One of the most useful concepts for street photograph is the idea of finding a stage – a background that’s interesting and appropriate for an image – and then waiting for something unusual to happen like a person walking into the frame.
This technique requires pre-visualizing the scene and then getting the camera prepared. This is often best done by switching to manual mode and prefocusing on either the background – if that’s what you want in focus – or on the area where the person/people might be. It’s your creative choice – but get the camera ready.
Sam Abell, as described by one of the attendees at one of his workshops, described his approach: “A key idea in Sam’s approach is to first identify the background. With a promising background, you then wait for the light and the subject to complete the photograph. … Find the right background, wait for the right light, wait for the right subject, nail the exposure, pay attention to details of micro composition, take the picture.”
I’ve written a number of articles here about images I’ve shot using this notion of stages – you can see them here.
This particular image is inside Radio City Music Hall in New York City – shot with my iPhone 5s. Of course, it’s just a stage – waiting to be filled!