Street photography is the art of walking around a town or city and having an eye for interesting shots to take, and Manchester really is a great place for it.
How to start
You don’t need a fancy camera to try out street photography. You can simply use a camera phone or inexpensive digital camera. Street photography is about how you choose a subject and how you frame your images.
If you find that you are good at street photography, consider buying more professional equipment.
What to photograph
Street photography in a busy city like Manchester usually involves people. They can be located on the street, in a café or riding on the Manchester trams.
You could hang around the posh hotels, where you might spot a celebrity or a couple getting married, but this is not what street photography is about; after all, you are not trying to be the paparazzi or the best Manchester wedding photographer.
The most interesting street photography focuses on the everyday lives of ordinary people, rather than important events. Street photographers do not usually pose their subjects; they allow natural events to unfold before the camera.
Should you ask for permission?
Not everyone likes their picture being taken without their consent; however, asking for permission could lead to an artificial picture, as people aware of the photographer often pose awkwardly rather than acting naturally.
If you have not forewarned someone that you are taking a picture, afterwards you could go up to them and show them what you have taken and tactfully ask if they mind.
A street photographer is looking for interesting people, but also is aware of the objects surrounding or in the background. Look for fascinating colours and shapes.
Manchester has lots of remarkable buildings and these can be great to photograph. Try to find unusual angles, or go in close and look at the details of the structure. Photograph visually interesting people with the edifice in the background.
Pictures tell stories or provoke questions. An image of a man drinking a beer on a Manchester tram – is he a drunk, or is he someone celebrating an outstanding achievement?
The next time you walk along the Manchester streets, be sure to take a camera or phone along with you, and see if you can find fascinating images to record. They are, after all, personal moments in time that would have been lost without the power of photography.