When you’re just starting to use the camera, taking good street photography might seem like a scary thing. That’s mainly because with most other genres, the photographer has an active part in staging, manipulating or compositing the scenery. Street photography on the other hand is much more like a documented observation of real life, which doesn’t include any collaboration or intervention with the subject.
And although the street provides easily accessible subjects for photographers, requiring no travel, lighting, or models, the biggest challenge comes from having to work with predefined locations and capturing candid moments without any outside interference.
If you want to learn photography and get an idea about how to take the best street photos, this easy and comprehensive tutorial explains the fundamental concepts you should know about street photography.
1. Getting Accustomed With The Street
The first step to shooting good photos on the street is to get out of your comfort zone, and become confident when using the camera without feeling like all eyes are on you. Most inexperienced photographers feel like they drew all the attention from people passing by, and this usually makes it impossible for them to shoot natural looking photos. Most of all this “attention” is only imaginary anyway, as the majority of the people passing by you on the street don’t really care about you, or your camera.
2. Capture The Action
If you don’t know what to shoot, just take photos of people participating in activities, or simply passing by. If you position yourself in a crowded area all you will need to do is set up your camera with the focus in the right place, and wait for somebody to walk into the frame. If you dread being spotted when engaging in street photography, then seek out people who are engrossed in a particular activity which doesn’t leave them time to look around. Consider all the senses and try to capture colour, taste, movement, texture, shape.
3. Wide Angle Lenses
When you discover an interesting scene that you want to photograph take a good look at the whole frame. If you have wide angle lenses, they will be great for street photography where it’s sometimes best to capture wide shots. Maybe you want to snap a picture of a famous building or the entire street, but you can’t get the shot you want to fit in the image. With a 28 mm or 24 mm wide-angle lens, you can capture large images without having to move the camera back. Also, when shooting with wide-angle lenses, objects near the camera continue to appear larger, while objects in the distance appear extremely small, thus enhancing the perspective of the image. Perspective is what gives flat pictures a three-dimensional quality.
When shooting photos on the street, dramatic lighting created by harsh sunlight, nighttime, or rainy days is one of the most desired situations. Wondering why? Because this type of light allows you to create hard shadows, sharp edges and punchy, bold images. You can even try shooting silhouette photos from other non-natural sources of light, like a street lamp or lit up sign. When used right, hard lighting can give your photos a very graphic, and bold look that produces an unique aesthetic.