I had the pleasure of training seven keen photographers in the art of documentary street photography in one of my go-to inspirational locations to shoot yesterday, Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London.
Speaker’s Corner has an extensive history for politics and the right to speak in public. Today, tourists and local Londoners alike, enjoy the regular passionate speakers who venture every Sunday to share their views with those who will listen and often those who want to join the debate with their own viewpoints.
I have to applaud the commitment and enthusiasm of my fellow photographers regardless of the torrents of rain that decided to fall upon us for most of the morning session. One of the joys of street photography in the UK is the weather but it actually worked for us as it created an intense vibe with the crowds and speakers huddling in to keep dry whilst continue to debate and argues their point, and made sure we all had to get up close to the action to get the shots.
I was really impressed how they all responded to the challenge and with a little encouragement and prompting they stepped out of your comfort zone, trying the different lenses and getting into position, and pushing themselves to get those unique storytelling moments and record the characters, within a very close proximity.
I provided them with my preferred street photography lenses; wide angle prime lenses 24mm 35mm, and working alongside them got them to step into the action and position themselves up close and low down to find interesting angles that enabled them to capture great story telling images.
As ever, at Speaker’s Corner, there are some enigmatic and world-worn characters that are perfect for interesting portrait shots. The various texts and religious materials create interest in detail shots, and the crowds and the interaction between them and the speakers sets the scene.
I always shoot my street photography without flash, using natural light, because of the weather there was some amazing lighting contrasts and shadows, which could be further enhanced in editing. Also the water on the ground created some stunning reflections that added a further layer to the images we could capture.
I photographed alongside and worked with the individual photographers as they took their images over two sessions with a break for review and critique. This break was very welcome as the rain was trying to wash us away around lunchtime so we relocated to a local pub to share our images. They had taken on average 200-300 images each, not bad for a couple of hours! Sharing your images unedited can be quite scary, I know, I have been on courses too, but it is so helpful to be able to talk and compare with real images to highlight the key elements of good documentary photography.
The day had an added twist in that The Photographer Academy who I have worked with before on webinars, sent their videographer Jay along to film the training session to make a short film on the key tips for shooting documentary street photography. I have to admit walking and talking into camera is not something I am used to but Jay was a star and made it very easy and allowed me to focus on delivering the training and interacting with the seven photographers. If you are interested sign up for the newsletter to keep posted about my training film and for other brilliant webinars and photography films; www.thephotographeracademy.com
The workshop aims to provide the photographers with practical tips for improving their documentary photography as well as inspiring them to go and out commit to more of their own projects. Please check out my website under training as well as the Nikon UK website for more information on my training courses and bespoke mentoring and coaching.
From the groups first set of images I have selected and edited my favourite shots to record the workshop, alongside one of my own images that I have taken as part of my personal project at Speaker’s Corner.