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Why introverts make great street photographers

While I enjoy being social, sometimes it’s nice to get out with your camera and, well, not have to talk to people. But in a bustling downtown, it isn’t always easy to do this, especially when you’ve got a large camera and lens setup that draws attention.e

Recently I had the chance to try out Tamron’s trio of compact primes lenses for Sony E mount — the 20mm, 24mm and 35mm f/2.8 lenses.

As somewhat of an introvert, it can be stressful and nerve-inducing to go out there and photograph other people on the streets. But with these lenses, it’s never been easier to capture the scenes I want without drawing attention. Here’s why introverts can make for some great street photographers, and more importantly, how small, compact lenses help in that mission.

Introverts know how to slow down

One of the best qualities of being an introvert is you don’t have to be with people all the time. With photography, this means you know how to slow down and observe the scenery and details around you. You know how to look up, down, left and right. And you know how to work with details that you see, and to ultimately create a scene.

Take the squeezed lemons shot above, for instance. My goal for that night was to photograph activity by the river. I ultimately stumbled upon these lemons while doing a slow walk around the area I was in. The light hitting the lemons, the shadows they gave off … it just fit what I was going for perfectly.

As an introvert, you take it all in. You evaluate. You strategize. Then you create something magical.

Introverts know people don’t want to be bothered

When it comes to street photography with people, it’s hard to have the courage to get out there and start photographing. You worry about people seeing you take their picture and then striking up a conversation. As introverts, we don’t want a conversation with a complete stranger!

The above shots I took with my Sony a1, which has a tilt screen. I prefer this to a flippy screen when shooting street photography, as it allows me to more easily shoot from the hip.

Shooting from the hip can be great for introverts, as it lets us appear like we’re photographing something else, or not photographing at all. We can look one way but shoot in an entirely different direction.

This lets introverts get scenes that extroverts might not see or even bother to photograph. It lets us become less of a target for the public to wonder, “what’s that guy photographing?” It lets us focus on our craft without getting in the way, making people nervous or otherwise bothering them to get the shot.

Introverts just don’t take one shot … they work the scene

This is probably one of the biggest benefits. As an introvert, you know that one angle isn’t enough. You take multiple. You play around with different settings, different angles, and different backgrounds.

Take the above series of photos, for instance, of a drink I had at Long Road Distillers. It took me a while to find the angle, so I explored what I could get. I changed the height of my camera, I changed the aperture, and I changed the focus point. By working the scene, I was able to get multiple shots that I know would work in different situations.

Introverts work with a purpose

Introverts are artful in what they capture. We don’t snap the shutter button all willy-nilly. We do so with purpose.

For me, any street photo I take, I think of a story that could accompany it. For instance, the light reflections in the Grand Haven Beach Co. window? That could allude to the fact that there’s fun happening opposite that glass, but that you need to go there to see that. The two people walking in the background of that sandwich photo? They know where they’re getting dinner!

The angles, the settings, the amazing compact lenses we choose (like the Tamron 20mm, 24mm and 35mm) … those are all done for a reason. And that’s to create a scene that we can remember and be proud of.

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Rafael Jones

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