The Psychology of Street Photography

I think street photography is 90% psychology — if you can master your own mental psychology, then you will be able to achieve your personal maximum in your photography and life.

What is fear?

Woman with fur and crossed arms. London, 2015

For example, let’s take fear for example.

Fear: a physiological response to doing something you want to do.

For example, you will feel fear in street photography because you want to take a picture of that person or scene, but you’re afraid of the negative consequences. You’re afraid of getting yelled at, physically attached, or perhaps being called a “pervert” or “pedophile”.

However, realize fear is all in your head, and your brain.

Therefore, if you can re-wire your brain and mental faculties, then you should be able to re-channel your use of fear in street photography.

Reducing your stress response from street photography takes time, and repeated exposures

London man with French fry.

Also consider, fear is a physiological response, that you feel manifested in your muscles, your breathing rate, your sweat response.

But you can de-escalate your sensitivity to fear and pain through training.

For example, one of the best ways to build a resistance to pain is through cold shower training. I’ve taken cold showers religiously the last five years, and I still feel the pain of the cold, but I’m less afraid of the pain, and I feel the pain less.

In street photography, the more you practice it, and the more risks you take, the less afraid you will become.

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