For New York City photographer Josh Katz, street photography is very much like hunting, and therefore, is an exercise in patience. The goal is to capture a compelling moment in time as it happens, without any posing of your subjects involved. You can also say that this is why street photographers “prowl” the cities they live or travel to in search of the most interesting moments to capture.
However, wandering around for something to capture is just one part of the craft, as Josh tells us in the video below:
Now, let’s pick some highlights that you can use to begin with.
Instead of running around chasing or searching for worthy subjects, Josh’s approach is to find a nice spot that can serve as an interesting background for your snap. Then, patiently wait for the right people to pass by so you can snap a “decisive moment” in true Henri Cartier-Bresson style (you might want to study the work of this iconic street photography master). “It’s basically like capturing a portrait of someone except the subject doesn’t know he’s being photographed so it’s authentic,” Josh explains.
With street photography, you’re essentially free to take photos of anything and anyone (within reasonable bounds) as long as they’re in a public space. As far as subjects go for this particular genre, Josh believes it’s either someone who looks unique or someone nice to look at. Also, it’s best if they’re doing something interesting instead of just standing or walking past you. Your best bet? Josh suggests babies, old people, lone subjects, and people with animals. Any peculiarity that you can capture like your subjects walking with a cane or picking their nose would add humor, drama, or intrigue to your photos.
One of the trickiest situations you may also encounter when you do street photography is when your subjects get confrontational. Before you wiggle out of this, keep in mind to be careful, respectful, and have a smile ready. People are usually more tolerant if you explain calmly what you’re doing. Also, to avoid any possible legal trouble, don’t shoot people when they’re in their private space, such as next to the windows of their homes.
Lastly, Josh recommends playing with light, and scouting for locations where the light falls beautifully on your subject or the surroundings. Shooting during the golden hours of the morning and late afternoon can give your street snaps a dramatic look.
For more tips from Josh Katz, don’t forget to visit and subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Screenshot image taken from the video by Josh Katz