The Ins and Outs of Street Photography: 10 Simple Steps

Street photography emerged in the late 20th Century as a means for capturing everyday life, for documenting social activity, and to “hold a mirror up to society”.

Hopefully this tutorial will provide some useful advice for street photography as well as highlighting some of the ethical and practical issues that will help you get started on you quest to document life on the streets!

Step 1. What Is Street Photography?

Street photography meets the desire to document social activity, aiming to capture the essence of life in a specific time and place, highlighting single acts of human behaviour, often providing snapshots of real and literal moments of life.

Photographers such as Henri-Cartier Bresson and Garry Winograd are past masters of this documentary style, but anyone is capable of capturing their locality—you just need to have an eye for detail and an awareness of what’s going on around you.

Step 2. Which Camera to Use?

There’s no right or wrong camera to use for street photography, it’s all about personal preference. You need to bear in mind that manoeuvrability and general mobility will be far easier if you don’t have lots of equipment; so maybe limit yourself to just one camera and a lens or two if you feel it necessary. This will also make you more inconspicuous and less like to stand out as a photographer (but more of that later on).

Traditionally, it’s best to use a fixed lens, something fairly wide like a 28mm or 35m, although that means getting fairly close to your subject. You might want to start off with a 75mm or 50mm so you can keep a bit of distance to build up confidence.

Step 3. Capturing the Place You Are In

Before heading out, consider the place you’re going to shoot. Does it have a particular mood or style that you want to try and capture in your shots? Maybe it has a particularly high tempo and vibrancy that you could aim to exemplify or maybe it has a more sleepy and quaint demeanour?

Think about any particular features or landmarks and consider whether you want to represent them as points of reference for the location, or whether you’d rather leave them out so you shots are more ambiguous.

Step 4. Go Out and Find It

There aren’t any definitive places to recommended for going out to shoot street photography, you’ve got to go out and find it! Don’t wait for it to come to you, you’ll find far more interesting subject matter if you get out and get involved with your surroundings.

Maybe set a route to walk around the town, keep a look out for anything interesting, and have an eager eye for what’s happening all around you. Have the camera settings decided and ready so you don’t waste time fiddling about and know how your camera works so you can change any settings in reaction to what you’re seeing.

Step 5. Instinctive Decisions

You’ll find that the more time you spend in areas like this, the easier it becomes to catch the goings on around you. Your eye will be trained to spot points of interest. Street photography involves a lot of instinctive decisions, particularly with regard to composition.

For me, the best way to approach this is to forget any compositional rules and just go with whatever feels right to you, different photographers will see things differently and have a different take on a subject, so shoot what you see.

Step 6. What’s Your Motive?

The motive for your photography is important to consider before you go out, otherwise you’ll be spending time making lots of decisions on the street and missing out on potential shots.

Consider whether you want to take the stance of honest documentary shots that capture a place for what it is, highlighting the style and mood of a place and it’s inhabitants. On the flip side, you can look to be more creative and capture and highlight the things that people might not notice, to create something artistic from something that might not usually catch the eye.

Step 7. Photographing in Public

When entering into street photography it is important to understand the moral implications of what you are doing. In most countries, taking photos of people in a public place is totally legal and you’ll only need permission if you’re going to use the photos for commercial use – but please check the relevant laws and regulations for where you’re planning on shooting.

It’s important to keep in mind that asking someone if you can shoot them will affect how they behave in the shot and, if you’re looking for a natural style, shooting in covert might be a better option. Be inconspicuous, not suspicious.

Step 8. When Not to Shoot

When considering who and when you shoot, make sure you have thought about where you’d draw the line personally. Consider illegal activity, confrontation and other people’s children—these are all probably best avoided.

Once you’ve set your boundaries you can start getting involved with the scenes and moments that you do want to capture. Be aware that some people react positively to a camera, which can make for a great shot, but others really don’t want to have their photo taken. Respect their decision. If you do get confronted, be polite, smile and co-operate fully with the other party.

Step 9. Black and White, or Colour?

You’ll see from the examples that I’ve chosen for this article that the majority are black and white. This wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, but traditionally, documentary and street photography have been in black and white.

Shooting in black and white will highlight the action in your scene, it will draw the eye into the points of interest and maximise impact. That’s not to say though that there isn’t room for colour in street photography, I always shoot in colour and then convert later, but consider whether colour will add anything to the shot, if not, stick with black and white!

Step 10. Get Up and Go!

So there you go, hopefully you’re up to speed with the ins and outs of street photography and you’re ready to get out and capture your own neighbourhood.

Don’t spend too long thinking. Obviously if you have a certain motive, or want to capture a certain mood, then employ those whilst working, but the best thing you can do is to grab your camera, get out and start shooting.

You never know what you’re going to find, and it’s the perfect chance to find out whether all those articles you’ve been reading have given you a better “instinct” for photography!

by Simon Bray

Simon Bray is a freelance photographer from Manchester, UK, working on commercial shoots as well as photographing weddings, musicians and artists, and also taking time out to capture landscapes in the surrounding countryside.

11 Street Photography Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

A Post By: Kevin Landwer-Johan

Coming up with fresh, interesting street photography ideas can be a challenge – especially if you’re first starting to explore the genre.

But don’t worry. Because in this article, I share 11 ideas for beautiful photos, all designed to help you get excited about street photography.

Some ideas are a little more abstract than others; some may suit your tastes and others may not. But don’t only consider the ideas you feel comfortable with. Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. It’ll help you grow as a photographer, and it’ll add a richer dynamic to your portfolio of images!

1. People connecting

Instead of photographing individuals or groups of individuals, look for people interacting with each other. Aim to capture their relationship. This may be as simple as the exchange that takes place when someone buys a newspaper or street food. 

I photographed the ladies below in a street market in Myanmar. The place was packed, and busy, too, with people coming and going. The two women met in the middle of the street and had a good catch-up. I have no idea what they were talking about, but it seemed like they had not seen each other for a while.

Standing close to them, I took a series of photos. They were engrossed in their conversation and quite oblivious to my presence.

2. Bicycles

I think you’ll find bicycles in most cities, towns, and villages, no matter your location. And they make wonderful photography subjects! You can photograph people riding bicycles, or bicycles that have been parked, bicycles with their owners, and bicycles without.

Look at the shapes and lines. Emphasize the wheels, handlebars, or seat. Come in close and consider the details. All bikes are unique and have some special features that you can focus on.

I’ve been photographing bicycles since I got my first camera. By now I have a pretty good collection of bike images.

3. Shadows and reflections

This idea is a little more abstract, and it’s all about looking for interesting shadows and reflections to photograph. 

Note that you can find shadows and reflections made by pretty much anything. And it’s not about the item itself, just the effect of it interacting with the light. 

Dark shadows on a bright, sunny day are created by interestingly shaped items. Bikes make wonderful shadows. Trees do, too. Use your imagination when the sun’s out, or at night when passing under a street light.

(Also, think long and hard about whether you want to photograph just the shadow, or whether you want to include the item making the shadow, too.)

Reflections are all around you: In shop windows, the chrome of a classic car, puddles on the pavement after rain. Once you begin to look, you’ll start to see them everywhere.

4. A bird’s-eye view

Look for locations where you are above the action. Capturing a bird’s-eye view of a street scene offers a perspective most people won’t otherwise experience.

After all, a view from above shows the world differently from how most of us see it.

So how can you achieve the bird’s-eye view perspective? Search for a footbridge or an overpass. Balconies, second-floor windows, and mezzanine floors are also all great places to shoot from above.

5. Interesting modes of transport

How are people getting around? What are they using to carry their stuff from one place to another? Look for unusual and interesting modes of transport to photograph.

You might find an old person pulling a cart or an entrepreneur with a vehicle crafted to fit their specific needs. Maybe you’ll see a business person in a suit on a scooter or skateboard.

Many cities have public transportation that may seem common to their inhabitants – but it’s unique to the location and very unusual outside of those places.

6. Find the best light

Morning and evening are often considered the best time to take photographs because the light is richer and more flattering. But whatever time of day you can get out and about with your camera, always try to determine where the light is best.

In street photography, you need to study your locations and decide where to position yourself to make the most of the light. You can’t change the light, so you must do what you can to manage it well. 

When you can’t get out in the morning, late afternoon, or evening, you’ll need to try harder to find the best light. It’s not impossible, just challenging. Look for where the light reflects and plays off surfaces in an interesting way. Position yourself and wait.

You may be surprised at what you can photograph.

7. Work one location

Shoot in the same location, over and over again. For a week, a month, or a year. Commit to spending time at the same location regularly – for longer than you think you will need to.

By sticking with a single location, you’ll be forced to push yourself creatively.

Consider what makes the place unique or special. Aim to capture its character. What do you observe happening each time you’re there? Visit at different times of the day and night. How does the light vary? Shoot from as many different angles as possible.

Sure, it’ll seem hard, especially at first. But it’ll be great for developing your eye and your creativity.

8. People working

Find people doing what they’re good at. Ask permission and offer free prints of your best photos.

When someone’s engrossed in what they’re good at, it’s easy to capture expression and feeling. You may be surprised at what you can photograph just from walking down the street.

Once you’ve found a person to photograph, observe them carefully. Look for peak moments in their activity. Watch for repetition. Capture the most significant aspects of their tasks with the aim of telling a story about what they are doing.

9. Shoot in black and white

Working in black and white is a classic – and somewhat cliché – street photography idea, but I feel compelled to include it. Black and white is easy to overlook. But it’s a great way to produce powerful photos.

Some photos are simply stronger in black and white. Some subjects and lighting conditions just lend themselves to monochrome.

Are you struggling with inspiration? Thinking and photographing in black and white can be the perfect way to get your creativity flowing!

Strip away the color. Pay careful attention to the light and tone. Look to present more feeling in your photos.

10. Photograph people (and interesting things)

Get bold. Take some street portraits. And if possible, get your subject to pose with a prop.

Why? Props help people feel more comfortable. Plus, when a person’s holding something interesting, their attention will be a little distracted. They won’t be totally focused on you and your camera.

Ask the people you photograph some questions about their prop. Show that you are interested. This can also bring up valuable information, which can then lead to other street portrait ideas.

11. Local animals

Look for birds, dogs, and cats in the street to photograph. Capture them as they sleep and as they eat.

Find a cat who owns the space it lives in. Look for a dog that wants attention from everyone who passes. Capture birds as they clean up crumbs left on an outdoor cafe table.

You’ll end up with some wonderfully intimate street shots!

Street photography ideas: final words

Hopefully, you’re now feeling far more motivated – and you have plenty of ideas worth photographing.

So choose one or two items that resonate with you. If none of the above work, check out the list below, where I’ve included some additional options. Work on a few to see which ones stick. Then go with the flow, and you’ll soon find you don’t want to put your camera down!

My list of additional street photography ideas:

  • Environmental portraits
  • People and signs
  • Minimalism
  • Empty streets
  • Current issues
  • Hands
  • Close-up portraits
  • Silhouettes
  • Slow shutter speed
  • Decisive moment
  • Street art
  • One color
  • Shapes (squares, circles, triangles)
  • Looking through things (frame within a frame)
  • Worm’s-eye view
  • Reflections
  • Photograph from inside
  • One lens

Street photography idea FAQs

What makes a good street photo?

It captures the essence of a place as you perceive it.

How do I start street photography?

Pick up your camera and head out the door. It’s as simple as that!

What are the rules for street photography?

I know of no rules for street photography. But here are a few suggestions: Photograph what you’re interested in. Be polite and stay safe. Make good art.

Is street photography legal?

In most countries, you are allowed to photograph whatever you like so long as you are on public property.

10 Street Photography Tips for Beautiful Shots

By: Eric Kim

How can you capture stunning street photos? What’s the best way to get started with street photography?

As an experienced street shooter, I’ve been exactly where you are – and over time, I’ve developed plenty of street photography tips and techniques to go from beginner shots to standout professional images.

That’s what this article is all about; I share everything you need to know to jumpstart your street photos, including:

  • My favorite street photography gear
  • How to get over the fear of being noticed
  • An easy way to make your subjects feel comfortable
  • Compositional tips to really get those eye-catching shots
  • Much more!

Let’s dive right in, starting with my first tip:

1. Ditch the zoom and use a wide-angle prime

Street photography is not like your high-school science class. You don’t examine your subjects under a microscope. Rather, street photography is about experiencing life up close and personal.

When starting out as a street photographer, you may be tempted to use a long zoom (e.g., a 70-200mm lens) so you can shoot from afar and feel less awkward. But it will do much more harm than good.

First of all, you will look hugely conspicuous in public holding a monster zoom lens. A long lens stands out from miles away and people will notice.

Second, if you use a zoom lens, you have to point it directly at somebody. This makes the person you’re trying to photograph aware of what’s happening as if they have a gun pointed to their head.

So instead of a long zoom, use a lens that’s much smaller, more inconspicuous, and less threatening: a wide-angle prime, such as a 24mm f/2.8 lens, a 20mm f/2.8 lens, or a 35mm f/2.8 lens.

People will be far less bothered by such a compact lens, and they often won’t even notice you holding it. Plus, by using a wide-angle lens, you can capture your subjects without pointing your camera directly at them; for instance, you can compose so they’re off to one side, and it’ll look (to your subjects) like you’re shooting a completely different part of the scene.

2. Get as close as you can

In street photography, closeness makes a big difference. So when I tell you to get close, I mean it. Get so close that you can see the perspiration dripping from a person’s forehead or the texture of their skin.

When you combine closeness with a wide-angle prime lens (as discussed in the previous tip), you’ll get a highly immersive, engaging perspective. The viewer will feel like they’re a part of the scene, not just someone looking in from afar.

Plus, if you get very close to your subject, they won’t think anything of it; they’ll believe you’re taking a photo of something behind them, especially if you aim your camera slightly to the side.

3. Always carry your camera with you

If you’ve been doing street photography for a while, you’ve probably heard this one a million times – but I bet you’ve come up with a million excuses and reasons not to carry a camera.

“My camera is too heavy,” you probably think. “It’s frustrating to keep the camera constantly charged and ready to go.”

And yes, carrying a camera can be frustrating. But you know what’s more frustrating? Missing the perfect photo opportunity and regretting it for the rest of your life.

Yes, that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s genuinely true; you never know when the most amazing moment will present itself. Do you really want to be standing there without a camera when it happens?

On the other hand, if you get in the habit of always carrying your camera with you, you’ll never miss those “Kodak moments” that always seem to happen with no warning. I myself have taken some of my best images at the most unexpected times – images that would have been impossible to capture if I were not dedicated to keeping a camera by my side.

4. Disregard what other people think of you

Here’s a street photography tip for beginners:

One of the things that you’re probably worried about is being viewed by other people as a “creeper,” a “weirdo,” or simply getting unpleasant comments. But you must learn to disregard these thoughts.

When you’re shooting on the streets, you will most likely be alone. That means that any judging bystanders will be people that you do not know and will most likely never see again in your life. Why let them get in your way?

You may feel constricted by social rules, especially when you’re just starting out. But remember, social rules are not laws, and in many locations, there is no law that prevents photography in public places.

If you’re really struggling to get past your fear of being judged, here’s a simple exercise to try:

Spend time doing something unusual in public. Lie on the ground for a minute and see how other people react. Then get up and simply walk away like nothing happened. Walk into an elevator and stand facing the back wall. Go to a busy intersection and stand like a statue. People won’t care, trust me – I had to do that last one as an experiment for one of my sociology classes.

The social world is full of rules that constrict us. Break them, learn to be at peace with it, and shooting in the streets will become quite natural.

5. Smile often

When shooting in the streets, a smile can go a long way. If you take a photo of someone and they give you a weird look, simply tip your hat to them and show them two rows of your pearly white chompers. They’ll generally go on with their day (and they might even smile back).

I use this approach all the time, and I get around a 95% response rate, even in Los Angeles. Some of the most unapproachable people smile back at me. People trust a street photographer who smiles; they will simply see you as a hobbyist, not someone with malicious intent.

Plus, by smiling often, it’ll help you relax – and a relaxed photographer is a better photographer!

6. Ask for permission

Many street photography purists say that the only real street photography is candid. And it’s certainly true that you sometimes don’t want to ask for permission when shooting on the street; otherwise, you’ll fail to capture those unique, spontaneous moments that really define the genre.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking before shooting, and street portrait photography is a genuinely interesting area of exploration.

So feel free to go up to strangers who you want to photograph and ask to take a portrait. Most people love getting their photos taken, and as long as you act courteous and casual about it, many will accept.

Also, try approaching mundane subjects of everyday life, like the waitress at a diner, the bellhop of a hotel, or even a parking lot attendant.

7. Be respectful

There’s a tricky, gray line that every street photographer must navigate:

Whether it’s acceptable to photograph the homeless. Some street shooters avoid this type of photography completely, while others specifically aim to document difficult living conditions.

Personally, I try not to take photos of people who appear too down on their luck. I do think there are tasteful images of the homeless that generate awareness and support – but there are also many images that look like pure exploitation. Think of the cliché shot of a homeless person crouched over on the street, begging for money. Such a photo might look “real” or “edgy,” but that doesn’t mean you should take it.

Before you press the shutter button, determine the message you are trying to convey. Are you shooting to build awareness of the atrocious situations that many homeless people experience? Or are you merely taking a photo of a homeless person for the sake of taking their photo or to boost your portfolio? If it’s the latter, you should probably put your camera back down, though ultimately only you can decide what to do.

8. Look for juxtaposition

For me, juxtaposition is what makes street photography so unique and fascinating compared to other genres. Thanks to the careful use of juxtaposition, street photographs can convey the humor, irony, and beauty of everyday life.

The idea is to take two contrasting elements – often a subject and their environment, or two subjects – then put them together in the same frame.

A few quick juxtaposition tips:

  • Look for signs with interesting messages that seem contradictory to the people standing nearby
  • Be on the lookout for human heads that seem to be displaced by other objects, such as street lamps
  • Look for two individuals that differ in height, complexion, or even weight
  • Look for several individuals displaying a range of emotions, be it happiness, sadness, curiosity, anger, etc.

By the way, juxtaposition doesn’t always need to make sense. Some juxtapositions highlight a clear message, but others simply emphasize the absurdity of life, and that’s okay, too!

9. Tell a story

Many beginner street photographers simply try to capture people out and about, and that’s fine – but as you progress, try to add a bit of narrative to each of your photos. https://1c9bd53b9e8aac3c284b20aee67d9b23.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Before you take an image, imagine that you are a film director and that you’re trying to make an interesting movie. Who are the main actors? What is your backdrop? How are the main actors interacting? What kind of emotions are you trying to convey?

Ultimately, images that tell a story are the ones that really stick in the mind of the viewer. And the absolute best images tend to be so illustrative, so evocative, that the viewer returns to them again and again.

So when you get the opportunity, weave a narrative into your photos!

10. Just do it

This is my last tip, and it’s an absolutely essential point to understand:

If you want to be a street photographer, you’ve got to get out and actually shoot. Reading about street photography techniques is helpful, but photography isn’t done behind a computer screen! At some point, no matter how hard it might feel, you need to head out that door and start capturing the world.

So grab a DSLR, point-and-shoot camera, smartphone, or even a disposable film camera – then hit the streets. The beauty of the world awaits, so don’t miss your chance.

Street photography tips: final words

Hopefully, you found these street photography tips and techniques useful. Remember, street photography is all about getting out and capturing the world, so push away your discomfort, do a big smile, and take some great photos!

Now over to you:

Which of these street shooting tips do you like most? Which do you plan to use? And do you have any tips of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Getting Close and Personal: 11 Tips for Close-up Candid Street Photography A Post – James Maher

 
Tip #1: If you see a banana stand, hang out near it.
Street photography is not easy. It tests your nerves, your hand eye coordination and your instincts, and lord knows I’ve missed more ‘moments’ than I can count, but the satisfaction of capturing that split second where everything comes together can make it all worth it.

This article is going to focus specifically on tips to help you get your camera as close to people as possible without them noticing. It is certainly not the only way to do street photography, but it is a very effective way. It helps you catch the world around you in an uninterrupted fashion. And if you happen to get caught then so be it, just smile and own up to what you are doing. You’ll be surprised at how understanding most people are about street photography once you are honest with them.

Now for the record, I use a pretty beefy Canon SLR, primarily because I can’t afford the Leica M9 and the Fuji X100 hasn’t come out yet, but I’ve still figured out ways over the years to get up and close with it without being noticed.

1. How you Hold the Camera
2-kissing_couple.jpg

Speed is key and how you hold the camera can make all the difference in the world. I like to wrap the camera strap around my wrist instead of around my neck. It is much quicker and easier to maneuver the camera this way and it also allows you to easily ‘shoot from the hip’ if you need to. When walking down a street I usually hold the camera in front of me at a 45-degree angle, halfway between vertical and horizontal, with my finger on the trigger. This way, I can easily get my camera into the right position if something spontaneous should happen, without tipping off the subject that I am going to photograph them.

2. Shooting from the Hip
3-hindi_paper.jpg

Unless you have a very small rangefinder, the reality is that it is much easier to photograph someone without them noticing if you don’t have to raise the camera above your chest or look through the viewfinder.

The advantage to shooting from your hip with the camera strapped to your wrist is that it really becomes an extension of your arm. You don’t have to shoot in front of you and can shoot sideways or even backwards if you need to. It frees you up to integrate your lens into a situation without anybody noticing. You can shoot from the hip with either both hands or one hand holding the camera, but one hand gives you a little more freedom to aim in any direction. Just keep your arm straight down at your side and then angle the camera up and in whichever direction the scene is happening. Then, if you need to, you can raise your arm or bend your elbow a bit to get the exact frame, but be discreet about it.

3. Use a Wide-Angle Prime Lens
I prefer a 35mm (or 20mm on a cropped sensor.) When you shoot from the hip you have to get used to what the camera is going to catch without actually looking through the viewfinder. The prime lens allows you to easily anticipate this and with some practice it will eventually become instinctual. The wide angle helps because it allows you to get closer while also capturing more of a scene and it really injects the viewer into what is happening.

Also, wide-angle prime lenses are usually very light and small, are much easier to maneuver and are much less noticeable than the larger zoom lenses.

4. The Low and Slightly Diagonal Angle
4-vendor.jpg

Another advantage of shooting from the hip is that you can catch people from a very low angle. I often prefer my candid photography to come from a close-up and low angle because it elongates people and allows the subject to fill the frame. This is obviously not true for every situation, but a lot of the time this is my personal preference.

The slight diagonal angle can be very pleasing, especially for vertical portraits. The angle injects some energy into a photo and allows you to catch a bit more of the surroundings. It creates a lead for the eye to enter the photo and keeps it there, bouncing around between the subject and its surroundings.

5. Be an Actor (and don’t make eye contact)
5-big_guy.jpg

As a street photographer, you can benefit a lot from acting. You might play the part of a spaced out tourist, engulfed in something happening across the street, or perhaps someone who is lost and has to stop for a moment to collect himself, but you are certainly not someone who looks like he is about to take a photo.

I like to act like I’m walking around daydreaming, just spaced out by my surroundings and looking in the somewhat opposite direction of what I want to photograph. I will make my path intersect in the right way with the subject and then stop as if I’m gathering myself or as if I see something interesting. My body will often be angled away from the subject while my camera will be at my hip pointing up at it. Then I take a photograph or two and walk out of there like nothing happened.

Most importantly though, is to never point your head directly at the subject, or god forbid, make eye contact! There is something almost evolutionary about eye contact that will make a person immediately notice you. Even for a split second, it will ruin your cover. Instead, try to look ‘through the person’.

6. The Stutter-Step
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Sometimes stopping completely is not an option. It will just look too obvious. But at the same time you have to be completely stopped to take a photo. No matter how fast your shutter is, if you are slightly moving while taking a photo then it will probably be ruined.

So there is a move called the stutter-step (can you tell I’m a basketball fan?). It’s basically just a very quick stop in full stride, almost like you freeze for a second in mid motion. It probably looks a bit ridiculous to anyone who’s actually paying attention, but it happens so fast that nobody will notice. Once you try it out you’ll understand what I’m talking about and it takes a little bit of practice to get used to.

7. Be Prepared to Change your Camera Settings Quickly
7-locksmith_nap.jpg

I often shoot on manual because I like to have my exposure dialed in before taking these types of photos. When getting close-up you never really know how the camera is going to read a situation and that often leads to a lot of messed up exposures. Manual shooting on the street however can take some serious getting used to, because if you suddenly go from a sunny street to a shady street then you will have to remember to change your settings. I usually keep a sunny and shady general exposure setting in my head and flip back and forth between them.

But what happens then if something sudden occurs? Say you’re walking down a sunny street, settings set up perfectly, when all of a sudden you look to your right and notice a couple of locksmiths in a very dark van, one passed out and one about to light his cigarette? The moment is about to happen! Well in this case I quickly switchover to Aperture Value on my camera, which I have preset with a low aperture value. Even though you will have a loss of some depth of field, you will be able to have it work in both extreme bright or dark situations with a fast enough corresponding shutter speed. You can also do this with shutter value as well.
8. Wear Dark Clothing.
It will help you blend in.

9. Set up your Background Beforehand
8-grand_central.jpg

This is a little out of the realm from what I have been talking about so far, but after all there are a million different ways to take a great street photograph. Search out an interesting background and then wait for the right person to come into your scene. Be patient, it might take some time.

The accompanying photo is not close-up, but I waited for hours for the right person to stop in the right position and it eventually paid off.

This practice also allows you to be in the correct position before the person comes into the scene, so you can ::gasp:: actually look through the viewfinder! Just make it look like you are taking a photo of the background. Some of the best street photographs were planned instead of found. Find the right location and wait it out until the moment happens.

10. Blur and Grain and Black and White
9-nuts.jpg

In this photo, because I wanted the camera focus to be on the NUTS street vendor stand (to emphasize the ‘nutty’ quality of this arguing group of tourists), it meant that I couldn’t get the people in foreground to be perfectly sharp. That just goes with the territory and sometimes you have to make some sacrifices. In this case I think it works… in black and white.

As a street photographer I’m much less afraid of blur and grain than a lot of people. The reality is that it’s not always bright out, you need a fast enough shutter speed and you don’t have the luxury of using a tripod. You will often be stuck with some blur, slight soft-focus or grain from a high ISO.

Now this is only my personal opinion, but I think that these types of photos just look so much better in black and white. You can really turn something that looks terrible in color into a great photograph by making a good black and white out of it. After all, street photography is about the content in the photo, and black and white often helps to focus on that.

11. Fill the Frame with the Subject (and don’t be afraid to crop)
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My biggest critique of street photographers is when I see a photograph with an extremely interesting subject, yet the photographer decided to shoot the entire street and make what should have been the entire photo become just a small part of the frame. Fill the frame with what is important and cut out everything else. Leave some room for the imagination.

Also, with a prime lens and fast moving subjects you’re not always going to be able to be in the perfect spot or catch the perfect angle on the fly. Don’t be afraid to crop in or improve the angle afterwards. This is not landscape photography, where you are always able to plan out every aspect of your image before taking the shot. You should get used to using the crop tool, even if it’s just for a slight correction.

Just remember that the hardest part of street photography is getting out of the front door. The moments are flying around everywhere, but you need to be there and be bold with your camera to be able to catch them. Now get in there and get close!