There isn’t a lot of things you can control in street photography. However these are the things you can control:
- where to stand
- when to go out and shoot (time of day)
- the number of photos you take in a scene
- how you frame a scene (what to include, what to exclude)
- when to hit the shutter (timing)
- deciding when to take the photograph or not
- deciding which photos to keep in a final edit (which photos to keep and which to ditch)
- whether to shoot in color or black and white. Whether to shoot in digital or film
- whether to shoot with a flash or not
Besides these things, these are things you don’t have total control over:
- the clothes people wear
- what the background looks like
- what the light looks like
- if the photograph turns out “interesting” or not
- whether you get a lot of “favorites” or “likes” on social media.
- whether art critics and curators will like your work, and decide to hang your work in galleries and exhibitions
- whether you will become “famous” and go in the history books
- whether you will be “respected” by other photographers
There are a lot of other things you can’t control in photography and life– I just can’t currently think of them.
So I think one of the secrets of happiness in photography and life is to focus on what you can control, and realize what you have little to no control over.
You can control your own perceptions of the world, how much effort you put into your photography, and whether you carry a camera with you everyday or not.
What you cannot control is how other people perceive you and your work, the external recognition you receive, and also factors when you’re shooting on the streets.
So I guess the takeaway point is this: keep working hard in your photography and focus on pleasing your inner critic– rather than trying to please external critics. You can’t ultimately control how others think or act. But you can control your own actions through your dedication to photography.
Shoot, edit, publish, repeat. That is the “secret” of longevity in photography.