Street Photography Portfolio

Final Photographs

A man in Queen Victoria Square, Hull watching the pigeons who are eating crumbs and flying around whilst he drinks a can of beer.

When walking down the street I saw all the pigeons flying around the man and I managed to quickly walk to them and sit on a bench and wait for the perfect moment when they started flying again. 

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Highlights: +100, Contrast +45, Brightness +50, Black Point +20

A very bright and sunny day in Beverley caused my model to almost become a silhouette against the Guildhall building.

On this photograph, I do feel that the perfect alignment and framing of the building and how my model appears to be stood still may be a slight indicator to the viewer that this photo is actually staged. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Contrast +15, Black Point +40

Two men sitting on a bench enjoying the sun in Queen Victoria Square, Hull looking out onto the fountain which is just out of shot. 

I actually sat on this bench with the expectation that I may capture a photo of someone near the fountain to my left, however I then noticed the two men to my right and how the pattern of the wood looked in the sun. 

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Exposure +20, Highlights +100, Contrast +50, Black Point +50

My model after performing a song in Hull – a women and a child came over at that moment to put some coins in his bag.

Here, I was stood on the pathway after telling my model to pose as if he is getting ready for his next song – and the people appeared at this moment too, which actually blends staged and spontaneity. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Contrast +60

An unusual sight in Edinburgh – a man is stood down an archway with an owl on his arm whilst another man looks slightly uninterested. 

This photo is a good example of a truly candid and unique sight – I saw them as I was walking past and wanted to take a photo of the scene quickly. My phone was already in my hand so I could capture it before anyone moved.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +50, Brightness +50

My model walking through the tunnel onto Princes Street, Hull. It was a very sunny day but the covered tunnel provided lots of shadow.

The fact that my model is actually walking in this photograph and that he is slightly off centre was done on purpose when capturing this photograph, to hopefully add to the spontaneity, to make it not quite perfect.. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure -10, Contrast +20, Brightness +100

A man looks at his phone as he leans against a shopfront in Beverley whilst his dog watches people walking down the high street.

I spotted this sight from down the street. I didn’t want to seem invasive by taking a frontal photo, so I too leant against the shopfront next to them and managed to capture it whilst lining up their reflection in the window.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Exposure -5, Contrast +75, Brightness +45

My model had finished busking in Hull and is pretending to look at his phone before we were about to leave.

Here, I thought the pose that I asked my model to do seemed natural and candid. But I feel that I have captured the photo too close-up and should have included more of the street in the frame to make it seem more spontaneous.

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure -8, Contrast +40

A women on High Petergate in York creates large bubbles as a child chases them and a group of people look on.

This sight quickly caught my eyes from further afield and I managed to stand quite close to the scene where I took multiple photos to capture this perfect moment where the child’s head was positioned in the centre of the bubble. 

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Shadows +15, Contrast +75, Brightness +7

My model is getting ready to do some busking in Beverley. I asked him to lean against the lamppost and look at his phone. 

I didn’t plan this photo too much – we were actually walking to a busking spot when I asked my model to stand there. Hopefully the fact that this photo wasn’t quite as planned out, it makes it seem more candid. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure -3, Shadows +70, Contrast +28, Black Point +20

A magician is performing on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. He appears to swallow a large balloon as some people watch his performance.

As the magician is technically performing, and the fact that he did spot me taking his photo, one could argue that this isn’t fully spontaneous. However, it is a very unique scene and the members of the crowd are all very candid. 

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +70

My model busking – he was aware that I was taking his photograph at this point and some people ended up walking past in the foreground.

This is another photo which captures a staged and spontaneous scene, my model was performing a song at this point but I made sure to stand far enough back in the hopes that I would capture other things in the frame. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure -14, Contrast +50

A women with a pushchair walking past the fountains in Queen Victoria Square in Hull. Her child is turning to look at the fountains. 

I had already taken some photos earlier on that day on the bench that is visible in this photo – and I realised that this side of the fountain was a popular thoroughfare so I stood around until someone came into shot. 

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +25, Brightness +6, Black Point +48

My model is counting his earnings near Princes Quay, Hull as an elderly man on an electric scooter drives past. 

I wanted to capture a wider street scene to help add to more spontaneity. I also asked my model to do this pose – as it was something he would be doing anyway so hopefully would seem very natural. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure +20, Contrast +17, Brightness -30

Some people and a pigeon walking past some shops where Jameson Street and King Edward Street meet in Hull. 

For the capturing of this photo, I was actually stood in a doorway wondering where I could go next for capturing more photos and I noticed the pigeon walking, and a few moments later the people all walked past too.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +40, Black Point +59

Getting ready to start an afternoon of busking – my model is tuning his guitar whilst stood in a disused shopfront in Beverley. 

I tried to not align this photo too perfectly as I hoped this would help it seem more candid. However, I do feel like I was stood too close to my model which I feel makes it seem slightly staged. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Contrast +39, Black Point +10

A postman empties the contents of a postbox into his bag late in the afternoon in Beverley as a women walks past.

I noticed the van pulling up, and I stood around and hoped that something interesting would happen. Luckily, the woman also walked past at this moment so I was able to capture lots of movement.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +73, Brightness +62

Waiting for the bus after an afternoon of busking in Hull – my model looks at his phone next to the other people who are also waiting.

Here, I have managed to capture some other people in the frame, which as mentioned previously, I feel helps add to the spontaneity. However, as in some of the other staged photographs, I feel like I am stood too close. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Contrast +48, Brightness -20

Two men in Hull are talking to each other whilst still sat on their bikes. They are resting on some bike stands.

This sight caught my eye as the two people are almost mirroring each other. This perfect alignment was often something I was trying to avoid when shooting staged photos but here, in this candid shot it shows that symmetry can also be very spontaneous and natural.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Contrast +30, Brightness +35

On the way into Hull over a bridge – my model is walking with his guitar in its bag as he is on his way to find a good busking spot.

I aimed to capture more movement in this photograph to add to the spontaneity – I asked my model to walk as normal but to swing his water bottle slightly. I also managed to capture other people in frame and didn’t align it perfectly to make it seem natural. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Contrast +55, Brightness +12

A busker in St Helen’s Square, York surrounded by his instruments as a man walks past in the background.

This photograph was captured quite early on in the project, and served as inspiration for me when it came to my staged photographs. I was able to see how having other people in the photograph in addition to the focal point is a very spontaneous thing.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Exposure +8, Contrast +67

Some people walking along Whitefriargate in Hull as my model packs away his guitar after a few hours spent busking.

I had already taken many of my staged photos at this location, but I realised I hadn’t taken any looking towards this direction. I asked my model to pack his guitar away and at that instance more people came into view, so I managed to capture more liveness.

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure +23, Contrast +5, Black Point +20

A couple walk through the archway of St Mary’s, Lowgate Church in Hull. They are silhouetted as it was such a bright and sunny day.

I wasn’t aiming to take a photo here, as it was so bright and sunny I didn’t think anything would look good. However, after walking through this archway on my way to another location, I turned to see this sight and quickly lined my phone with the arch.

Spontaneous

Saturation -100, Exposure +15

My model is sat leaning against his guitar after busking, whilst a man on his bike goes past in the background.

I asked my model to sit on this bench and pose, at this point I was almost running out of ideas for poses – but my model posed like this. The fact that I didn’t come up with the pose idea and the man on the bike adding movement in the background hopefully helps it to appear candid. 

Staged

Saturation -100, Exposure +14, Shadows +21, Contrast +25, Brightness -22

Conclusion

To conclude, I am very pleased with my portfolio of photographs. I feel that the influence from the photographers that I researched in both my proposal and development log comes across very clearly. And as a whole, I think that the staged photographs fit in well with the spontaneous photographs so it does all look very cohesive as a collection. 

When comparing the two types of photographs, I personally found the spontaneous street photography to be more favourable in terms of the capturing of them and how they have turned out. In terms of the capturing of the spontaneous photographs, I actually found it a lot easier than expected. Initially, I was worried that I would feel very awkward taking the photos but I managed to capture them all in a way that was really subtle and that I was personally comfortable with, so I certainly think that this definitely helped the resulting photos look good. 

I planned plenty of time to capture the photographs, but I actually managed to capture them ahead of my schedule. This was probably down to luck – on the days that I did go out to capture the spontaneous street photographs, I managed to capture multiple photos. I also captured photos on days that I hadn’t planned to – meaning I had plenty of photos to choose from. (Some of these photos that didn’t make the cut can be found further down the page).

I really like how the spontaneous street photographs look too. I was actually surprised by how many interesting sights I managed to find, in a relatively small space of time. It made me realise that spontaneous photos can result in very quirky and unique moments, ones which I may have not even imagined myself, compared to the more limited scenes/props there were in my staged photographs. 

I am also pleased with my resulting staged photographs, I feel like they work well alongside the street photos, especially due to them all having the same sort of aesthetic. And I really liked how some of the staged photos blended staged and spontaneous elements – for example the ones where my model is posing but there are other people in the frame. I think this certainly adds to the liveness.

However, I do feel like aspects of the staged photos could be improved to make them appear more live, and much of this was noticed when compiling the portfolio and writing the captions. I realised that when comparing my staged and spontaneous images, I often captured the staged photos much closer, almost showing how I was unafraid of being closer to my model than I was when taking photos of strangers.

My model was very good and helpful when I was capturing the photos, even coming up with additional ideas for scenes or poses, however I did find the staged photographs were understandably, slightly more complicated and required more planning which personally, made them slightly less enjoyable to shoot. It made me realised that I personally prefer photography when it is more relaxed and I don’t have to worry as much about the images – that I almost want to stumble across an interesting scene naturally instead of trying to create one myself. 

Luckily, I didn’t encounter any problems when taking any of the photographs, and as stated previously, managed to get them all captured within my timescale. The only factor to my project which had to be altered from what I had planned was that I didn’t end up using the ‘Photoshop Express’ app to edit my photos. This was due to it being very slow and occasionally crashing when I was editing the photos. Instead, I used another method which I often use for editing and it is using the regular photo editing feature which comes pre-programmed on iPhones. This didn’t effect the desired aesthetic outcome at all, and was very straightforward to use as it had all of the basic photo editing sections that I was planning on using. I have displayed all of the editing information under each photograph above. As seen, some photos require much less than others – this is usually down to the lighting conditions. 

In terms of taking this project further, I do feel that my photographs would benefit from being exhibited, whether this be in an art gallery or photobook. I think that people would find the concept of the project very interesting and this may also give me the opportunity to show off the research part of my project, alongside the photographs. 

Overall, I think that staged photos can have the same level of liveness as spontaneous photographs. Personally, I believe that this is down to factors including the framing of the photographs (not shooting too close), whether they can incorporate additional levels of natural spontaneity (other people coming into frame) and having a model who is acting as naturally as possible.

Additional Photos

Here, I have decided to include some photographs that I took that didn’t make the cut. Please click on the photographs to read my reasonings as to why I decided not to include them in the final photography portfolio.