Learn how to conquer fears in street photography

Learn How To Conquer Your Fears In Street Photography


Confronting your fears and capturing decisive moments while remaining unnoticed is an art that you can master. If you find street photography intimidating or scary, perhaps you should consider attending my upcoming workshop.

It is daunting to photograph complete strangers in public spaces. But fear is one of the things that make street photography so exciting.


How To Face Your Fears


The only way to deal with the fear of shooting street photography is to “just do it.” Yes, just go out there and shoot. Challenge yourself and see what happens.

After surviving an attack by a mob, I could have decided not to shoot street photography again. But I thought to myself: “I’m not doing anything wrong. Why should I allow other people to decide for me what to shoot or what not to shoot?”

I resolved to shoot street photography for as long as I’m alive.

I know what I’m doing. And why I’m doing it.

The first step in conquering your fears of street photography is to
acknowledge that you are afraid.

The second step is to find the cause or source of that fear.

What Are You Afraid Of?


Are your fears based on misconceptions? For example, how do
you define street photography? Or are you afraid that by photographing people without their permission you’re somehow breaking the law?

Is it possible that your fears are the result of your own wrong approach to street photography? There is a right way of doing street photography. If you’re not doing it the right way, then you should be afraid. Is that why you’re so scared?

On January 6, 2018 I’ll be teaching those who attend my workshop how to face the fear of shooting street photography. But I’ll first ask each participant to define street photography to the group. We must have a common view of street photography as a starting point.

Does your conscience bother you as a street photographer? Do you think street photography is unethical or exploitative? Do you view street photography as being voyeuristic?

The most common but misplaced fear of shooting street photography comes from the belief that people will react violently when being photographed. This is not true. Again, it depends on your approach.

Remember that street photography reveals more of the shooter’s
character than that of his or her subjects.


Face your own fears and conquer them

I can’t wait to discuss fear in street photography and share my knowledge with like-minded people on January 6, 2018.

If you’re interested in street photography and would like to take part in this workshop, just call me (063 342 6141) and reserve your space.

Designed for beginners, the workshop will cover topics such as:

The Definition of Street Photography, Confronting Your Fears and Developing New Eyes.

I wrote elsewhere about the need to develop new eyes as a streettog. But today I want to focus on fear as the number one reason people shy away from practising street photography. Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying this purest form of photography.

Fear is an important part of street photography. It’s necessary but don’t let it paralyse you.

Instead, channel your fear into something positive. For example, if you’re nervous and feel that people will react negatively to what you’re doing, try asking for permission.

Let’s say you see somebody who stands out from the crowd. Perhaps you like the way they look. Or the hat they’re wearing and you really want to document what you see. Brace yourself and talk to that person. Ask them if you could take a picture. It’s not a crime to ask for permission.

If people don’t want their picture taken, that’s fine. Move on and ask another person for permission to photograph them. People are different. You might be surprised how many people will say yes when you ask to photograph them.

Of course some will ask why you’re taking photos. Tell them. Be honest. If you find something especially appealing about that person, say so. Or give some other flattering reason.


Fear Cuts Both Ways


We live in challenging times. People are generally afraid.

We’re scared of being robbed. Some are afraid that they might be kidnapped. The news media bombards us with bad news every minute of the day. There are reports of terrorism, assassinations, kidnapping and rape.

It’s understandable, then that most people are tense.

As a novice street photographer, you might be thinking that you’re the only one who is nervous. That’s not the case. Your subjects are equally anxious.

Be considerate.

Don’t give people reason to doubt your motives. If you behave in a suspicious way, people will raise their eyebrows. You don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.

Blend in with the crowd on the street. Match your pace with that of people around you. Leave that humongous zoom lens at home and switch your flash off. It also helps to know something about the norms and sensitivities of people in the area where you shoot.




This Introduction To Street Photography Workshop in Middelburg, Mpumalanga is suitable for local or South African photographers. If you would like to learn street photography and don’t mind travelling to this small mining town between Johannesburg and Nelspruit, please call me to make arrangements.

If you prefer a one-to-one consultation over the phone feel free to let me know.

You can also get in touch with me on Twitter and view some of my work on Instagram.

Are you afraid of shooting street photography? Did you have any unpleasant experiences while shooting? How do you deal with your fears as a street photographer?

Please leave a comment in the comments section below. Or just share this blog post on your favourite social media platform.

Thank you in advance.

Keep shooting

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