I have a strong interest in Photography and am constantly learning to improve the quality of my shoots.
Street Photography is a type of photography whereby the photographer captures moments in the streets. What makes street photography impactful is being able to capture these moments without it being scripted. What do I mean by this?
Well, have you ever been asked to stand in front of an attraction and somebody captures a photo of you? This is how these photos typically turn out.
In all honesty, though, this picture does not look bad. But there are techniques that can make that moment even more impactful. This is where Street Photography comes into play. So, let’s explore how to properly execute Street Photography.
What Is Street Photography?
Before we continue any further, what exactly is Street Photography?
Wikipedia defines it as:
Street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.
That’s a pretty good explanation, if I had to say so myself. To me, Street Photography is simple.
Photography taken to capture and emphasise the current moment.
Street Photography can be literally anything. From a dog relieving itself to a couple kissing. As long as it does involve any element of directing the subject, I would consider this a good Street Photography basic.
Samples Of Good Street Photography
Here are some samples of some good Street Photography.
When Is The Best Time For Street Photography?
So, now you have the knowledge and some samples of what Street Photography is. The question now is, when is the best time for Street Photography. There are no right or wrong answers to this question. It depends entirely on your preference.
You can shoot in the golden hours, early morning or even the evening. Over the years, different photographers have different perspectives on when the best timing to do Street Photography. Different timings will give off a different mood to your photos.
One of the most widely recommended period to go out and get your Street Photography game going is during the period of 1 hour prior to sunrise or sunset. The orange lighting gives a nice boost to the emotions depicted in the photos.
It is during this period that makes it easy to capture dramatic shots. Just find a subject, align yourself to the light source, and you are off to get some dramatic looking photos. During this period, you will get a more relaxed vibe from the photos.
During this period, this can be challenging to new photographers but with practice, it should get easier. Why this period is not that bad a time for Street Photography is due to you being able to witness people getting ready to start their day.
You will get a different set of emotion if you're to capture during this period. You will get more of an energetic vibe from the photos.
This is also another one of the popular times for Street Photography. The dark environment mixed with the bright lights help give off the mood of getting ready to turn in for the night. It can also be used to portray the peaceful streets.
Fancy to snuggle in bed with your warm blanket during rainy days? Well, that’s the kind of mood you will be able to capture if you were to capture photos during this period. The dark, moody atmosphere mixed with some rain drops can enhance the quality of the photos you capture.
Finding the best lighting conditions to suit your personality takes time and practice. Just keep applying proper techniques to all of your shots, and you will slowly improve as a street photographer.
So, now that we have covered the timing for Street Photography, how do we exactly start with Street Photography?
How To Start With Street Photography?
There’s actually no real way to start Street Photography. A basic starter set to go with Street Photography will be as follows.
- Your choice of camera
- Your eyes
- A subject
- A background
- Tripod (Optional)
Yeah, you will not be carrying much gear when you are out there shooting Street Photography.
How I normally find a subject is through simply observing what people are doing. It can be eating, playing chess, or even simply watching their dogs relieving itself. As long as that subject intrigues you, then you may have a good subject at hand there.
Once you have identified the subject, you will now have to isolate this subject without instructing the subject. So, move your legs and position yourself such that you are able to have a clear isolated shot of the subject with the action that he is performing clearly visible in the frame.
Once you think you have the perfect frame, then squeeze that shutter button at the moment that you think is perfect to enhance the emotion of the shot. Again, this comes with practice and one thing to note with Street Photography, you should never rush to capture your shots. Take your time and really observe for that perfect shot.
Never ever rush the photo.
Here are some bonus tips that may or may not directly affect the quality of your photos.
1. Thank Your Subject
Yes, you got that right. If you are capturing a portrait of your subject, it is always best to thank the subject for that shoot. This is to prevent any misunderstanding that could occur as you are pointing your camera directly in front of the subject's face, and not everybody is comfortable with a camera directly in front of their faces.
So, just thank them and move on to your next subject.
2. Request For Permission
Similar to the first tip above, depending on where you are from, it is always best to request for permission to capture an image of the subject to prevent any misunderstandings.
3. Look Out For Estates With An Older Population
This is my personal preference. Doing Street Photography, I find that matured subjects tend to give off a more relaxed emotion to my photos.
Again, this is just preference, and it’s a good place to start if you are looking to get a relaxed emotion from your photos.
4. Act Naturally
I can’t stress this enough. Do not behave in a manner where it’s unnatural. This could easily startle your subjects and thus result in poor shots. Just be natural, approach your subject naturally and try to befriend the subject if need be.
I hope this short article can help you kickstart your Street Photography hobby. Think I missed out on some useful tips? Simply drop a comment below.
If you enjoyed my article, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Muhammad Shairazi