Round 2 On the Street

Street photography is one of the most exciting genres you will ever tackle as a photographer. The flurry of activity on your local high street or the joyful faces in the park on a warm day offer immense possibilities for compelling portraits of our fellow inhabitants.

At the heart of great street photography is capturing what Cartier-Bresson famously called ?the decisive moment.? So when you set out to record the hustle and bustle of your high street, try just sitting down and observing for a while. Look for people or situations that are interesting. When you?ve locked onto potential subjects, wait for that decisive moment, such as a child?s frown or a parting kiss, and then press the shutter button.

You may also prefer a more open approach. People are actually quite obliging about having their picture taken and are happy to be a part of the creative process. Be aware that in approaching people, they will begin to pose. Yet these can make for great street portraits as well.

The emphasis in this round is on your subjects and why they are interesting. There?s no wrong technique to use, but there are some tips to remember.

Take a lot of pictures

Whereas in our last round, Leading Lines, the emphasis was on careful, considered compositions and framing the shot so it works for your subject, here you have less control. It?s all well and good waiting for that decisive moment as Cartier-Bresson preached, but you can also miss a lot of good shots by waiting around too long. Sometimes you don?t know what you have until you?ve taken it. Snap freely and don?t worry about the number of bad pictures on your memory card as you can filter them out later at home.

Get as close as possible

It sounds obvious, but it?s easy in street photography to let your trepidation get the better of you. By being too far away you risk losing your subjects within the flurry of activity going on around them.

Use a wideangle lens

In AP 14 February we profiled the photographer Peter Warrington, who uses extreme wideangles in his street portraits. While a 7mm fisheye effect may not be to everyone?s taste, a focal length of 18mm or 28mm will still distort the image and bring you closer to your subject in the frame.

Use a long lens

While the wideangle lens can add depth to your images and includes a significant amount of back and foreground interest for context, a long lens is ideal for a more candid portrait. If you see someone looking pensive or angry and don?t want to disturb them, meter and focus somewhere of equivalent distance nearby. Get your camera set, then quickly take the picture. Being nondescript is key, so for these types of shots you want to take your picture and move on. Maybe you should also wear something less attention grabbing than your bright orange jumper!

The closing date for Round 2 entries is 27 March. See AP 7 March for an entry form. The 7 March issue is now off-sale, but you can still buy a copy by calling 020 3148 4138. You may also enter by emailing full details on the website or on the AP forum.

First Prize

Our first-place winner will receive a lightweight Canon EOS 450D featuring a 12.2MP CMOS sensor with 3.5fps capture capability for a continuous burst of up to 53 large JPEG images (6 in raw). Its 9-point wide-area AF will accommodate off-centre subjects, and its EOS Integrated Cleaning System keeps your images blemish-free. Other features include a 3in LCD with Live View mode and a DIGIC III processor. The EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is a compact EF-S lens with high magnification ? approx 11x. Weighing just 595g, it features a four-stop optical Image Stabilizer and coatings to protect against aberration and ghosting.

Second Prize

The second-place winner receives a Canon PIXMA MP980, with its high-resolution 4800dpi white LED CCD scanner. Along with its print, copy and scan functions, the MP980 offers photolab-quality 10x15cm borderless prints in approximately 20secs,

with PictBridge and memory card compatibility. Other features include DVD/CD printing, WiFi and ethernet connectivity. This prize also includes an extra set of ink cartridges and five 20-sheet packets of PT-101 A4 Pro Platinum Photo Paper.

Third Prize

Our third-place winner receives a 10MP Canon PowerShot E1, which offers great flexibility for framing with its 4x optical zoom and Optical Image Stabilizer technology. Features also include face detection technology, 17 shooting modes and auto redeye correction.