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Photographing street performers

Photographing street performers - Venture into town and you'll soon find someone who's playing an instrument, dancing or juggling just waiting to be photographed.

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Portraits and People

Street performers appear on pavements across the country, entertaining shoppers with their singing, dancing, violin playing and every other sort of talent you can think of. But as well as providing us with entertainment they also provide a photographer with the opportunity to capture some interesting character portraits.

Street performer
Look ma, no hands!

This is all about capturing people on the street so pack your 50mm lens but leave the tripod at home. The less you take the lighter you'll be so you'll be able to move around a lot easier to find the best shot.

As they're performing in public, on the street they tend to not mind you photographing them. However, if the opportunity arrives, it is always polite to ask them if it's OK. Also, leave them a little something in their guitar case or jar as a thank you for their time and if you can, wait until the end of the performance and ask if they'd like a copy of the photograph. The performers, particularly the really good ones, tend to draw big crowds so if you know they will be performing at a certain time it's a good idea to arrive early so you don't find yourself stuck at the back.

As they're passionate about their performance you'll have plenty of interesting expressions and movements to photograph so get in close. If there's a big crowd or the street they're on is particularly cluttered hide it by cropping in close to the performer. Using a wider aperture will also prevent the background from becoming a distraction. However, if the crowd's really having a good time their dancing and clapping can work well in an image with the performer.

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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