Street photography has become very popular recently, and it’s a subject many photographers are experimenting with. Street photography is simply documenting life around you in towns and cities, and illustrating the people and places seen every day. Candid photography in public places has been popular for decades, and many photographers have become famous for this style. Changing social trends and new technology has led to this documentary style being called street photography.
Any form of photojournalism requires a careful balance between interacting with your subject and not interfering. Successful street photography involves being brave when photographing strangers, but staying anonymous and unnoticed for the majority of the time. The following tips will guide you to produce some original and creative street photography pictures.
1) Know your location.
Although it’s often achieved by photographing people, great street photography involves capturing the mood and flavor of places. Your own town or city is a great place to start, and as your skills develop you can move to new locations. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t familiar with a place, but you should do some research in advance to understand the areas likely to offer the best pictures. Markets, railway stations and places where people gather to eat are all great places for street photography. You are less likely to stand out as a photographer in locations where tourists and visitors gather.
2) Dress to blend in.
Even though you may be a stranger in a place, dress to blend in with the locals. Wear casual clothes so that other people will assume you are just going about your business like everyone else. Avoid looking like you are a photographer. Keep your camera in a pocket or casual bag, and don’t carry equipment cases or other clues as to your true purpose.
3) Keep equipment simple.
The surge in popularity of street photography has partly been driven by mobile phone photography. Most people have a mobile phone with a good camera facility, and it’s common to see people snapping shots in public. If you choose to use a digital SLR camera, stick to one camera body and a short zoom lens. Using telephoto zoom lenses allows you to shoot from a distance, but these shots can look remote and may not suit the street photography style.
4) Shoot in automatic mode.
Speed is one of the key elements of photojournalism, and shooting in automatic mode means you can focus on framing and capturing the moment. Leave your camera to deal with exposing and focusing each shot. Aperture priority mode is a great option for street photography, and means you can select a wide aperture and isolate your subject from the background. Switch off any audible alerts on your camera so as not to draw attention as you take each shot.
5) Tell stories.
Successful street photography is all about capturing the culture and heart of a place. It’s possible to do this without photographing people, and a series of shots of street signs, and local food and transport can illustrate a city. However, it’s really the people that make a place unique. Photographing local people as they eat, drink, shop and go about their daily lives makes fascinating pictures. Finding unique moments which tell a story is what really makes a great street photograph. A shared joke between old friends, a goodbye kiss between lovers or an embrace of a parent and child are the moments that stand out in pictures.