Street photography is a very effective photography niche, which is probably why it’s so popular and why it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Often used to capture situations within everyday life, it can turn what would otherwise be a normal event into something rather emotional or even dramatic.
We were recently given the chance to have a conversation with a truly fantastic UK street photographer, Linda Wisdom, to discuss her work and her experiences in street photography. With many impressive exhibitions under her belt, a raft of awards presented to her, and as a regular on the likes of Amateur Photographer and Digital Camera Magazine, there’s no doubt that Linda is an influential street photography professional who can offer some wise words to budding photographers looking to break into the niche.
In our interview with Linda, find out more about her passion for street photography and the lessons she has learned throughout her career to date.
What made you decide to become a photographer?
I have been into photography most of my life, mainly because both my parents owned film cameras and always took snapshots of me as a kid on holiday. It wasn’t until I decided to take it up as a hobby more seriously, almost 10 years ago, that I really found my passion for photography.
What drew you to focus on street photography as your niche?
Before I knew what the term ‘street photography’ meant or that the genre even existed, I was already shooting it by taking candid portraits of people in public. So, once I knew this niche style of photography was a ‘thing’, I took to it very naturally.
What equipment do you typically take with you on a shoot?
I like to travel light and portable, so I usually just pack a small mirrorless camera and maybe a couple of prime lenses on a shoot.
Tell us about a shot that you’re particularly proud of.
Probably this one shot near Charing Cross in 2011. It’s one of my favourite images taken and was one of the first I sold as a print to a private buyer.
What words of wisdom would you give to budding photographers looking to focus on street photography?
Firstly, just to go out with their camera as often as possible, whether on your own or as part of a group.
Research the genre via books, online, at exhibitions and check out images of inspiring established street photographers. If you want some private tuition on the basics, try a 1-2-1 workshop with a reputable photographer.
Why should budding photographers choose a career in street photography?
I would say do it has a hobby to start with. It is incredibly hard to make a career out of street photography. Once you build up a strong portfolio and have grafted long enough, you may get lucky and start to be offered work. If you have a passion for the niche, I would advise just doing it for the love anyway, and not strictly for the money, as you may be disappointed at first.
What’s the most enjoyable part of being a street photographer? What are the pitfalls?
I get to meet lots of new and interesting people from all walks of life. I am also fortunate enough to be able to get to travel around the UK and abroad teaching photography.
No real pitfalls. You need to be prepared to work hard and be persistent. Prepare for failure and learn from your mistakes along the way, like in any long term pursuit.
How do you keep your images as creative and different to one another as possible?
I’m quite critical of my own images. I try to develop my style and check out other photography and art for inspiration and to keep things fresh.
Tell us about your transition from amateur to professional street photographer.
I’ve been shooting for almost 10 years, most of which was just as a hobby. During most of that time, I was working as an IT engineer. I never expected to become a professional photographer full time, but over the last few years, I was getting offered more and more workshop jobs, photoshoot work, selling prints, and other interesting projects, which gave me the confidence and boost to go full time with it.
What are the biggest challenges that street photographers face?
It’s a very saturated market and so you need to work hard to get your work seen and stand out from the crowd. If you are not afraid of hard work and you are determined to be successful, you can be.
Thank you so much, Linda, for giving us a really interesting insight into your work as a street photographer. If you would to find out more about Linda’s work, her website has plenty of information about her skills and services, and you can even purchase some of Linda’s work, too.