People make a lot of assumptions about street photographers, most of which revolve around street photographers being boisterous, assertive, perhaps even aggressive individuals. However, introverts make good street photographers.
It is often the case that some of the best-known street photographers have larger-than-life personalities; I suppose it’s not much of a leap to associate such a personality with one’s proclivity for street photography.
When you choose to photograph strangers buzzing through public spaces, there’s only so much you can control and you can never know exactly what to expect. It can certainly be advantageous to possess a healthy dose of palpable courage.
But what if you’re an introvert? Does that rule out street photography as an option for you?
Of course not. Introverts also possess qualities that are useful for street photography.
Here are three important characteristics of introverted street photographers.
Introverts Are Observant
Introverted people have a natural tendency to study what’s going on around them. They aren’t interested in being the center of attention and they aren’t actively seeking out interactions with others, so they have the mental bandwidth to really absorb their environment.
The power of observation is key to good street photography — noticing little details, paying attention to body language, anticipating action. Introverts have this ability in abundance, so they already have a strong foundation for adapting these skills to street photography. Introverts make good street photographers because of their outstanding ability to quietly soak in many interesting details.
Introverts Know Their Limitations
Limitations aren’t always bad things. You might think of a limitation, as it applies to this topic, as a product of self-awareness.
- Introverts tend to reflect on their relationship to their environment and how they best function in any given setting. In short, they know their comfort zone and they use it to their advantage.
- If getting very close to strangers and shoving a camera their face is outside of your comfort zone, then that’s not a technique you should try to force yourself to use.
- An introvert will be more likely to blend into their environment, to be as unobtrusive and non-confrontational as possible. It’s precisely this kind of comfort that will allow introverted street photographer to do their best work.
Introverts Are Strategic
Again, introverts typically shy away from attention and value self-awareness. This represents a culmination of attributes that have a significant impact on how introverted people navigate the path to successful street photography.
For example, why make it a point to choose a discreet camera? An introvert might think about this in terms of being inconspicuous and, accordingly, they will likely choose a small, pocketable, easy-to-operate camera.
Similar logic applies to the choice of location. An introvert will be more inclined to shoot in an area that supports their sense of comfort; maybe somewhere less crowded or a familiar place with a spot where they can quietly observe people. That's why introverts make good street photographers indeed!
It’s all about creating and following a course of action that leads to a successful day of street photography.
Introverts Make Good Street Photographers
If you’re thinking that these qualities aren’t exclusive to introverts, you’re absolutely right. But given the all-too-common perception that street photography is for extroverts, I think it’s important to highlight how and why introverts can, in fact, excel in this genre of photography.
In addition to the qualities discussed above, remember that street photography is essentially a solitary pursuit, so in this sense, introverts and street photography are made for each other.