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Shooting Street Photography: Tips and Tricks
Photo by Masahiro Miyagi

Shooting Street Photography: Tips and Tricks

Published on July 13, 2022
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It's hard to think about street photography without mentioning realism. Something about cities, streets, and their inhabitants offers an authentic glimpse into all our lives; regardless of sharing a postal code. Plus, street photography can be, at times, a welcomed change from a society preoccupied with presenting perfection as we so often see on social media. In a way, it is a metaphor for how the stock photography world has changed over the years as well, as people can clearly see through staged scenarios attempting to depict real life.

Street photography, rather, focuses on shooting imperfection. Its raw, authentic, in-the-moment nature is unapologetic and growing extremely popular. Evoking this sentiment in your own photography can be a great tool to captivate your viewers. And we'll show you exactly how to do so.

 

Photo by Alex Motoc

Be an Observer 

For candids to carry real quality, often it just comes down to luck— you have to be at the right place at the right time. However, being constantly on the move carries the risk of a special moment simply passing you by. So, rather than perusing the streets hunting for the perfect shot, pick a spot brimming with action and just observe. Focus all of your energy on watching people and your surroundings from afar to anticipate your upcoming shots. The fleeting magic of those raw moments can only be captured if you're in the best position to do so.

Practice in Your Corner 

If you think that in order to capture gritty street photography you need to travel to exotic destinations, you might be missing the point. There are no prerequisites for shooting real life, all you ever need is to step outside your doorstep. You know your neighborhood like the back of your hand. Use this to your advantage. Photograph the liveliest parts of where you live and show people the beauty of your immediate surroundings.

 

Photo by Stanislav Margolin

Find Scenes Without People 

A lot of people automatically assume that street photography must contain people. Considering how much streets have to offer by themselves, that rule does not always ring true. A commonly accepted definition of street photography may refer explicitly to capturing candid human moments, but scenes suggesting hints of life make for striking photographs as well. Since humans leave their mark wherever they go, sometimes it's best to opt them out and show the aftermath.

Keep Body Compositions and Reactions in Mind 

Since you are working with non-models, you need to turn a considerable part of your attention to body language. Eyes, gestures, facial expressions, body postures—they all tell a story. For this point, you need to stay on the lookout for any interesting body compositions or reactions that hint at how your subject might be feeling as they go about their day.

 

Photo by Dewang Gupta

Embrace Chaos and Visual Flaws

Lean as much as possible into the candid nature of street photography. Incorporate grain, noise, and blur into your shots. Visual imperfections are a shorthand for life not always being perfect, adding another element of authenticity to your work.

Shoot in Black and White 

A black and white high-contrast aesthetic neatly fits into the soul and grit experienced while out on the street. So, when shooting, shoot RAW. Crank up the ISO to high (3500 or higher) and add grain that'll pain your images with excellent dramatic depth.

Photo by Eilis Garvey

Take a LOT of Photos 

While sound advice for any kind of photography, this point especially rings true when you're shooting out on the street. With so much happening so fast, the stakes are simply too high; you have to think quickly on your feet to secure the perfect shot. Improve your chances at success by shooting as much as you can, whenever you can.