Civic Life Shooting Tips
Civic life photography is an interesting and also inspiring kind for photographers, it has a very long history and made many photography fans photographers, it shows us everyday life through the lens, of course a new angle compared to normal ways. It has another name which is more common, street photography. Subjects in civic life photography are not posed, they are just doing what they are doing, it is all about found situations and subjects but they are photographed in an artful way. Many have created art through the cameras during this civic life.
What is a subject? Civic life, it’s about people, not doubt about it. He or she is not posed, but he/she has a pose and with all the surroundings, situation, story occurring, all the factors come together into a scene which forms our ordinary life, you may come across every day but it is very powerful. When you hang out, you find it accidently and freeze it onto your film. This is it. Remember that civic life photography is not about judgement but to memorize in visual way.
Camera and others. Lots of people talk about this topic, which can be found on many websites, and there is no common solution yet. Some fans insist on lenses 70mm to 200mm as a great tool but there are others suggest no more than 50mm can be just enough. Look, this is not what really matters, what you shoot and the final image, the result, that really matters. That is more important than any argument about equipment, just free your mind and do not let the tools cover your view on art. A photographer has to come closer when he/she is holding a camera with a lens short in focus, which may puts you at risk for missing the key moment from far away and not able to be in right place soon or physical confrontation. The advantage of owning a long lens is that you could stay anonymous and unnoticed by those you are photographing, the disadvantage is that you might have to lose some power of the scene.
Before we talk about more we have to discuss privacy. Civic photography(street photography) can date back a long history in most developed countries. Generally speaking it is all right to publish street photos when they were in public places with no references of privacy. In some countries you must be agreed by the subject before you can publish your works, so it’s best to have their permission when you want to use the images. From whichever you consider, respect or legislation.
Of all the components in civic photography, I think composition matters most. Civic photography is somehow similar with news photography, the content, information covered in your photo is the most important thing in civic photography. So I say composition is the soul of it, what you shoot is much more important than any other thing – color, lighting, or sth else. It’s not just centering or natural framing or leading lines or rule of thirds. You must use everything you can get in order to draw attention to that one vital bit most important to your photo. It is not about following preset rules, it is about the tools you have and remix them into a fantastic vision of daily life most often overlooked in our daily routine. It bears noting that while some street photographers insist that the eyes meeting the camera are imperative, this is not the case.
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