Street photography can be as equally frustrating as it is rewarding. It’s not easy creating a compelling photograph out of a scene you seemingly have no control over. That’s why many fall at the first hurdle, deeming it too difficult to do well. But like anything, practice prevails, and if you master the basics, you’ll eventually get to a point where you’re creating fantastic street images. To help you on your path to glory, here are five quick fire tips for better street photography.
1. Stand Still for Street Photography
One of the biggest attractions of shooting street is what the community calls “the hunt.” It’s the practice of roaming freely to find a good shot. But this can actually prevent you from successfully getting a street photograph you’re pleased with. Instead, it’s a good idea to slow down and completely stand still. Spend an hour observing your scene, and you’re sure to see countless moments worth capturing.
2. Get Low and Wide for Street Photography
Many street photographers only shoot from their natural level of sight. This is fine for the most part, but it also leads to their work looking too similar. Getting down low and using a wide-angle lens provides more power and strength to your subject, making them more appealing to those that see them.
3. Get Uncomfortably Close
Something to note, we’re not suggesting you make your subjects uncomfortable, but rather, yourself. Getting really close to a subject helps build confidence and forces you to learn how to go unnoticed, even when right in someone’s face. It’s good to pretend you’re having a dialogue with someone behind them, taking shots in the process. It’s easy to do and adds more emotion to your photographs.
4. Turn Off Image Preview
We get it. You think you’re an awesome street photographer, and you love to admire your images as soon as you take them. We’ve all been there. But the reality is that each moment spent blowing smoke up your ass is a moment lost getting the next street photograph. Turn off image preview in your camera settings, and only review your photographs when you load them into Capture One or your preferred choice of editing tool. Film shooters had to do it, so can you!
5. Don’t Learn From Instagram!
To say the street photography hashtag on Instagram is oversaturated is an understatement. And we can guarantee you many of the most followed accounts aren’t the best street photographers. If you really want to learn, buy a photobook, and not a self-published one at that. The true masters of street photography are the ones people will pay to put to print, not just on a digital screen for free. Bystander: A History of Street Photography is a great starting point!
Put Tips to Practice
Tips are only good when you use them. So, don’t just feel good that you read an article about tips for better street photography; get out there and put them in to practice. If you continue to make bad street photographs, you’ll grow to hate the genre. However, if you improve your skill set, we promise you it will be one of the most thrilling genres of photography you can do.