Yesterday I attended a street photography workshop, hosted by former Amateur Photographer editor Damien Demolder (in association with Jessops and Panasonic).

Damien spoke for some time about his street photography, showing some cracking examples, and encouraged us to take more than just candid snaps – look at the interchange between light and shadow and how and where the light falls onto people. There are some great examples on his website. He’s a very good engaging speaker and obviously knows what he’s on about.

We then picked out the Panasonic hardware we wanted to try out (I used a GX-8, which seemed a pretty good piece of kit, with a 25mm lens – equivalent to 50mm in 35mm terms) and headed out for a tutorial about how to use the light. What was fascinating was how his recommendation to crank the camera down to about -3/-4 stops of exposure compensation really worked – changing the photos from a plain bright representation of the scene into something altogether darker and more interesting. We experimented briefly on each other, which is where the really dark low-key portraits below come from – I’m very pleased with those.

Finally, Damien let us loose on the walkway outside the Watershed – nice and busy on the first decent Saturday of the year, so plenty of people passing by to be snapped by 8 people trying hard to be inconspicuous. Looking through the photos I took, you can see them improving – I gradually cranked down the exposure compensation and got closer in to people. Processing the photos, yet again I found that I prefer the B&W conversions to the colour images, and I’ve also darkened them to try and lead the eye into the faces. It’s not about looking for beautiful people – you very quickly start looking for character.

A really enjoyable day – it’s well worth attending one of Damien’s workshops if you get the chance, assuming you fancy street photography!

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