Do’s & Don’ts Of Street Photography

Street photography offers photographers a unique canvas and a great experience. Photographers working in street photography can capture the nature of the world and see how society reacts when it realises that it is being watched. So what does an aspiring street photographers need to think about.


Urban Street Photography


Things to think about in street photography

Develop the ability to look for the Moment: street photography does not entail taking photographs of any person you come across in the streets. Before taking photos of people in the streets, analyse the actions they are doing together with the expression on their faces. You should be more focused on the emotional aspect of people, try to reveal the happiness and difficulties people go through in your photography job. Look out for a happy couple smiling at each other in a coffee shop, a man knelt down on his knees in the streets, or a man lost deep in his thoughts. This ends up making your photographs much more interesting, and your audience can create conclusions just by looking at them.

Be bold enough to approach your target individual and ask for permission: most street photographers see him as a difficult task. You could decide to ask first for permission before taking someone’s photograph on the street, or you could as well take a photo without asking for their permission. The later can help you capture a candid moment that would have lost had you asked for permission. Whenever I judge it necessary to get permission from an individual before taking their photos, you should not be afraid to approach and talk to them.

Make your photos benefit the society: as a street photographer, you should be able to capture the photo that adds value to your followers. You should realize the fact that the intention of taking those photographs is to be able to share it with other people. Ensure that the viewers of your photographs get something valuable that they can learn from them.

Avoid popular landmarks: you focus should be on the parts that not many have had the chance to photograph. You should work with your curiosity rather than focusing on the map trying to find exclusive landmarks. Ask the locals around and let them take you to their unique city areas.

You should be self-driven: you should be able to find inspiration from the photographs you take in the streets. You should have a concrete vision and have the audacity to carry it on until you realize it. To develop passion and vision in your photography, you should be able to go out there every time and make a shoot.

You should be inconspicuous: take photographs where there are plenty of people engaging in different activities. You should try your level best to blend with the people and avoid being noticed easily by your target group. Once people get to notice your presence and intention, their behaviours tend to change making street photography lose its meaning.

You should always shoot wide: try your level best to use the lenses measuring 35 mm and the 50 mm as these will help you look inconspicuous among your target group. Normal to wide angle lens also help you get closer to your target group without pointing your camera directly to their direction. This kind of lenses also help the viewers of your photographs feel connected to the activities taking place in the photographs.

Understand the laws governing street photography: every locality have their unique laws governing street photography. As a street photographer, you must be of these laws and always observe them in your photo shooting activity to avoid falling on the wrong side of the law.

Things to avoid when doing street photography

Don’t shoot while standing: you should always be able to crouch when making a shoot be able to capture from the best angle. When shooting photographs of individuals sitting down or kids, crouching gives you the best dynamic angle. Taking photographs of people sitting down or kids, at a standing position makes your target look small and awkward.

Homeless and street performers: these two groups of people are easy targets that any photographer and can end up having less of an impact.

Do not ask people what they like about your photos: allow your viewers to critique your photographs. This can end up helping you improve your street photography skills.

Do not waste your time focusing: to capture the most candid moments of people in the streets, you need to be first. Instead of wasting time on the manual focusing or the auto-focus, you should use the zone focusing.

Don’t rush yourself: patience is one of the virtues street photographers can highly get to benefit. Whenever you come across the most exclusive background, you should be able to be patient enough to allow the right person to enter the place for you to capture its image. You should consider shooting in good light; this ends up making your photographs look magical. The photographers will always take their time and wait for the right person to occupy a beautiful scene before they can capture it.

You should not change the focal lengths frequently: having to use so many cameras and lenses could end up limiting your artistic creativity. The moment you realize what suits you best, you should be able to stick to it without having to change.

Don’t shoot without having the reason: people shoot photographs in the streets for plenty of reasons including just for pleasure, documenting for humanity, among other plenty of reasons. You should have a concrete goal and mission in your mind of why you are capturing these photographs.

Don’t dress up like a spy: when going out in the streets for a photo shoot out, trench coats and dark shades should be avoided. These can end up making people think you are a spy.

Above all have fun with your camera!


Related Articles