Tips for Successful Street Photography

Street photography is all about documenting life and society. And contrary to its name, street photography isn’t just limited to streets, it can be done inside malls, airport, and most other public places. Capturing the essence of everyday life – unmanipulated and un-posed – just as it occurs is the core point of street photography. In order to do so, you have to take the right approach to things like composition, gear, etc. and have a certain personality and confidence. Following are a few tips that will help you.


Choosing the Best Lens
Cameras are amazing pieces of equipment and they come in many different types, but when it comes to street photography, lens is the king. Keep in mind that in street photography, there is no “right” choice as it depends on your specific style. If you want to get into people’s faces, then a prime lens, e.g. 35mm or 50mm, would be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you want to keep yourself a little more hidden, then a telephoto lens would be better. Wide-angle lens is also a good choice if you want to include more of the surrounding elements in your photos.


Camera Setting
The first thing you should do when it comes to camera setting for street photography is enable the aperture priority mode. Shooting in this mode allows you to control the ISO and aperture while the camera controls the shutter speed. If it’s bright, clear day, set the ISO to 200 and the aperture to around f/11 or f/16. As long as the camera chooses a shutter speed of 1/200s, you should be ready to shoot.


Get Close to Your Subject
Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”. This is true in a number of ways and generally those who are new to street photography hesitate to get close to the subject and instead shoot from a “safe” distance. This isn’t a good approach because by doing this, you disconnect yourself from your subject. So, if you are interested in a subject, get close until it fills the frame.


Take Your Camera Everywhere
This is the ultimate street photography tip. If you want to develop a street photographer’s mindset, then make a habit of taking your camera everywhere. You should almost feel guilty for having a camera with you and not be capturing the moment. It doesn’t mean you should start shooting like crazy. The purpose of having your camera with you at all times is to make sure that you never miss a chance to capture a meaningful story.


Think Outside the Box
Generally, the main focus of street photography is humans and life. However, it is only one aspect of it. If you want to take your street photography to the next level, you must think outside the box. Humans leave traces wherever they live. So, focus on other details to document the time. Maybe vehicles are representative of a certain area. For instance, motorbikes are part of one’s identity in Hanoi. Look for these traces and find interesting compositions without humans.

Since street photography can be different from other types of photography, it is recommended that you try to keep things as simple as possible. The above-listed tips will help you take the first steps in the right direction.

Photos by: Erik Mclean, Oleg Magni, jeshootscom, Nagy David, Bailey Mahon, Matthew Henry

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