Street photography is a certain style of photography that candidly documents everyday subjects, whether that’s people, objects or landscapes, generally in unmanipulated situations. It’s particularly powerful because it’s a direct representation of what’s in front of the lens. Unlike so much photography that we consume these days which is highly stylized and planned to convey a pre thought out message, street photography focuses on “real” moments and emotions. The individual story a picture tells can make an amazing focus for a personalized wall canvas, but it’s a far more difficult style to master than it first appears. Here’s how to take great street photography.
Since this brand of photography doesn’t involve any planning as such, the best way to make sure you’re always ready to snap that captivating shot is to always carry a camera. This is made a lot easier nowadays thanks to the improvement in the quality of smartphone cameras, but ideally you’ll have your main camera on you whenever you venture out. It may sound obvious, but often the most interesting things happen when you’re least expecting them.
Take this example on our Manhattan Taxi Moments canvas. The taxi is the subject and it’s bright yellow color is the focus, but it just happened to be passing when photographer Tom Youngblood took the shot.
Focus on Your Subject
Street photography isn’t all about the technical details, so if there’s not too much need to worry if you don’t know your ISOs from your Apertures. The quality of the image is not as important as what it portrays and the impact that the image has. Because you’re often waiting for things to happen, you can’t always adjust the settings to their optimum anyway so it’s important to try and relinquish that aspect. You don’t want to miss a great shot because you were too busy adjusting the settings on your camera.
Don’t be Scared
Street photography often involves images of people, but taking snaps of strangers without their permission puts a lot of people off. Rest assured, in most countries it’s perfectly within your legal rights to take photographs of people in public spaces. In some instances it may be best to ask for permission, for example if the subject is a child, but don’t be put off through fear or embarrassment.
There are a number of people in this shot, all completely unaware that they’re part of the subject. It’s neither practical nor necessary to ask them for permission, and doing so would have missed this split second instant.
Stand or Sit Still
One of the best tricks to ensure that you’re capturing candid moments is to stand or sit still, as it effectively turns you into a ghost and people simply stop noticing you. Take up a position where there’s action going on around you like outside a busy cafe or on a street corner. Start snapping and you’ll notice just how little notice people take of you.
Take a look at this piece of the subway in Manhattan, the subjects are far more focussed on protecting themselves from the snow than anything else and completely oblivious to the lens. Stay in one place and the subject will come to you.
All of the examples featured in this post are available to purchase from our artists collection along with many other great pieces of street photography. And now you know the secrets to taking your own great street photography, why not create your own custom wall canvas with a shot that you’ve taken?