3 things I learned shooting Street Photography in Color

Since I started shooting street photography I’ve used to shot it in color, except few months when I used to shot in black and white.

Why color?

I shot color as a way to see the world in a real way, while black and white is a way to see the world in a more conceptual way, because we don’t see the world in black and white.

In fact when we are shooting in the streets, we will see the world differently if we shot in black and white or in color.

Before shooting in color we must ‘understand’ colors, meaning that colors are not just ‘there’. They are compositional elements, like lines, geometry or framing. I pay attention to interesting patterns, hues and to complementary colors.

Nicolai PT-colors00
Hoyerswerda, Germany 2015

I like color photography because:

1. It give me a more realistic view of the world

Hoyerswerda, Germany 2016

We see the world in color and while shooting on the streets I let my sense of color guide me. Whenever I see something that catch my eyes I would immediately look at it and then decide to shoot it or not shoot it. While shooting in color, I train my eyes to look for contrast between the subject and the background, and contrasts between colors of course.

2. Colors are important for the symbols related to them.

Barcelona, Spain 2017

Colors create mood and have symbols associated with them, like:

red: power and danger; yellow: energy and light; green: life and nature; blue: calm and peace; purple: respect.

Colors can have an emotional aspect in my photos, for example when I used to capture scenes with cold colors (like green, blue) to trasmit a sense of sadness.

Hoyerswerda, Germany 2016

But sometimes colors can add a strong visual impact. So I’m able to catch the viewer’s attention to a certain thing.

3. Look at the Light

Southern Italy, 2017

While shooting in color, looking for the light is important.

Different types of light can change the tones, saturation and intensity of colors.

For example:

shooting at noon, when the light is very strong, the colors are brilliant and strong;

while shooting during golden hour  (during sunrise or sunset), when the light is soft, adds more drama with subjects with long shadows.

Southern Italy, 2016

I also prefer to shot while the sky is grey to obtain more depressed colors and photographs.

Southern Italy, 2017

At the end while shooting in color I’m looking for interesting color’s contrast, for good light and shadows and sometimes it can result distracting.


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