Street photography is likely one of the most challenging genres of photography to practice well. It demands not only mastery over the camera, but also an almost hyper-awareness of what’s happening on the street at any given moment. Despite it’s difficulty, it one of the most satisfying types of photography. Here are some suggestions for the beginning street photographer that will help you to develop your skills as a street shooter.
Set your ISO to 400
A fast shutter speed is critical to achieve optimal sharpness. Setting your ISO to 400 or even higher will help ensure you are using a reasonable shutter speed whether you are shooting in bright sun or in open shade, thus avoiding soft images due to camera shake.
Use a 35mm or wider focal length.
A wider lens will not only provide a more generous depth of field to ensure your subject is sharp, but it will challenge you to more carefully consider everything you include in your frame. It’s not just about your subject.
Set Your Picture Style to Black and White
Even if you are shooting raw, set your Picture Style to its monochrome setting. This will not only teach you how colors are rendered in black and white, but it will help develop your eye for contrast and composition.
Preset Your Focus
By pre-focusing at a fixed distance such as 4 feet and using a moderate aperture such 5.6, 8 or 11, you can achieve sharp images of your subject without worry losing a photo due to focus lag. Focusing at this distance will encourage you to get closer to your subject to create images with more immediacy.
Go Out Solo
Though going out with a group of photographs can be fun, a pack of camera-wielding photographers can send potential subjects scurrying. Don’t hesitate to separate from the group and venture out on your own.
Take Only One Camera – One Lens
Don’t burden yourself with a camera bag filled with gear. Work as simply as possible and focus more on what’s in front of you rather than what’s in your bag.
Get Up Early – Stay Out Late
Photographing in the early morning hour or in the evening can provide wonderful subject matter that won’t be available during mid-day. Make the extra-effort to shoot during these times to produce unique and distinct photographs.
Ask a Stranger For Permission to be Photographed
There are plenty of interesting characters to be found on the street which offer the potential for a great street portrait. Flatter them with a sincere compliment about how they look and explain why you want to photograph. The worse thing that can happen is that they say no.
Photograph Scenes Without People
Street photographs don’t always have to include people. Sometimes, you can suggest the presence of humanity by creating strong, graphic images of their environment.
Always Have a Camera With You
Whether it’s your DSLR or smartphone, always have a camera on hand to make a photograph. It’s the regular practice of making images on the street that will improve your skills as a street photographer.