11 Tips to Street Photography Success- Basics of Photography Series Part 11
Here at Frames Express one of our favourite forms of photography is street photography. Street photography tends to yield the realest and enchanting captures of individuals and their everyday life.
In this month’s Basics of Photography Series, we have created a list of some tips which you can utilise to confidently go out and capture some beautiful images of the world around you as it happens.
1. Look for ‘that’ moment
When you go out with your camera keep your eyes peeled for that special moment, it could be a person who goes strolling past, someone sleeping on the pavement or a conversation you see happening in a doorway. Often it’s easy to capture these moments without invading and from across the street. Simply look out for the moments which make you think, wonder and convey emotion.
Ultimately according to Henri Cartier- Bresson, it’s about ‘the decisive moment’ when everything in a shot simply comes together, perfect timing, perfect capture.
2. Tell a story – steal a moment
Try to interpret the world around you, if you can anticipate the movements and actions of other people before they carry it out then you can prejudge the perfect moment to get your shutter closing and capture the story as it happens.
Juxtaposition is a great style to implement in street photography. It involves looking to portrait a contrast in your image at the same time as a relationship; for example capturing a young child next to a grandfather, fat next to skinny, or opposing/contrasting colours.
4. Find the Perfect stage
It’s not all about the subjects, if you find a great scene which you think would be the ideal backdrop for a shot, be patient and don’t be afraid to stick around with your camera ready and waiting for someone to walk past and get your photo.
And you don’t have to include a person in your captures, if you find an urban landscape which presents a scene of nostalgia or society in the area, strong enough on its own, grab your camera and take a picture.
Although spontaneous photos do generally make the better street photos with the subject carrying on with their lives creating a more natural shot, asking someone to pause in their day can work just as well if you have the right setting and the right individual who is not simply going to plaster on a smile for a shot. The trick is to keep it relaxed and don’t meddle too much in what they were already doing.
6. Capture Expression
A big thing with street photography is its ability to capture and convey emotions, which is best done by getting the subjects expression in the photo. Whether it be happiness, sadness or worry we tend to convey how we are feeling on our face which if captured in a photo can give the viewer a story; why do they feel that way? and then lead them further into the image.
Don’t forget to photograph emotion you need to find the right expressions/ body language and be quick to hit the shutter both to get the emotion before it passes and also so if the subject notices the moment won’t be gone.
7. Start in a crowd
Crowded areas are a great place to start your journey in street photography; you won’t feel noticed, and if you pick the right spot most likely you won’t be the only person with a camera in their hands.
8. Less is more – always carry a camera
At times, it is best in photography to travel about well prepared with a tripod, spare lens etc. However with street photography, due to moments passing quickly and the need for spontaneity the best idea is to carry simply your camera, poised ready quickly take the shot. This also draws much less attention to you from passersby & potential photograph subjects.
9. Try shooting from, the hip
If you have a camera with a tilt viewfinder this is ideal, with this you would be able to remove the need for seeking out and potential eye contact with subject resulting in more candid photos. Shooting from your hip can be a great way to implement this as you also eliminate the camera being directly in eyeline and takes it away from your face. You will need quite a bit of luck with this though to pull off a decent shot.
10. Go wide-angle
Wide angle lenses are a great choice for street photography as you can get up close to the subject and more involved in the scene.
11. Don’t be afraid
One of the biggest concerns when starting up as a street photographer is whether or not you should be asking for subjects permission;there is no law against photographing in a public area, and it’s often the individuals who don’t know they are being captured who make the best captures/ tell the best stories. If you do take a photo and someone asks if you could not photograph them, simply delete it. If you have taken a photo and the subject is unaware either carry on with your day or if you think you made need to get permissions/ want to show off the picture just be friendly, introduce yourself and show them the shot you got of them, often you will find people will be flattered.
What are your top tips for street photography? We’d love for you to share them, simply comment below!
Want to get more ideas on developing your photography skills? Take a look at the other installments in our ‘Basics of Photography Series‘.