Street Photography Tips

Wherever in the world you choose to travel, there are always some interesting street photographs of the city. Think of it as snapping shots of whatever it is that piques your interest; food, people, shadows, objects – be confident and keep your camera ready. If travelling with expensive equipment, remember to cover it under your travel insurance and take lots of back up memory and extra battery packs with you.1

Zoom in for Details

Look for things that are unusual or different, and you will create interesting street photographs, for example the local food markets offer many great opportunities. Many countries have markets that display their traditional fruits, vegetables, spices and fish. Use a standard lens or a macro lens to take a handheld image of around f/16 (provided it’s a bright day). Look for bright colors and interesting items that you don’t have at home. Don’t forget to ask for permission first!2

Look for Shadows

As the end of the day draws near, look for interesting shadows and shapes to capture a dramatic street photograph. Make sure that the light source is behind your subject, in our case the bike riders, this way they will appear as black silhouettes. Remember to turn off the flash and use either spot or multi-zone metering mode. Take a reading of just the bright area and then point your camera at your subject and shoot!

Capturing Movement

Busy cities provide great opportunities to capture movement. If you can shoot from an elevated spot such as a building where you get a clear street view, use a standard or wide-angle lens and choose a slow shutter speed of 1/30 – 1 sec. Use a tripod or monopod, or you can use a wall to rest your camera on. Remember to use lines as a point of interest – markings on the roads or even traffic lights.4

Unusual Objects

Objects could be anything from statues or fountains to other people’s belongings such as an interesting car or an old bicycle. Look for an interesting shape and color; where the baby blue contrasts with the red wall. Although the shot itself is standard, it’s the colors that create a ‘holiday in Havana’ feel. Alternatively use a wide-angle lens with a small depth of field and move closer to the vehicle, to create a sense of a larger than life car.

Street Portraits

There are always interesting characters on the street. Remember first to ask permission, even if it is a street performer. It’s probably polite to give some coins! Photograph them doing whatever it is they do. If it’s an interesting looking person, try to capture their image looking natural and inattentive. However, try not to get people into silly poses. Keep the background as uncluttered as possible, although a shot with the subject’s belongings can be interesting.