Beginner to Expert: The Ultimate 50 Street Photography Tips for You

Try an Off-Camera Flash

This Street Photograph Tip will get you out of your comfort zone.

When I first saw a Street Photography video with Bruce Gilden using an off-camera flash I thought that he was crazy — well maybe he is — but the images he got out of that technique looked great.

I was sure that if I tried the same thing in my hometown that I would be met with very hostile reactions.

After overcoming my initial fear and trying the off-camera flash technique myself, I can only say that it is way easier than I would have thought. People usually don’t care about the flash at all and at night, photographers have to use a flash anyway.

You can experiment at night and slower shutter speeds, or help yourself during the day when it is cloudy outside. The flash can literally bring highlights to your photographs.

Be Comfortable around Strangers

Street Photography has to do a lot with confidence and overcoming your own social boundaries. Being withheld by your own social restrictions doesn’t allow your creative freedom to reach your photography completely.

You have to be bold, to get every picture and not be afraid of strangers that you photograph.

Take the camera everywhere you go, wear it as a necklace and don’t worry too much about the opinion of some strangers on the street.

Look for the Background

When we spot a scene for the first time it is mostly because the subject is so interesting that it caught our attention. The subject is important, but what is even more important is that it is displayed in the best possible way.

If the background is too chaotic or cluttered, which can happen often in a city environment, the subject won’t stand out and disappear in this chaos.

Before you press the shutter button, always make sure that the background is appealing.

You can, for example, shoot from a lower angle, high up or use a smaller aperture to at least blur the background a bit.

Post-Process as little as possible

In other genres, the post-production or retouching is a normal part of the photography workflow and sometimes takes even longer than the photoshoot itself.

Candid Photography should be about real scenes and show the unaltered reality.

When it comes to Post-Processing, keep it stupid simple. Crop the image, increase the contrast or clarity if you like to, but don’t change the picture too much.

The process should be quick and you should keep your attention on the creation of photos.

Post-Processing is only to emphasize the character, not creating it.

Take the Camera Everywhere

Having your camera in public and taking pictures can be quite stressful if you are not used to it. You might believe that your camera gets a lot of attention and get a little paranoid with your thoughts. Thus limiting your own creativity and inducing fear.

By taking the camera everywhere you go, you will be more comfortable carrying that camera with you and overcome your fear to photograph on the street more easily.

Additionally, you are always ready to snap a nice Street Photo. Never miss a shot again because you preferred to leave your camera at home.

Shoot with Your Smartphone

The better the camera, the better the images will be. That is a very poor believe when it comes to Street Photography.

Image quality isn’t that important. Story & emotions should thrive in your photographs.

You might be tempted to buy a bigger camera that has more megapixel because you are dissatisfied with your current style.

Rather than investing a lot of money in a new camera, mix it up and go out on the street to snap pictures with your smartphone.

This will force you to take a different approach, which can be refreshing and inspirational, as well as show you that it doesn’t need to be the newest camera model to take good photographs.

Shoot in the Rain

Whenever there is only a slight chance of rain, I hear a lot of photographers complains and that they refrain from going out to shoot under these circumstances.

They miss out on great opportunities. Rain transforms the city into a whole new world, where the light will be reflected from every direction and you have a lot more toys to play with.

Puddles or Raindrops on windows, for example, are a great chance for Street Images.

Don’t worry about your gear too much, modern cameras can withstand a lot more than you might think. If you want to be on the safe side, consider using an umbrella to cover yourself and the camera. Use the P Auto-mode and you are able to control the camera one-handed.

Shoot Everyday

Street Photography is like sports. The longer you pause, the harder it gets to continue at a high level.

Getting in the zone and keeping your concentration up all the time, requires practice continuously. Of course you won’t find inspiration every day, but going out and looking for opportunities still improves your eye to find promising situations.

If you take breaks for weeks or even months, just like with exercise there is some memory-effect. But it will take some time to reach your best level again.

Also, it will teach you that even the most mundane activities can be used for Street Photography. Do you commute daily to work? Then use this “off-time” for some shots.

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