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Posted By Topshot Photographers

Street Photography

Posted: 10 October 2019

Street photography is all about capturing chance interactions of everyday human activity within urban areas, but unlike documentary photography, the general content of the scene or its precise location is immaterial. What counts is the creative quality of the snapshot. How interesting, funny or extraordinary it is. Very often it is a matter of timing. It is a genre of photography that records everyday life in a public place. The very publicity of the setting enables the photographer to take candid pictures of strangers, often without their knowledge. Street photographers do not necessarily have a social purpose in mind but prefer to isolate and capture moments that might otherwise go unnoticed.  Street photography is a beautiful, spontaneous art form. It requires patience and a lot of luck to get good and meaningful shots. But its unpredictability is what makes it appealing and rewarding. Like any creative field, street photography has some time-tested criteria, but remember: rules are meant to be broken. Once you understand the heart of street photography, you can unleash your creativity to make street photography your own.

Starting out in street photography can be quite an overwhelming experience. A lot is happening all around you all at once. You don’t really know what you should capture and what you shouldn’t. As a beginner, learn to use selective vision to overcome this anxiety. By looking only for specific things and letting everything else go, the street becomes much less intimidating and allows you to capture moments and emotions that you might otherwise miss. Of course, you’re not limited to one aspect of street photography. Once you know what to look for, you can experiment with whatever styles, techniques, and subjects you want. But simply knowing what to look for can be a daunting challenge for beginners.

Street Photography Tips and Ideas to Get You Started

Photographing strangers can be a little intimidating at first. Here are a few tips to ease you into street photography.

1. Shoot from a Distance

Until you are more comfortable getting close to your subjects, shoot from a bit farther away. I do not mean pull out your telephoto, though. Instead, look for environmental scenes with interesting characters and take a documentary approach. Shooting from across the street can make you feel more at ease.

2. Photograph Street Animals

Who doesn’t love a good shot of a dog or a cat? Furthermore, shooting street animals often leads to conversations with their owners, making an excellent segway into shooting a street portrait too! When photographing animals, don’t forget to get down low. A close, wide perspective makes for far more interesting shots.

3. Use contrasty light

Most photographers tend to hang up their gear when the light is harsh. However, this is a great time to play with light and shadow in street photography. Look for pockets of light and observe how the light plays off people walking in and out of it. Look for pops of color coming out of the darkness. When you are shooting in these conditions, pay careful attention to your exposure.

4. Enjoy the process

Don’t stress if you’re not getting decent shots all the time. Try to enjoy the process. Consider getting shots as a secondary result. Talk to people. Say thanks and smile. Try to learn from their experiences.

5. Be courteous

 Just because you have a camera in your hand doesn’t give you a license to invade people’s privacy. Always smile and be ready to delete an image if asked.

6. Get your contact information ready

Bring your business cards with you to give to the people you photograph. Offer to email your subjects the pictures if they want. People shouldn’t think you have some sinister agenda with their photographs. Plus, it’s a joy to share your work with others. After all, street photography is about capturing humanity.