15 Street Photography Tips and Tricks: How to Capture Compelling Images Today (2018)

An article on 15 tips for street photographers to learn to capture compelling images.


Here’s the thing:

Just recently I published an article on large sensor compact cameras​​, and the majority of those were highly advisable for street photographers (in particular).

And that’s how the idea was born to write about ​street photography tips and tricks​.

Now…

​Street photography has always been and always will be the most “accessible” genre.

To get creative in this genre, what you’ll need as a photographer is your keen interest to observe the world around you and the right (compact) equipment.

Here’s an overview of what to expect:

15 Street Photography Tips (For Beginners)


  1. Use A Compact, Inconspicuous Camera
  2. Do Not Dress to Impress
  3. Use Silent Shooting mode
  4. Choose a Light-Weight Camera
  5. Get Creative, Find New Angles
  6. Capturing Photos with Reflections
  7. Use the Burst Mode in Street Photography
  8. Experiment With Long Exposures
  9. Play With Color and B&W Modes
  10. Cameras With Electronic Viewfinders
  11. Use Different Lenses
  12. Don’t Shoot During Blue and Golden Hours Only
  13. Photograph Non-Touristy Parts of A Town (Too)
  14. Have a Spare Battery Handy
  15. Buy Cameras With the Wi-Fi Feature


Some of the questions that you’ll have answers to:

  • How to recognize a good photo opportunity and/or capture sincere emotions?
  • How to take better street photographs (by staying inconspicuous)?

Let’s get started.


1). Use A Compact, Inconspicuous Camera

​Here’s the thing:

Good street photography cameras are small and inconspicuous.

And this is something the French pioneer of street photography genre, Henri Cartier-Bresson​​, was talking about. In fact, he would tape the shiny parts of his camera to stay “invisible” to the world.

Now…

Modern compacts positively changed the way we take candid street photos.

  1. People don’t pay too much attention to point-and-shoot or compact system cameras​.
  2. You can easily shoot from the hip.
  3. If the camera has an articulating touch screen, then you can use your finger to focus on an object in the frame, while simultaneously releasing the shutter.

Pretty awesome.

An image of the rainbow (LGBTQ) crosswalk in Netherlands (as an example for street photographers).
Netherlands · Nikon D3200 · 18.0mm · ƒ/9.0 · 10/3200s · ISO 100

2) Do Not Dress to Impress

Contrary to popular advice, do not dress to impress.

I mean, I wouldn’t wear skirts and heels when street photographing​​ because receiving all the attention will interfere with my shooting process.

​Don’t you agree?


3) Use Silent Shooting mode

This will be ideal.

​Having a silent shutter will help you take photos without disturbing/distracting people around you. (Especially when continuous shooting.)

Basically, it’ll help you to never miss a moment.


4) Choose a Lightweight Camera

Street photography means you’ll be walking around a lot to find that scene or object that’s worth capturing.

This also means that you want to “travel” as light as you can.

Luckily, today we have a lot of small mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses that will easily fit in your purse/bag.

It gets better:

There are also a lot of compacts with a fixed lens that are so small and light that you slip it in your pocket.

Again, this will help you stay inconspicuous and the camera’s bulk won’t slow you down.


5) Get Creative, Find New Angles

Experiment with different angles and framing to capture compelling images.

  • Should you go with the “birds-eye view”?
  • Perhaps take shots at ground level?
  • Or maybe some other unique way to capture the moment?

Without a doubt:

Street photography is an awesome subject to get creative with.​


6) Capturing Photos with Reflections 

​Finding unique angles isn’t the only way you can get creative street photography.

Photos with reflections (or smoke/steam) add that sense of mystery.

An image of the person's reflection in a puddle. Using reflection in photography is one of the well-known tips for street photographers.
Olympus E-M10 · 37.0mm · ƒ/5.3 · 1/500s · ISO 800

Any sort of reflective surface:

  • mirrors,
  • windows,
  • car hoods,
  • water (and even puddles)

… will work.

If done right, using reflection in photography will lead to stunning images.

Again, this is where you get a sense of “mystery”, this is where the parallel realities become intertwined.​


7) Using the Burst Mode in Street Photography

If you’re observing a particular person and/or action, or expecting some sort of “climax” to the scene, then use continuous shooting mode​​.

​The ability to capture several frames per second​ will guarantee that you’ll get the shot you’ll be satisfied with.


8) Experiment With Long Exposures

Look:

​There’s a never ending movement on the streets.

Cars, pedestrians, cyclists with some interesting objects in the background…

Having used a long shutter speed, you’ll be able to convey the dynamics of the urban rhythm, or you’ll accentuate on a fixed object, which will give the shot multiple meanings.​

Nasim says it well:

“Shutter speed is responsible for two particular things: changing the brightness of your photo, and creating dramatic effects by either freezing action or blurring motion.​”​​

An image with the use of long exposure (long shutter speed) that's one of the street photography tips.


9) Play With Color and B&W Modes

There will be debates about color vs. black and white for as long as photography lives.

Here, I will just say one thing:

Just like with the long shutter speed, experiment with color and black & white modes. Street photography is all about creativity, so be creative​!


10) Cameras With Electronic Viewfinders

Using cameras with electronic viewfinders will help you see an image as it is. Don’t rely too much on post-processing.

This way you can make sure even plain scenes look interesting.


11) Use Different Lenses

Use different lenses (unless you own a digital camera with a fixed lens).

This advice isn’t for beginner street photographers only, but also for professionals who want to add something new and creative into their work.

It will help you train your photography eye and expand your vision.


12) Don’t Shoot During Blue and Golden Hours Only

Street photography with Fujifilm X100F (one of the best large sensor compact camera)
Fujifilm X100F · 33.0mm · ƒ/2.0 · 1/90s · ISO 3200

​While it’s important to choose a particular time for landscape photography (for example, shooting before 11am or after 5pm), shooting during the golden and blue hour only doesn’t really work for street photography.

You see snow, fog, rain or blizzard?

It’s time to go out and start shooting!


13) Photograph Non-Touristy Parts of A City

​When it comes to street photography, you can capture sincere emotions and the true life of the city anywhere you are.

Don’t just go to touristy places.

Look around you and you’ll see excellent scenes that are worth photographing.


14) Have a Spare Battery Handy

​Last thing you want is to have your battery die on you just when you wanted to take that awesome image.

Usually I recommend keeping a spare battery handy, especially if we’re talking about compact cameras/point-and-shooters.

Especially when you’re out shooting in the cold.


15) Buy Cameras With The Wi-Fi Feature

​Here’s the thing:

If you are photographing some sort of city event, whether it’s a festival, a strike, or a sports event, share your best photos on your social media accountsright away.

This way you will not only save time but also convey emotion and feeling in photographs​ at its peak!


Taking Better Street Photographs



There is one last thing I wanted to say:

You won’t get photography masterpieces every time you go out as there are a lot of factorsinvolved, among it being luck, having the right mood, as well as a number of external circumstances of the city life.

Just enjoy your shooting process.

Understand that your main purpose is to learn how to feel the world around you and capture the moments.

Be patient. Be persistent.

Now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • ​What are your tips for street photographers?

15 Street Photography Tips and Tricks: How to Capture Compelling Images Today (2018)
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