Documentary Photographer

What Can Street Photography Do To Help?

Street Photography Skills Are Transferable

It's the hardest genre of photography to pick up!

Firstly, the genre of Street Photography is the single most difficult genre of photography to do, be good at and to practice because you're simply pointing your camera at strangers in the street.  In today's society, people are becoming more and more aware of their image appearing on the internet and usually, object to having their picture made by a stranger on the street.

Paul Hands (2013).

In this picture above, I noticed the man approaching this painting and realised that he looked incredibly similar.  The moment happened in slow motion and I couldn't believe what was happening at the time.  I was completely tuned in to the environment when I came across this scene in Artists Square in the Montmartre district of Paris.  I had to make sure the exposure was right, using manual controls on my camera, get the focus in the right place, frame the shot and make the picture, all without being creepy, obvious and with respect.

Paul Hands (2018)

I noticed this dog in the window, while scouting the centre of Birmingham, looking for street photographs and because there was a reflection in the window below, I had to position myself so that I wasn't in the picture as a reflection but wait until the right person passed the scene to get them in the picture.  This was a necessity for the image because the general consensus for a street photograph to be classed as that, there needs to be a human element in the frame.

Paul Hands (2018)

Most of the time a street photograph works best in black and white.  There's an old saying that when you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes but when you photograph them in black and white, you photograph their souls.   For a picture to work in colour, the colour in the picture has to matter.  The colours in this picture (above) matter because they're quite striking and demand attention.  In black and white, this picture would just be a very average one, even now, it's still an average picture by comparison to others work.

Paul Hands (2018)

Where I've said that Street Photography skills are transferable, I'll explain.  You see, to make a street photograph, you have to really tune into your environment, slow life down and watch humanity passing your eyes.  You're effectively people watching but looking at the world and these people with an artistic eye.  You look for meaning and a way of making sense of life.  You have to be very quick with your camera too and learn to move unseen around the city.  Using the skills of a street photographer, you can learn to apply them to a commercial setting.  For example, I do a lot of documentary photography for my clients, telling real stories with my camera for promotional and positive reasons.  I often get commissions that require my street photography skills because it tells a certain amount of truth as opposed to designing a photograph and this is a valuable commodity for certain organisations.

Paul hands (2018)

The above picture is purposefully blurred because it was made in Amsterdam and it was towards the end of the evening, with this demonstrating how I felt at the time.  There's a human element and it's not close up but I've photographed the environment and placed a person for the human element within the frame.  

Paul Hands (2018)

This picture is also blurry and was made in the red light area of Amsterdam.  The blur is from an intentional camera movement designed to create a hectic vibe in the picture.  Its design is to create tension in the frame, to make the viewer feel the chaos of the night in that place.  

Paul Hands (2018)

I made the above picture in my hometown of Hinckley Leicestershire at the end of the LOROS Colour Fun Run.  The light was low and casting long strong shadows.  The floor was covered in paint powder from the race and it made an interesting picture.  I stumbled across a child rolling around on the floor in the paint and loved the frame with the bollards, almost creating an invisible box.  

Paul Hands (2018)

The above picture was from the same fun run as the photograph before and catches a very unique moment in time where these three girls are holding hands passing through the place where they're doused in pain powder.  The paint itself is flying through the air and offers strong evidence of time stopping.  There's also an element of the environment in the top left corner for reference, it also provides context as opposed to the paint blocking out any visual reference as to where it is.  These are strong skills that can be applied to photographs for a commercial setting, especially within the events genre.

So in essence, Street Photography skills are the hardest to acquire and learn.  I remember the first time I pointed my camera at a stranger in the street.  I was so worried that they'd be offended and it wasn't until I learned how to do this properly without them realising and even noticing me that my pictures started to work.  It's all about getting close to the subjects and telling the real story or even making up your own.  To make a picture instead of taking one is the difference.  Anyone can take one but making one is the difficulty and why only some pictures work and others don't.

I don't shoot weddings anymore, I used to but fell out of love with it through some awkward clients being painfully interfering with the process.  My point here is that if you shoot weddings, Street Photography can really help your style, it's how you need to shoot a wedding really.  Once you've done all of the portraits and the time comes to make natural looking pictures of the guests and wedding party enjoying themselves, these skills come in very handily.

I've always found that by learning to shoot street, it's sped up my decision-making process and the way in which I think visually, happens so quickly now.  I can only put this down to the skills being transferable.

Try it for yourselves.

Paul Hands (2018)

PR Photographer, Midlands

Public Relations Photography Midlands Service

All good leading brands need to self promote

How my PR photography service can help your brand?

I'll answer that question easily enough, I'm great with candid photography.  I'm a street photographer at heart and this genre of photography is a very fast paced pictorial style that can't be done well by just anybody.  The snapshot is often and incorrectly disregarded because of the quick nature in which they have to be created.  It actually takes great craft, skill and observational techniques that can only be grown by a practicing and experienced photographer.

Sajid Javid (Home Secretary) & Phillip Hammond (Chancellor of the Exchequer) at Morris Homes, Leicester.

The story is always the important part of the picture and in the image above, Sajid Javid who was at the time of this photoshoot, was the Secretary of State and Phillip Hammond who is still the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  They both visited Morris Homes in Leicester as part of a PR stunt aimed at boosting the new Homes England campaign by the government.  In this picture Hammond and Javid spoke with house building apprentices in one of the show homes.  They were genuinely interested in what the apprentices had to say.

I had to light this image with a speed light in order to bring out the details of the people with this being inside a fairly dark room (for photography).  The PR shoot was mixed and based both inside and outside, with me moving quickly between environments.  Many lighting factors had to be considered and worked around to get the images clean and crisp enough for professional usage.

Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, Public Relations Photography Shoot.

The above image was made outside and extra lighting wasn't required to get that candid feel.  Lighting always make everything look staged.  I was hired purposefully to create a documentary feel to the images.  

David Treddinick Politician Hinckley & Bosworth MP

David Treddinick visited an event that was held by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council at The Royal Arms in Sutton Cheney in the district of Hinckley & Bosworth.  The event was a celebration and event for the tourism industry, filled with many local businesses in the district like Twycross Zoo, Bosworth Water Park and Tropical Birdland.  I was hired at the last minute, and luckily I was available and always happy to cater for emergencies and urgent requirements.  

Employees at JJ Churchill Aerospace Engineering Ltd.

I was hired by a marketing agency to provide some pr photographs, product shots and studio styled headshots of the Directors for JJ Churchill Aerospace Engineering in Market Bosworth.  Churchill's required imagery for their website and also for some marketing material at a trade show.  This was also a last minute booking and I was hired urgently with a premium request for the turnaround of the images within 24 hours.  I provide an overnight service that helps companies complete their marketing needs at late notice and with precision.

Diabetes UK, Type One Events.

Diabetes UK, Type One Events.

Diabetes UK booked me to provide documentary styled images that could be used for public relations and to help push focus towards their charity, hopefully gaining support, donations and convince parents to pay for their children to attend their type one events.

What ever your visual requirements are, what ever your budget is and whether you need still or moving images.  I can provide you a tailored service that gives you a service and product that meets your budget.

My diary is very busy but I do have spaces for new business, so if you have any pr photography requirements, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.  

I also provide services for:

  • Website Imagery
  • Marketing Photographs
  • Public Relations
  • Moving Image
  • Documentary Photography and Filmmaking
  • Corporate Portraiture / Headshots
  • Landscape Photography
  • Street Photography

The best thing to do if you think you might be able to use my services is to make a note of my contact details and / or just get in touch now.

 

 

Type One Diabetes UK Commercial Film

Diabetes UK Type One Events Film

Earlier on in the Summer of this year, I was commissioned to make a series of documentary photographs for Diabetes UK and their Type One Events which if you ask me, are flippin' amazing!

The nationwide charity Diabetes UK put on a series of events all over the Country for children that live with Type One Diabetes.  At these events, they get them doing lots of fun activities, ran by a large group of volunteers and also teach them how to manage their diabetes through shared learning experiences.

They're all such an inspiration and made me feel so lucky to be able to stand there all day, making the film and photographs.  My feet began to hurt towards the end of the day and my legs wouldn't carry me up the steep hill but I had to carry on and felt awful that I considered resting.  When you see how inspiring these children are, it puts your life back in to perspective.

Anyway, I'm very proud of this work.  This is the film I shot for Diabetes UK...

Type One Events Documentary Photography

Click to enlarge.

This assignment brings my year to a close.  I've been very happy with this year because all the time I've been building my business, I have also been studying Photography & Video at University and recently graduated in June 2017.  So I've only been working in my business full time for 6 months and it's gone very well.  Here's to an even better 2018, and I've already got a few very large scale projects being lined up.

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