Professional photographer Kevin Mullins offer his expert advice and tricks of the trade to help you shoot your best-ever street photography images
Kevin is an award-winning documentary wedding photographer based in the west of England (though a proud Welshman). Kevin was one of the first official Fujifilm X-Photographers and one of the first wedding photographers in the world to embrace the Fujifilm X-Series professionally.
Professional wedding photographer Kevin Mullins is passionate about street photography, using it to educate and train himself for the style of award-winning wedding photography he shoots.
When it comes to good street photography Kevin is always on the lookout for a few key elements. ‘When I’m out shooting on the street, I’m always looking for good light, somewhere with a good composition, while the moment is always critical,’ says Kevin. In essence, if you can combine good light, good composition and capture a candid moment in time Kevin reckons, ‘If you can get all of those into one shot, then you’ve got an award-winning picture.’
Location is also important when trying to maintain spontaneity in street shots, especially when trying to compose a shot successfully at the same time. Kevin is also a firm believer that we’re observers rather than just camera operators, so likes to spend time getting to know an area where he intends to shoot. ‘I may spend most of my time throughout the day looking for a street corner where the characters are likely to turn up at a certain time of the day, and then it’s a case of waiting,’ he says. ‘Setting up a stage for the characters and the people to walk into is important. The light, background and composition comes together that way.’
Set yourself a challenge
For those new to street photography and seeking advice, Kevin’s advice is simple – set yourself a challenge. ‘Don’t just go out with your camera and shoot all day because you’ll just come back with a load of snapshots, so instead set yourself a challenge,’ he says. This may be something as simple as the colour red for instance,
or it could be human interaction, or motion, but as Kevin says, ‘If you give yourself an objective, you’ll shoot less but get more keepers; otherwise you’ll go out all day and are unlikely to return with anything worthwhile.’
When it comes to lens choice, Kevin’s preferred lens for street photography is the Fujinon XF35mm f/1.4 R, and it’s easy to see why. ‘It’s a lightweight lens, quick to focus and with a good depth of field,’ explains Kevin, adding that the equivalent 50mm coverage in full-frame terms ‘is very relevant to the field-of-view that we see with naturally. It’s a great lens to just go out on the street with’.
As to the choice of whether to shoot with the intention of outputting in colour or black and white, Kevin feels this is a very subjective discussion; but while it depends on the location and subject, for him colour is his medium of choice for street photography. ‘My commercial wedding photography is more emotion driven, so tends to be more mono, but when it actually comes to shooting on the street, I prefer colour.’