Trying to stay invisible and inconspicuous is a key factor in candid street photography, my favourite genre. However, often the movement of lifting your camera to your eye to compose your shot can attract the attention of your subject and your shot isn’t a candid one anymore.
Unless you master the garrywinogrand-esque “what is this device in my hand with all these knobs, I don’t know what I’m doing” motion with your camera (see a funny example of Winogrand in action) to distract the subject of your intentions, you might have to find another way of shooting. This is where shooting from the hip comes into play.
What shooting from the hip is
Shooting from the hip simply means that you keep the camera around your waist level, point the lens towards your subject, and take your shot inconspicuously. The downsides are that you don’t know exactly where your camera is pointing at and it can look bit creepy if you take a photo of someone from the hip and they spot what you’re doing.
You can, of course, get lucky and get an amazing photo, but by shooting from the hip you’re not exactly increasing your luck of getting a masterpiece. I have a camera with a tilting screen, so I can view the screen even when it’s at a waist level. Then I can compose my shot like I’m some Vivian Maier with a Rolleiflex camera, hah…
Should the method of shooting matter?
As one of my friends said, does the method matter if you get your great shot? I don’t know to be honest, but I know I like to shoot in the more traditional way of lifting the viewfinder up to my eye and properly compose my shots. I don’t like to fix the shortcomings of a photo by cropping it in post processing.
So here are some recent hip shots of mine that I took – and I emphasise this – by viewing the tilted screen on my camera and composing the shots as I took them.
If you want to share how you tend to shoot street photography, let me and the readers know in the comments below.