6 Things To Consider When Shooting Street Photography

Some of you who have been around on my blog since the start of the year will know that I started getting into manual photography (figuring out all the settings yourself rather than leaving your camera on auto the whole time) back in January. However, I’ve been interested in shooting photos of things that are happening on the streets for quite a while longer than that. I think this interest in street photography stemmed from travelling – coming into contact with ways of life so different to what I experience back home made me want to capture these moments on camera.

I’m still very much learning about shooting photos on the street, but I do feel like I’ve learnt a few things about street photography since I started getting into it. So today, in collaboration with Panasonic, I thought I’d share those tips with you all. I’ve been aware of Panasonic cameras for almost as long as I’ve been interested in photography – my dad has had several different models over the years and has always had great things to say about them. One he doesn’t have yet though is the recently released Lumix mirrorless camera, which is capable of shooting high quality images and videos in 4K. Sounds like it could be a great companion for shooting on the street!

cute couple sharing food in new york

But no matter what camera you have, there are several things that I think are important to take into account if you are looking to get into street photography. Here are my top six…

Privacy and Respect

The first one, and arguably the most important, is of course to know the boundaries of what you can and can’t shoot. This one is mainly common sense really – don’t shoot into any private spaces (through windows that aren’t public ones, into gardens, etc.) or take photos of anyone who makes it clear they’re not interested. Something I haven’t yet mastered is asking people’s permission to take their photo – some photographers insist this is good practice but many argue that it can ruin the ‘in the moment’ nature of street photography. But if someone seems upset with me pointing the camera their way I will stop. You don’t want your subjects to be uncomfortable!

man with bike in amsterdam, the netherlands

Most of the time people are either indifferent or thrilled to be captured though.

Subject

So now you’ve gotten yourself over that initial hurdle, you’ve got to actually choose your subject. This is normally an easy one – someone who stands out in some way because of what they’re wearing or what they’re doing is a good place to start.

portrait of man in colourful t-shirt in new york

Or even just someone who is standing/sitting in the right place at the right time.

construction worker

Once you’ve found someone to take a photo of, you’ve got to figure out how to capture them best. The rest of the considerations I mention below are all about working that out…

Distance

The distance between you and your subject can make a huge difference to the overall feel of your image when shooting street photography. Do you want to put space between you, to have various focal points in your image?

woman watering plants out window in greece, athens

Or do you want to get up close and personal? The latter can be a lot harder to achieve, and definitely requires greater confidence, but it can look great if you can pull it off!

man drinking juice in chinatown, new york

Lighting

This is one I really want to improve at. The way lighting is used in photos totally changes the mood, and shooting on the street offers up plenty of opportunity for capturing strong shadows.

streets of new york, woman crossing road

I’m not sure I’ve taken many photos with great lighting yet, so instead I’ll share with you a couple of Instagram accounts whose lighting makes me drool. (Not literally.)

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 11.07.24

Harry W. Edmonds

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 11.05.36

Brandon Wang

Colour

This is another one I’m trying to improve at. A desire to capture colour is probably the thing that got me into photography in the first place, and although colour exists all over the place, it can be challenging to capture it in a satisfying way.

Blue umbrella and red jumper contrasting colours

I couldn’t write about colour in photography without mentioning my current favourite street photographer…

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 11.13.47

Joshua K. Jackson

Framing

Last but definitely not least, framing. Particular framing is definitely noticeable in the screenshot of Joshua’s Instagram account above – all the images are quite cropped, taking out a lot of the context of the photo. This is a great technique because it makes the viewer curious to know more of the story. Think of it as holding something back to keep people engaged and wanting more. Don’t reveal everything, tantalise them!

Woman potrait in New York

Another great way to frame street photos is by creating more distance, like I mentioned before, in order to create a story bigger than the subject itself. In this way you can create more of a street scene, rather than simply intriguing portraits.

Outside Radio City Music Hall, New York

And so that concludes six considerations for street photography – I hope any beginners to this area of taking photos find this genuinely helpful.

I’ve started posting my attempts at street photography on my Instagram account @alysjournals, so if you’d like to follow along with my journey to hopefully improving my shots check that out!

If you’re already into street photography, chances are you have some different ideas about how you go about taking photos, so tell me what tips you have in the comments below…

Anf if you’re looking for tips for getting into manual photography, then you’re in luck as I have written a post all about that right here ๐Ÿ™‚


This post is sponsored by Panasonic. All views are my own.


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28 thoughts on “6 Things To Consider When Shooting Street Photography

  1. questionsfromateenager says:

    Alys, your street photography is STUNNING! I really, really enjoyed this post. There’s so much to learn from it and as photography is something that interests me greatly, I am always on the lookout for new tips and tricks. Street photography in particular is something I have always wanted to try and hope to do so soon. You should definitely do more photography-related content from time to time, I would really annoy that and I think others could also benefit a lot from that! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paolo B. says:

    Been digging your photos on the Gram lately! Can tell you’ve been enjoying it. I just purchased my cam beginning of year so exploring photography as well. I love seeing Street photography! I’ll have to do more only problem is it rains a lot where I am so I should have got a weather sealed camera ๐Ÿ˜… oh well work with what you got right! Thx for the tips Alys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Aww thank you so much, that makes me smile! Hmm that’s a problem I face too – but I also love street photos taken in the rain so I think I need to get out there with an umbrella or something haha ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another Little Birdie says:

    I am just a beginner at photography but I love little “street scenes” as you call them. Especially when there are lots of people around, you can capture so much energy in one little picture. My favorite element of street photography is lighting, and I’m so glad that you mentioned it! The way you can manipulate the lighting to create different moods is so interesting and artistic. Love this post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily says:

    This is such an interesting post, Alys! Your shots are incredible. I love my Panasonic Lumix, but I’m not savvy when it comes to photography, and so I don’t always make the most out of owning it. Taking it to NYC with me for a trip in a couple of weeks, so will definitely keep these tips in mind. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hannah says:

    I love your photography account so much so thank you for sharing all these tips! How do you go about asking someone for permission? Because I would feel awkward asking them if I can take a photograph of them. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dslrwarehouse says:

    Hi. Lovely blog by the way. I took a look at some of your others and enjoy them as well. However, one thing you can do that I’ve done to keep the magic of the candid is, take the photo of the subject, then go ask if you can take their photo. If they say yes, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the candids either. Just a quick mention in regards to the color palettes and themes you see on Instagram accounts. Keep in mind, many of their photos are edited. Specially when the theme is all the same on an Instagram account, its usually a preset with some slight tweaks. Keep up the good work and the more you shoot the better you will get ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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