When I visit a large city, like New York, I approach photography much differently. Instead of my normal occupation of taking portraits, I focus on street photography. Street photography is a type of documentary photography that captures candid situations in public places likes streets or parks. Street photography in its essence is a snapshot of real life moments.

To get some great photographs here are some tips and tricks to help you get some great street photographs.

street photography tips

Street Photography Tip #1: Use a Wide Lens

The 35mm {my lens of choice} and the 50mm are the two most popular lenses for street photography. A prime-wide angle lens is small and doesn’t stand out as much as super zoom {see below}. Also, when you use a wide-angle lens, you can capture your subject without shooting them directly.

Street Photography Tip #2: Don’t Stand Out

Being discreet is a very important in street photography. You want to blend into your surroundings. Don’t wear bright colors or anything that might draw attention. In a crowded city, like New York, many people wear a camera slung around their neck, so it’s not such a big deal. But if you are shooting in a smaller town, you want to purposely dress to blend in. I have been toying around with purchasing this amazing lens. It’s the super secret lens! The attachment fits at the end of your SLR zoom lens. It has a secret cut-out on the side and a precision mirror inside. You can shoot left, right, up or down all while appearing to shoot straight ahead of you. This is perfect for capturing candids! Another thing to keep in mind is to turn off any beeps or sounds your camera might make! You may also want to turn off the play back on your LCD screen. When you’re on the street, just shoot. Wait until you’re back at home or in your hotel room to see what you got.

street photography tips

Street Photography Tip #3: Be Respectful

Photographing people in public, in most areas, is legal. You don’t need to worry about permission unless you are going to use the photographs for commercial purposes. However, it’s good to check  the regulations for the places you will be shooting. If you happen to catch the eye of your subject and they figure out that you’ve taken their picture, be respectful. If they ask you to delete their picture, just do it. If they don’t mind, thank them. (And tell them to watch Picaboo’s Facebook page for their picture to be posted!)

Street Photography Tip #4: Just Shoot

Don’t worry about your depth of field or how much bokeh you can capture when shooting street photography. You want to capture the moments, especially the stolen ones. Also, you want to make sure you the backdrop is in focus as it adds to the story of your photograph.

street photography tips

Street Photography Tip #5: Watch Your Shutter Speed

For hand-held shooting, there is a simple rule you can remember when it comes to shutter speed. Your shutter speed should equal the focal length of your lens. Since I primarily shoots with my 35mm, my shutter speed should be at least 1/35th of a second. This will help prevent blur due to camera shake.

Street Photography Tip #6: Black & White vs. Color

Traditionally, documentary and street photography are shot in black and white. This is my personal preference 95% of the time. But there are times when color adds to your photograph. My general rule is, if color doesn’t add anything to the photo, stick to black and white. If you want, you can always convert your images into black and white and sepia tone in PicMonkey. And you can always convert images into black and white and sepia tone in Picaboo when you’re
creating your projects.

street photography tips

Street Photography Tip #7: Watch Backdrops

Backdrops can make or break a photograph. Remember to use leading lines, the rule of thirds and switch up your angles to make your photographs active. These are important techniques for all shots. Not just street photography.

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I asked a couple of bloggers to share some anecdotes from their experiences shooting street photography. Here’s what they had to say:

I love taking candid photos of random people on the street, but I’m really shy. So I just pretend I’m really interested in something in the distance and sneak a shot of the people without them knowing. I’ve caught a lot of my favorite vacation shots that way. People almost always make a photo more interesting, even when you don’t know them. ~ Lolli

Often when I’m waiting for a client, I’ll snap pictures of cute couples walking by. Then I usually say: “Hey, I’m a photographer and I saw you walking and snapped your photo. Here’s my card, if you want I can email them to you.” People love getting their picture taken and I love interesting shots of people.  ~ Clarissa

I always ask mothers if I can take a photo of their kids if they are in a scene I want to photograph. They always say yes and I never have a guilty conscious! ~ Jenn

Your challenge this week is to hit streets, whether they are the streets of a big city or a small town. Get out there! Make sure you share your street photography on the Facebook page.

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