So what is the difference between “street portraits” and “street photography”? Well, for me I think there isnt really a difference. In-fact, I consider “street portraits” a subgenre of street photography. To me plainly put, “street portrait” is just close-up, wide profile stranger’s photograph, when you do not ask permission, “street photography“ is documenting humanity in environment around us. The best street images are usually simple, everyday. Both the environment and man are equally important in it. These two factors in combination and interaction are known as the “street photography”.

Street portraits are something close to my heart. When I started “street photography”, apparently it was unacceptable to take portraits of strangers in the streets. . I genuinely love human beings, and love being around them. I like to hear peoples life stories, and build a genuine human connection with them. About 99% of my work is shot candidly (without permission), and 1% of my work is shot with permission.

For me, a great street portrait is an image where I can look into the soul of the subject and understand him. There is a saying: “Eyes are the windows to the soul” and I greatly agree. Street portrait should be clear; it’s a photograph of a person that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. A street photograph is a photograph that is made either without the subject’s knowledge or without their explicit permission, hence they are captured unposed. I like old people who have a face telling a story. Not the average guy, people who stand out of the crowd. In big cities there are plenty of them, you just have to watch out for them. Just walk around in the places mentioned above and keep your eyes open. You will see them.

I tend to say that a good street photo has to tell a story, and a candid street portrait just shows the face of a person. When I look at the captured-perpetuated street portrait, I don’t see what this person is doing, I don’t see where this person is standing. I just see an expression or emotion. This can be interesting for a short moment, but often it’s not lasting very long. That’s why there are a lot of people, who don’t like this kind of photography. For me my interest in the person is much stronger than the missing story I can’t tell. I would not be able to only shoot portraits, as this would be too boring, but together with my other photos from the street, with tell the story, when man is a part of street uproar, it’s a great balance and keeps me getting thrilled with some adrenalin from time to time.  So don’t try to find a story in my street portraits. There is no story. It’s just an interesting character with an interesting emotion, facial expression or look. Nothing more, nothing less…

For me direct eye contact is one of the main elements of a candid street portrait. I always wait until the person looks at me before I take the shot. Sometimes I have to wait some seconds, but it is worth the time. Without the look in their eyes, portrait is meaningless to me. Next to a strong character, there must also be a strong eye contact with a look, which could kill. While I look for eye contact, I don’t look into their eyes, except through the viewfinder. I prevent eye contact before and after the shot, as I don’t want to let them know that I have taken a portrait of them. As soon as I look at someone after shooting him, he knows that he was the main subject in the photo. It may be difficult to get eye contact on the frame, but not in reality. But for me this is one of the most important rules taking candid street portraits. I sometimes look to the back, to pretend shooting something else…

There is a saying: “Eyes are the windows to the soul”. Sometimes it is better in a street portrait to have someone looking directly at you, and sometimes it is better to have them not look at you. So when you are shooting a street portrait, you can get best of both worlds: try to get an image of them looking straight into the lens, and another image of them looking away. Also another practical tip: don’t chimp when making someone’s portrait. This is something that is quite distracting to the subject, and not only that— but it is better to review your photographs when you get home. While youre photographing your subject, direct 100% of your attention onto them.



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