooting weddings - I'm there because I've been hired, invited and welcomed to record the day. People know who I am and they don't mind me carrying around that huge white lens (usually), but in London, It's not exactly a subtle act to walk around with a huge lens. People tend to spot that, and that can often make that candid moment you were just about to record disappear, so I spent much of the day using a smaller, standard zoom lens set to 35mm or an ultra wide angle lens (11-16mm). This allowed for a little more subtlety on my part  (and a lot less weight!)

At first I was a little petrified of holding up my camera to my face and pointing it at someone - like i said I wasn't exactly invited to London to photograph everyone. So, i initially shot from the hip. I know almost exactly what I was shooting as I'm extremely familiar with my camera and the lenses I was using. What's more I instinctively know by the light was exposure settings I should have dialled in. So, on a bright sunny day (like it was) I'd just reduce the ISO to 400, aperture to f/4 or f/8 and then ensure my shutter speed was somewhere above 1/500th of a second to get sharp photographs. 

Eventually however I gained the confidence to just put the camera up to my face and compose and execute the picture, properly.

My Birthday Present to Me

So, in effect, my birthday gift to myself was a set of photographs that I'm extremely proud of. I've never done any street photography before, I sure know what an interesting face looks like. So, I invite you to share my birthday present with me and enjoy the following series of photographs I've entitled: 'London: People'. 

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