Firstly, your safety is paramount. If any protest or protesters become violent towards you or others, including the police interacting with protesters, leave. Your safety is more important and must have a higher value than any photo you take and your safety always come first. No photo is worth you being injured or hurt.
Travelling, mainly for work, I had decided that the photos taken during my trip would be to show my family the famous sights of London with no intention of sharing, so I was surprised to stumble across a what looked like a protest, a peaceful protest, on a bridge, a famous bridge (Westminister Bridge) in London. What an opportunity!
Pushing through the crowds trying to get a feel of what the protest was about I found that there were plenty of photographic opportunities with good light and everyone seemed pretty happy, might be the whacky weed that was in the air, to have their photos taken.
Some people will struggle with my next comment, I selected Auto on my camera and started shooting. Why not? Camera companies spend millions of dollars developing incredibly small computers and sensors to work everything out so why not select auto.
Documentary and street photography are genres that I have always been attracted to, I find them to be challenging as you have little to no control of what is about to happen and how you capture those moments can be a challenge in itself. Ultimately you want people to feel connected to your images and to possibly inspire them in some small way.
Please remember, if you do decide to photograph a protest, remember your safety must come first over any photo opportunities.
Finally, Ted Forbes from The Art of Photography Youtube channel has brought back photo assignments after what has seemed like a long hiatus and the first one is a doozy. These photo assignments presented to us are a real challenge as they inadvertently challenge you which improves your photography by forcing you to think before hitting the shutter, which results in you having to experiment and make mistakes. Something us Humans do very well is learn by our mistakes.
The assignment presented by Ted is the Holga style and the rules are simple
No auto focus, disable it on your DSLR
No use of your viewfinder/screen
ISO 100 or ISO 400
Shutter Speed 1/60th
It wasn’t until the images from the day had been downloaded that I realised that I had completely forgot about rule 1, and the only reason is that morning I got off a 22 hour flight from Australia and my mind was pretty foggy as to what time it was and where I was. I still haven’t recovered from the jet lag!
The above image is from camera and all that has been done is to convert from RAW to JPEG. I will have to go back and shoot another image that meets the rules before its uploaded to Instagram.
The lesson here is not to be afraid of making mistakes or failing at it because we learn by those mistakes and you never know, you may just jag that shot. If you haven’t seen Ted’s channel, I highly recommend that you jump on over and check it out.