Steven Brokaw Photography

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Street Photography - Staged With Models

If you are reading this blog you know my primary photography focus is editorial fashion & model photography.  However, when I'm not doing this I shoot street photography.  Most of my casual photography is in the street.

For some time I wondered if I could combine the two.  Hiring a model and photographing him / her in the street, or in a street setting.  However, if I do this it raises a question; is this still street photography or a model shoot?  Basically, can you stage a street photography shoot.  I know, I know, not deep thinking type of question, but something I find of interest.  

I decided to ask a friend and street photographer, Valerie Jardin.  For those who don't know Valerie, check her out at her commercial site.  I sent her a question and she answered it on episode # 5 on her new street photography podcast, Street Focus, which is on the This Week In Photo network.  Her answer was basically, yes and no.  Honestly, a staged shoot in the street isn't really "street photography" in it's truest form.  However, I've often done a number of street shoots where I've "staged" part of it.  As an example I set up in front of a window of a boutique and and as a fashionable lady walks in front of my camera I pressed the shutter button.  Is this "staged"?

Anyway, I decided to give it a go.  If nothing else it would be fun.  I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago when I was shooting for a contemporary fashion boutique here in Indianapolis called Lucky B.  The boutique used 2 models, and I was doing a number of lighting setups including available light.  Let's try a street photography shoot while we are at it!

Basically, all I did was ask my models to just start walking on the street or in the location we were doing the commercial shoot.  I set up low and asked the models to walk by me.  As they walked by I took the photo.  I shot images using a burst speed shutter release mode.  I was using aperture priority and zone focused.  As my models walked by I tried to get an unposed look.  I subsequently processed the images in B&W with minimal processing.  Unlike my model & editorial fashion shoots I didn't want the images to look over processed.

So there you go.  Street photography meets model photography.  Is it street photography? ... probably not in the purest form.  I think I'll try this again when I do an upcoming street photography shoot in Los Angeles.   Should be tons of fun.

Simple Lighting Setup & Grey Studio Wall

LuckyB Boutique - A Location Shoot