A simple street photography assignment you can try today from STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION: shoot your subjects against a simple background.
Why simple backgrounds?
In composition the concept of “figure to ground” is about creating clear separation between your subject and the background. I think 99% of street photos fail because the background is too cluttered or messy.
Solution: find a simple background, and just be patient for your subjects to enter the frame (fishing technique).
Or another option: while you’re shooting your subject, keep shooting and trying to simplify the background while you’re shooting! You can do this by crouching down lower (put your subject’s face against the sky, the clearest background), by getting closer to fill the frame, or by changing your position (moving to the left or the right to clear up the background).
Also note when you’re shooting on the streets, the wider your lens (like 24mm, 28mm) the harder and more difficult it is to get a clear background.
Solution: When shooting with a wide angle lens, GET CLOSE! Rule of thumb: when you think you’re “close enough”; you’re not. Take a step or two closer than than you think you should.
Practical tip: Shooting photos of people and simple backgrounds can be difficult, so first practice on still lives or backgrounds. I have a good video demonstration on my Udemy “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Photography” online course to demonstrate this.
Basic idea: while you’re shooting, look at the background and edges of the frame. Focus on simplifying the edges of your frame and the background of your photo.
Simple is sophisticated
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Simple is hard. Simplify your photography is one of the most difficult challenges.
Keep it simple,
Preview spreads from STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION
Find inspiration anywhere and everywhere
If you prefer the haptic experience of paper, pick up a classic print edition of STREET NOTES.