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FuelBooks Urban and Street Photography Tip: Know Your Goal

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Todd Sipes, author of Urban Exploration Photography: A Guide to Shooting Abandoned Places, asks, are you shooting as an artist or a documentarian? Know what you're shooting and why.

Fuel Books

From the book

As an UrbEx photographer, it’s important to ask yourself this: Are you shooting as a documentarian or as an artist? When I was first getting into UrbEx photography, I felt like I needed to capture every nook and cranny of a location. After a while, I began to analyze my photos, and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t even want to post-process 90% of them. I’ll get into that more later, but for the time being, consider this: What is your goal? Are you shooting to document what the place looks like for historical value or because it’s getting demolished soon? Or are you shooting to get a few artistic shots? I’ve moved away from the former to the latter and now I’m much more satisfied with the shots I walk away with. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking tons of photos so your viewers can get a sense of how it feels to be in a place. If you have the time and permission to be there, I say go for it! But if you’re in a time crunch, pick your shots carefully. It’s a personal choice—just be cognizant of what you’re shooting and why.

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