AD4803 Street – Cardiff Shoot 3

On March 2nd, I was in Cardiff again carrying out my third street photography shoot. As the day was of no significance (whereas the 1st was St David’s Day), I knew I would have to approach more ‘normal’ looking people (not wearing costumes etc.). This made the shoot more like my first street shoot (Shoot 1 blog post). However I noticed myself having a lot more confidence in approaching potential subjects as well as being less deflated when having a rejection.

I was shooting using a Canon 5D and a 50mm lens. I had a slight technical issue in the morning as the camera fell off the bed which broke the lens (it wasn’t able to focus even when in manual mode). Because of this, me and Rhona shared her 50mm lens. This made it a little more difficult to shoot in volume as I had to approach a subject and once they’d said yes, I had to get the lens from Rhona.


This is not all of the images I took on the third shoot, however it is the majority of the portraits. Below is a selection of my favourite portraits shot on the day. A continuous issue I have found with this project is lighting. For each subject, I needed to change settings according to the day light available/time of day. This has meant that there were several portraits I shot with the same settings as a previous subject and the portrait is too dark.


This was the first portrait I shot on the day. I asked the subject to move into the shaded area as I was struggling to expose correctly and use flash in the bright sunlight. Having said that, I liked the stream of sunlight on the left of the picture as I feel that it adds more depth. I also liked the symmetry provided in the building on the right and the trees on the left. This image was shot with an aperture of 14, a shutter speed of 1/160 and an ISO of 250.

I stayed in this same location for a while and continually asked subjects to walk into the shaded area. I did get a few rejections but the majority of potential subjects I asked said yes.


I thought this man’s outfit really stood out, and that the guitar case would be a good feature of the image. I like how prominent the subject is in this image (largely down to his outfit). Ideally, the background would’ve been empty as I think this would have created more of an impact on the audience, however that is a difficult issue to overcome when shooting street portraits. This was shot with the same shutter speed and ISO as the previous portrait, but instead with an aperture of 13. Arguably, an F stop of 14 would’ve been more successful at making the subject seem separated from his background. I tried this, but the flash didn’t fire and I didn’t want to keep the subject waiting nay longer.


I think that the flash has worked particularly well in this image as the subject looks completely sharp and frozen. The image was shot in the same area as the previous two, but  later in the day so the sunlight wasn’t as harsh. Even so, I asked her to move to a more shaded area as I was more comfortable with my settings for a shaded area. This was shot with an aperture of 13.

There were a few portraits I shot which the background was too dark in, but the flash still worked well. This isn’t a huge issue as I was shooting RAW so I should be able to brighten it in post production:

I think the flash has worked so well in these because of the vibrant colours in the clothing. I like the image of the couple as I hadn’t done that before. I also think the fact that the woman is smoking works well and fits their aesthetic. I think I will try to shoot more couples but as of yet, I am unsure if they fit in with the series as the series is primarily people on their own.


I personally really like this image and the colours in it (it was shot using an F stop of 13). I think that the flash has worked well at making the colours seem more vibrant. I also like the framing of it as the buildings guide the eye to the centre, where the subjects’ head is. The only issue I have found with this picture is that the subject is too close to the camera. This lady was deaf which made it considerably more difficult to communicate with her, therefore I couldn’t ask her to step back. Equally, I hadn’t realised quite how close I was to her when taking the picture. I recall Rineke Dijkstra having this same issue with one if her images from her Beach Portraits series:


I found that I was navigating to asking more men than women. For some reason, I feel more comfortable approaching men to ask for their portraits than women. Because of this, on my next shoot, I will try to approach more women so that I have more variety in my work. Below are two of my favourite portraits of men shot on the day:

I think the flash has worked well in both of these as the subject is contrasting to it’s dull background. I like that there is sky on the left of the subject in the left image as it gives it a better composition. As well as this, the structure in the background shows the location of  Cardiff. I prefer the background lighting in the right image as it isn’t quite as dark. I used an aperture of 13 for the right image, but an aperture of 10 on the left image. This shows how time of day can really effect what aperture settings I use.

When I re-shoot, I will try to approach more females to add variety to my work. As well as this, I may try to stay in the same area so there is more continuity to the series. Having said that, I don’t think the continuity of the work is the biggest issue. I will also try to approach more couples to see if they work in the set.

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