Street Photography with John Beebe

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This Saturday, September 14, 2013 Vistek presents a seminar on street photography with internationally recognized photographer John Beebe. We recently had the opportunity to chat with John and get some pre-seminar tips on how to create awesome street imagery.


A great street photographer does three things:

  • Anticipates – They are ready for the shot and see it coming
  • Waits – They trust that the shot will arrive and wait for it to happen.
  • Works outside their comfort zone – They’ll lie in the middle of the sidewalk, approach strangers, and turn down an unfamiliar street.

All three can be learned and refined through practice.  When they come together, they create something extraordinary.


Photography great, Robert Capa said “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” 

He meant being physically close to your subject creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy.  A telephoto lens can create the illusion of intimacy but it will never create the authentic feeling street photographers are after.

Gear Recommendations:

High End:

Leica M Monochrome
Leica 50 mm lens

Middle Range:
Fuji X100S
Sony Nex7 with fixed focal length lens

Low End:
Your cell phone

What makes these cameras so well-suited to street photography is the quality of their images and their simple, discreet design.  One of the challenges of street photography is to get close but to disappear at the same time.  With a big DSLR and a long lens, it is impossible to do both. Cameras with a fix focal length lens don’t look threatening.  They also don’t sound threatening.  WIthout a mirror to move out of the way, the “click” can be barely perceptible.  When shooting on the street these details matter.

John Beebe is an internationally-exhibited portrait and editorial photographer. His subjects cover the gamut of humanity, ranging from celebrities to street people, business people to teachers and politicians to cowboys. John’s work has been featured at the United Nations and last year he was invited by the Democratic National Convention to produce, print and exhibit a series of large-scale portraits of convention attendees. He is based in Toronto and New York.

There’s still space in this hands-on seminar for more information and to register click here.