But I Don't Live in New York City!

Chances are you're a Street Photographer or would like to become one.  You're like me and you've looked at scores of street photos on the Internet and you've figured out that all the best ones were shot in New York City.  Okay . . . if you look close enough you'll see that there are some other really great spots such  as London, Mumbai, Chicago and maybe a handful of others.  My point is; What if you live in some small burg away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities?  What is a Street Photographer to do?  

There are certainly several possible answers to this question, but for some of us it really comes down to how bad do you want it?  Are you willing and able to travel?  

For the past 25 years I have lived in a small rural community where there literally is no "downtown", until recently there was hardly a business or store, there is no hustle and bustle.  The only hustling is done from the parking lot to the door of the store and back to the car afterward and the stores are spread out enough that each one is a destination so people literally park in the store's lot and walk in and out of the store and drive to the next location.  If you were to show up with a camera and start photographing them you would be extremely suspect in there minds, and frankly the photos just wouldn't be that interesting.

Being willing to travel doesn't necessarily mean getting on a plane or taking a road trip,  There may be something that will work for you within a reasonable day trip driving distance.  Maybe you're lucky enough to have one even within a hour or two drive.  What are some of the things you might look for that would be promising for Street Photography?  

  • A thriving and busy city section where people might park and then walk to several stores in the area.
  • Someplace that attracts tourists and/or activities
  • A place that is known to be popular with locals or visitors
  • Someplace that has good public transportation with mass transit stations
What we're looking for is somewhere with traffic, and I'm talking foot traffic not vehicular.  And even then, if you're not in one of the "major metropolitan" cities remember a guy, and maybe even a gal, walking around with a camera will be suspect.  This is less true if you're in a popular tourist attraction as there are always lots of people taking photos, but when you are out on the street in a city or park it is natural for people to wonder what you are doing with that camera, especially if they see it focused on them.  

So, you're not living in one of those towns that seem almost designed for the street photographer, so what?  I once heard the term "Bloom where you are planted".  You get to decide if it is going to beat you or inspire you.  

Spend some time and learn some techniques that allow you to get the photo without people noticing or caring.  Be creative, be willing to learn and to try new things and even go new places.  It's all about the results not how you get those results.  Don't be afraid to get caught some times.  Some of my favorite shots are of the people giving me "the look" when they see me taking their photo.  A nod and a smile, even a contrite smile, can go a long way sometimes.  Nobody has ever punched me yet.

Your comments and questions are always read and appreciated. Let me hear from you.

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