11 Tips For Street Photography For Beginners Update 10/2021

tips for street photography

Street Photography is a type of photography that is mostly done in urban areas. The purpose of this type of photography is to capture the life of people who live in those areas.

You should pay attention to the colors, the shapes and the details of the buildings and the people. All these elements will make up a great photo when you are taking pictures of this type.

This article will give you some great tips on how to take better pictures of the streets!

What Is Street Photography?

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Ha Noi – Canon 50D – Focal Length 50mm – Aperture ƒ/5 – Shutter Speed 1/200s – ISO 200

Street Photography is all around us. It is the spontaneous, unplanned and unrehearsed capturing of what you see everyday as it happens. It is candid, it is uncalculated, it is natural. It is unplanned and unrehearsed. And it is raw.

It is the kind of photography that is impossible to do well unless you are actually out there amongst the people you are photographing. You see something that pleases you, you stop and you make an instant photograph. If the moment is right, you may get a beautiful portrait of a stranger, a humorous shot of a passerby, or a touching moment with someone who needs a little cheering up. It could be anything. The possibilities are endless.

What Makes A Good Street Photograph?

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Walt disney concert hall – NIKON Z6 – Focal Length 50mm – Aperture ƒ/3.2 – Shutter Speed 1/1000s – ISO 250

The most important element of good street photography is composition. You must be able to see the photograph as a whole, and know instinctively what makes it work. There are certain guidelines you can follow, such as:

Having something interesting in the foreground draws attention to whatever is in the background.

Try to include some context: the buildings around the corner, the store next door, the cars in the parking lot, the people in the crowd. All of these things help to give the photograph some context and add depth and interest.

Make sure there is some kind of “eye-level” with the subject. This is where the viewer is standing when he looks at the photograph; if he is looking down at it, or above it, the photograph will look strange.

Do Street Photos Need People?

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest mistakes a street photographer can make is to think he doesn’t need people in his photos. Actually, that’s one of the main reasons people like me (and most other pros) take pictures – we love to include people in our images. It makes our photos more human, more relatable and, in general, more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong: I love photographing people, but if I don’t need them in my image, I won’t put them in. Also, it is usually not necessary to include everyone in your image, just the key players will do.

Plan To Take Photographs In Multiple Locations

Street photography is all about planning. It is important to remember that you will not be able to capture everything you see in one shot. Instead, you should consider yourself a bit like a great actor, who must memorize his or her lines before going on stage.

In other words, you must first plan what you are going to photograph, then you must go out and take a lot of test shots to make sure you have the composition and exposure correct, and only then, you can concentrate on actually taking the shot.

Choosing The Best Lens

A great street photographer has an ability to see the world in a different way from other people. He sees details others don’t notice and finds ways to include them in his images. One of the ways to do this is using a wide-angle lens.

It distorts the perspective of everything around you, making everything seem closer together. This is not always a good thing; it can lead to cramped, uncomfortable and unflattering photos. However, when used right, it gives you a greater sense of freedom and space, allowing you to photograph with ease without any worries about including too much or getting blocked by things in your foreground.

For this reason, I usually choose a wider-angle lens, ranging from 50mm to 35mm or even less. Your preference will vary.

Camera Settings

Most people are surprised when they learn that I do not use auto exposure in my street photography. It’s not that I don’t trust the camera to do a good job; it’s just that I want to have a little control over the process. If you learn to use manual exposure, you will be able to experiment with different shutter speeds and apertures, and see how each one affects the outcome of your photograph.

Tips For Street Photography

1.Get Closer

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Street Musician – NIKON D710 – Focal Length 100mm – Aperture ƒ/6.3 – Shutter Speed 1/640s – ISO 200

When you are shooting on the street, you need to get closer to your subject matter. This does not mean getting right up close and personal with it, but rather, just being aware of how far away you are from your subject and using that as a guide to where you should be when you take the shot. When you are too far away from your subject, you will usually have to use a long lens or a high-powered zoom lens in order to include it in the frame…Either way, you will lose a lot of the intimacy of the moment.

2. Fill Your Frame

One of the most common mistakes amateurs make when shooting on the street is to shoot only what is in their viewfinder. They forget that what they see through the viewfinder is only an extremely small part of the entire picture.
Make sure you fill your frame with as much of the subject as possible, otherwise you will be missing a lot of great shots. This is true no matter what type of photography you are doing, but it is especially important when you are shooting on the street.

3. Make Good Use Of Negative Space

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Monotone – Sony ILCE-6000 – Focal Length 50mm – Aperture ƒ/1.8 – Shutter Speed 1/4000s – ISO 100

Negative space is the area around your subject that is not occupied by the subject itself. It can be the sky above, the ground beneath your subject, or the space in-between your subject and something else in the background. If you fill up all the “negative” space with your subject, it will look like you are trying too hard. Instead, use the negative space to lead the viewer’s eye around the image, or to frame the image in such a way as to draw attention to certain elements.

4. Looks For Strong Lines And Shapes

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Street photography is all about shapes and lines. It’s about finding those strong graphic elements that will make your image pop. Look for horizontal and vertical lines and strong shapes.

These can be anything from the lines of a building or the edges of a car to a person’s hat or a bag of groceries. If you look closely, you should see these elements all around you. Pay attention to them and use them to help you create powerful images.

5. Think In Black And White

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Urban Life – Fujifilm X-T2 – Focal Length 55mm – Aperture ƒ/5.6 – Shutter Speed 1/400s – ISO 200

Street photography is all about making each image tell a story. Look at the scene as if you were a reporter who had just one shot to capture the event, and you must make that shot count.

Black and white forces you to think about light and how it affects your subject. It is the perfect thinking tool for the street photographer. A simple understanding of black and white will make your photos pop. Most people do not realize that almost all of the world is actually black and white.

6. Ask For Permission

Don’t just walk up to someone and start taking their picture without asking permission. It could seriously backfire on you, so don’t do it. Instead, say something like, “Excuse me, would you mind if I took your photo? I’m a new photographer and I’d really appreciate any tips you could offer.” Chances are, they will be flattered and more than happy to oblige. And if they aren’t – well, you still got a great photo of them, didn’t you?

7. Take Pictures Of Street Musicians (Buskers)

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Musician Busking – Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Focal Length 105mm – Aperture ƒ/7.1 – Shutter Speed 1/320s – ISO 100

Street musicians (buskers) are often ignored by most people but they can be a rich source of great photos. They are usually pretty happy with their lot in life and often perform for small audiences who appreciate their music. A few suggestions:

* Look for musicians who are playing in public places where there are lots of people. This will give you lots of subjects .

* Ask the musicians if you can take their picture and give them some small change. This will warm them up a little and make them more amenable to having their picture taken.

* Don’t block their exit route. Most buskers have to get off the streets at some point during their performance and this is when you can take your pictures.

8. Photograph The Backs Of People

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Ha Noi – Canon 50D – Focal Length 50mm – Aperture ƒ/4.5 – Shutter Speed 1/250s – ISO 200

A great street photographer always looks for the “tells” that make his subject interesting. In the case of people, these can be their posture, the expression on their face or even their hands and arms. All of these give you clues as to what makes them tick. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Ask permission from the person to photograph their back, or to photograph their hand holding their coffee cup or their crossed arms. You will be amazed at the results you can get from simple, everyday situations.

9. Use Contrasty Light

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – Focal Length 56mm – Aperture ƒ/5.6 – Shutter Speed 1/500s – ISO 200

Contrast is the main element that makes your subject pop out and catch the eye. It is the difference between light and dark, warm and cold, high-contrast subjects stand out and grab attention.
Contrasty light is light that has a very different color temperature (warm versus cool) from the rest of the scene. This type of light occurs when there is a source of light nearby that is much warmer or cooler than the ambient light in the scene. When you use this type of light, it will often make your subject pop out from the background and allow you to create more powerful photographs.

10. Wait For The Decisive Moment

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A normal subway ride in New York City – Sony ILCE-7SM2 – Focal Length 24mm – Aperture ƒ/3.2 – Shutter Speed 1/640s – ISO 8000

The decisive moment is that exact moment when the subject of your photograph is most likely to be “decisive” about something. Whether it’s the decisive second he decides to smile, the decisive second he decides to scowl, the decisive second he decides to say “hello” or the decisive second he walks into the sunset.
It may not be easy to tell what the decisive moment is until you become aware of it. But once you are aware of it, the rest of the picture taking process becomes much easier. All you need to do is freeze the frame with enough clarity to allow the subject of the photo to tell his own story and not become confused by the clutter of the background.

11. Think About Alternative Angles

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Cyclist reflection – Fujifilm X-T1 – Focal Length 50mm – Aperture ƒ/3.2 – Shutter Speed 1/1500s – ISO 200

Try to think about what else might be happening in the scene that you could photograph from a different viewpoint. For example, if you are shooting a person in a crowd, instead of just the front, try and shoot from the side and above to include the entire scene. This will give you a different perspective and, often, reveal new details that you might otherwise have missed.

Conclusion

Street Photography is very popular nowadays. People love to see photos taken on the streets. There are many tips for taking good street photos. The most important thing is to carry a camera with you when you walk on the street. If possible, try to walk alone so that you will have more time to take photos. You should also try to find interesting subjects and then take photos of them. If you do this, people will remember you as a friendly person and they will be happy to see your photos.