A while back now I wrote a “Quick guide to street photography” which was very well received and it even got translated into Italian. Following on from that article we were able to run a really fun street photography competition on the RAW Facebook group with an awesome prize from Tiffen.
Since than street photography has always been quite a stead feature in the RAW Facebook group so I thought it might be worth writing this article outlining some steps you can take to push your street photography to the next level!
1. Move away from the homeless and street performers (buskers)
I think everyone at some stage has taken photos of buskers and the homeless. The reason for this is they are relatively easy subjects to capture. Street performers are always doing something of interest and usually will play up to the camera, where the homeless provide that gritty scene which many will automatically associate with street photography.
If the above statement describes your street photography, don’t feel bad about it, they may have provided the entry point into your street photography life, but now it’s time to start standing out from the crowd and looking to capture those moments in time which happen around you.
2. Stop reading gear reviews and get out there
Photographers in general spend way to much time looking at gear reviews, and lusting over the latest equipment. Street photographers are no different, you might be eyeing off a new Leica or perhaps a new mirrorless camera.
The fact is that the latest cameras or lenses will not make your photos any better. In street photography more than anything else it is about the moment. The type of camera you use has nothing to do with being in the right place at the right time and having the patience to allow the scene to unfold in front of you before pushing the shutter button.
3. Keep it simple stupid
One lens, one camera that’s it. Remember the idea with street photography is to blend in and capture life as it unfolds. Having a camera bag, changing lenses, using large lenses, zooming lenses all draws unwanted attention.
4. Get your colour on
Street photography doesn’t have to be shot in colour. I shoot mine in black and white because I like the process of self developing my own film, however those digital photographers out there or if you are sending your film away to be developed should try shooting in colour. Who knows you might find your groove.
5. Sharp isn’t always right
So much of traditional or conventional photography talks about sharpness however street photography sometimes works a lot better with your subjects out of focus or blurred. It depends on the subject but experiment and see what you come up with.
6. Get up close
Don’t shoot with a 70-200 and pick people off like a sniper. As the saying goes “if your photos aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”, so put on a brave face use a wide’ish lens and go for it.
7. Zone Focus
depending on the camera you are using focus speed might let you down. A tried and true technique used by street photographers all around the world is “zone focusing”.
Basically all you do is set a distance on your lens, 1 meter or less depending on how game you are. With an aperture of around 5.6-8 you have some room to move. You either wait for your subject to come to you or you walk up to your subject and “click” when you’re in range.
There you have it, 7 tips that will push your street photography to the next level. Drop by the RAW Facebook group and share your street photography. Alternatively you could share some in the comments below 🙂