Many upcoming Street photographers in Nigeria I’ve met over social media and in person always have a reason for deciding to stop photographing on the streets of Lagos, 95% believe that street photography gives them chills running down their spines. Hahaha haha hahaha, I see, so you scared to bring out your camera on the streets? Afraid someone can just hijack it? Scared that someone is going to run after you when you are caught taking an image? Then you need to read this post.
When I decided to embark on street photography as a photographer, I can remember vividly that it wasn’t an easy journey getting to the streets too, from taking while in a car to, walking on the streets then to closing in on my subjects before taking the picture. To conquer my fear, I had to just get courageous, go close the subject as much as possible and I was getting better images.
Let me ask this question, “why are you afraid?” try to give an answer to this question and then you’ve solved your fear for street photography in Nigeria by 50%.
I was with Johnson some days ago, a close family friend who’s just picking up photography, he marvels at my street pictures and decided he would come to me to get educated on how to take Street images. When we set out to the street, he took his first photo from the waist level (don’t ever try that, makes you like like a secret camera) and when I corrected him, the first image he was to take, I heard him make some exclamations that meant fear, something like “yeeh” he wasn’t afraid of his camera, he is afraid of his subject, the person he av about to photograph. I took the camera from him and took 5 portraits within a minute walk and he was walking behind me examining my subject reactions. He said “they where busy walking, although some saw you but were too busy to stop and confront you. Although the lady whom you shot really close was mumbling as you went ahead” – I had shot a lady of about 20 years old very close and when she caught me I just smiled and said “thank you”.
Here is the hidden truth, Nigerians are too busy to quiz you why you are walking around with a camera and taking pictures. Some want to get to work as early as possible and can’t afford to waste time with you, while some are tired and just want to rush home for some rest.
When you take a portrait in Street photography, your subject sometimes assume you are trying to photograph the background behind him and some people try to lean forward so as not to fill your frame whereas they are the focus.
When you shoot where people are walking to and fro, people think you are photographing the person in front of them or behind at times. So they just don’t mind.
All said and done, you shouldn’t be afraid to shoot on the streets of Lagos as long as you follow the 5 golden rules of street photography in Nigeria I once gave and you are able to smile and say thank you whenever you are caught. Remember don’t run away when you are caught or lie to someone that you didn’t take their photograph because when they ask you to show them your images on their camera and they find themselves their, my brother, the Lord shall be your Shepherd. PEACE OUT.