Street Photography Tips


If you’re into the look of candid, natural, unposed photos, you can’t beat the genuine quality of street photography. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it’s  not so much about taking pictures of people on a street, it’s a style of photography. It’s about capturing people doing their everyday things; like a musician playing his guitar on a street corner or the captivated expression a person has while they listen to it.

As beautiful as people can be in their natural state, generally speaking, people don’t like to be photographed without their permission- maybe they’re just having a bad hair day or in this digital age, they could be worried that their photo might wind up as the subject of the next viral meme.

So how do you photograph people if they might find it objectionable? Well, you could ask permission- which depending on your artistic goal, might destroy the authentic, candid look you’re going for. Or you could get crafty and do it on the sly. Here are some tips and tricks that we’ve found to work well.

Don’t be creepy

Although it may seem like a great idea to employ your best ninja photographer skills and stick to the shadows and back alleys and catch people unawares, people are going to think you’re up to no good or worse, a pervert or something. So, avoid creeping around like you’re doing something illegal.


Be Discreet

All of the best street photos have something in common: They’re genuine shots of people doing normal, everyday things. If your plan is to take street photos, do so in the least conspicuous way, not only to avoid being detected but so that your subjects are relaxed and doing what they do. If you’re racing from corner to corner snapping photos like the paparazzi, you’re going to destroy the mood of the people around you. So, just take the photos you actually want and do so discreetly.


Be Ready

When you arrive at a destination, like a market, and start feeling inspired by the sights around you, take a few photos right away and get your exposure settings correct so, when the time comes to take your photo, you can quickly snap it and be done. Pretty hard to look casual when you take a photo of someone, stop and adjust, take another photo, stop, make adjustments….

And since every blog post needs a class plug, let’s go for it here- if you understand the manual settings on your camera but still struggle to achieve proper exposures quickly, check out Getting Proper Exposures!


Be Prepared for Confrontation

Even if you follow the “rules” and use common sense, chances are you’re eventually going to tick someone off at some point. If you’re approached by someone who you’ve offended by taking their photo, usually a sincere apology and escorting yourself from their vicinity is enough to appease. But if that doesn’t work and the situation starts to escalate, decide if the shot you just captured is worth the fight. Chances are, it isn’t- apologize, delete it and move on.

Interested in trying out some Street Photography? Come May, we’ll be hosting Photo Walks again and we often hit up urban locations, with fantastic photo opportunities! Was that another shameless class plug? 😉

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