Street Photography with Mats Alfredsson

#1 - Tips & Tricks to get started

Tips & Tricks to get started with Street Photography with Mats Alfredsson

- Mats Alfredsson

One of the biggest obstacles when you are new to street photography is lifting the camera towards an unknown person. As in everything else, it's all about practice. One technique that I myself have used many times is to let your eyes focus on something behind the subject. That is, not to meet the gaze of the person you are photographing. It basically never goes wrong. As long as you do not look at the person, how close he or she is, the result is that the subject thinks there was something behind him or her. Even if the person says something to you, you seekingly look behind him or her with the feeling that you are focusing on something completely different. Of course, you might want to talk to the person you just photographed, and then you do. I have had many wonderful conversations after I caught a motive. 

Another important thing is to always have the camera ready when you are out. To have the lens cap on is a complete taboo, when things happen fast. On less than one second, the moment is gone. When I walk around in different environments, I adjust the settings all the time depending on the light conditions. ISO goes up and down, I adjust the aperture, control the over and under exposure. I never use automatic settings because I want to have control. When the moment aappears, the camera is ready, and then it is up to me if I manage to capture it on time, composes it right and so on.

I usually photograph inside of pubs and bars. Street photography is about capturing moments in all public environments. It is in these environments that there is a constant spectacle between people, and it is wonderful to sit and observe. But you can not just walk into a pub and start photographing. Then you will be noticed right immediately, and it will be almost impossible to act unnoticed. No, you need to sit down at the bar, order a drink and put the camera on the bar. After a while, you become a part of the environment and no one cares. When you shoot, it becomes the most natural thing in the world. Just act relaxed, talk a little with people if that comes naturally. If anyone wants to see a photo, show them. In this environment, people are often happy.

But if you're still questioned and the person you just photographed asks what you are doing? I usually think like this; the basic mental attitude is to always go out and have fun when I shoot and I always meet the subject that way. A smile doesn't cost anything and it´s very disarming. I don´t know how many times I've done a thumbs up and a smile when the person has looked at me with a surprised expression. If I get the question "why did you photograph me...", I often reply; because you are a very interesting person and look very exciting. There are very few people who get angry when they get a compliment and it is difficult to get angry at a happy person who is not out in shady matters. Also, you are not doing anything wrong or illegal when photographing people in a public setting, so it is best to act as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Street Photography with the SIGMA fp L - a new acquaintance

During all the years I have photographed street, I have alternated between different camera brands. It is a way to develop, but also to see the possibilities with new technology. During the summer, and a bit into the autumn, I became acquainted with a new friend, the SIGMA fp L, a full format camera with a very compact feel. Is is a stable and well-built camera that fits very well in the hand, especially equipped with one of the two grips available to choose from. 

I alternate between two bright lenses that I feel is perfect for street photography, the SIGMA 24mm F2 and SIGMA 35mm F2. They are fast and very sharp lenses that do my photo style justice, the opportunity to get close to the moment. The images below are taken with the 24mm where I´ve tried to capture the small, fast details in the every day life. Those moments that just exist for a very short time, sometimes shorter than a second, and then never comes back. That is exciting about the SIGMA fp L. It is a bit of a paradoxical camera. Small and compact when it comes to size, but still weighs nicely heavy in the hand thanks to its build quality. That it also offers a full-format sensor and a unique 61 megapixels makes it extra interesting. This results in technically top quality images. So no problem to crop photos or print them really big. It is a camera that can withstand harsh environments and feels extremely solid and is easy to love.

SIGMA fp L with the 24mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, by Mats Alfredsson

SIGMA fp L with the 24mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, by Mats Alfredsson

SIGMA fp L with the 24mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, by Mats Alfredsson


Mats Alfredsson
Mats is a street photographer, based in Sweden. He travels around the world, doing what he wants; taking pictures of people. For him, street photography is discovering and documenting what others usually don´t see. Small human events in the public space, which normally go unnoticed. It is an exciting journey of the unexpected.

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