We need to focus more on seeing things and less on trying to get sharp or great tones on our images.
Have you ever heard about someone saying, Look how sharp this image of Henri Cartier-Bresson is? Or saying how lovely the tones of Erwitt Elliott's images are? They don’t because there’s a lot more in their pictures than just a simple sharp image or capture with great tones.
In the present photography world, we worry too much about sharpness, tones or how many likes we would get in our next post. Getting emotion in my photography for me is more important than any of the above.
Since getting sharp images is important in the modern society here's a tip for street photography that could help you in someway.
Don’t be intimidated by the word zone focusing just because you are going to focus “manually”. Zone focusing is the best for street photography and this is the only focusing mode I personally use when it comes to street photography. 3 simple steps….
1 - Set your aperture for F8 or more
2 - Set the focal distance to around 2m.
3 - Set the shutter speed between 1/250 to 1/500 depending on light
4 - Set the ISO to auto if available. Else set it between 800-3000 again depending on light
Now all you have to make sure that you are around 2m away from your subject, everything in between 1,5m and 5m will be in focus, depending on your focal length of your lens. In my case, I keep my finger in the focus ring and change slightly if needed if I believe the subject is too close or far.
Now that you don’t have to worry about focusing you can focus more on seeing things. See what is happening around you, observe your surrounding and happenings closely. Remember the famous quote by Andre Kertesz, Seeing is not enough, you have to feel what you photograph.
Stan De Zoysa