Street Photography


In some sense, street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid, day-to-day situations within public spaces such as streets, parks, malls, and other settings. Street photography follows the same principles of straight photography in that it shows an unedited depiction of something, or someone.

Quite often, street photography is performed on the move. Therefore, the street photographer does not have much time available for planning his/her shots. Adjusting to the energy of the streets requires fast thinking and quick reaction. Street photos can include (yet not limited to) people, architectural elements, street performances, signs, etc.

Here are TEN THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND when starting out in street photography:

1. Look your subject in the eye

Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person’s eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.



2. Shoot the performers

Street performers are great fun to photograph. They expect that people will take their photo during the performance, so you need not worry about ticking them off. Plus, they’re usually good characters and make for great portraits. Just don’t forget to throw a few bucks their way — they aren’t usually out there for the pure fun of it.

gipsy dancer


3. Use a plain background

A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite friend and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.


4. Move in close

If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details of the whole.

But be careful, make sure you stay within the focus range of your camera. Use the ‘zoom’ feature if you can’t get too close. If you get closer than the closest focusing distance of your camera (see your manual to be sure), your pictures will be blurry.

Coney Island - 1

Coney Island - 2


5. Move it from the middle

Center-stage is a great place for a performer to be. However, the middle of your picture is not the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture. Use rule of thirds!

You’ll need to lock the focus if you have an auto-focus camera because most of them focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder.

Coney Island - 3

6. Take some vertical pictures

Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture, from the Eiffel Tower to streets of Venice. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures.



7. Experiment!

Sometimes the best pictures are the ones we take by mistake. Experiment with your camera, move it while taking a picture, use slow speed, place it in front of glass, plastic, etc.



8. Watch the benches

The hard part of catching a candid portrait is that people are moving, things are passing in front of your view, and your window of opportunity passes quickly. People generally sit on benches, which means they’re not moving around too much and they might be there for more than 5 seconds. Look for the subjects that are focused on some task, such as feeding birds or reading a paper.


9. Dare to go diagonal

Don’t just hold your camera horizontally – experiment with angles. Street photography is a less formal medium – make the most of it.


brooklyn bridge

Make your own photography book!

Create your own book from online services like It’s very easy to have your photos published, and a great way to keep those photographic moments organized.

For more tips & information:

Great StreetPhotography resource, for inspiration: