STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

This post contains or may contain affiliate links. we earn from qualifying purchases, refer to our affiliate page


When you are at loss for words capture the same emotions through the lens of your camera, as photographs express and speak louder than words.

Street photography” These two words seem easy and simple to understand but we are only at the surface, so let’s dig a little deeper.

You’ll be assuming by reading the title that the act of capturing pictures on the streets is simply known as street photography. But let me tell you, simple words sometimes have complex and deep meanings. There is so much street photography.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Street photography isn’t only done on streets. It’s the art of capturing the unplanned, incidental and random life living out there that most of us are too busy to notice.

It’s the life that we capture through the lens of our camera. These are the artists who have a portable studio in the streets moving from one place to another.

Some photographers convert those captures into fine paintings which show the naturalness and the steady motion of the street population.

They also use these photographs for creative, expressive, and documentary purposes. Some also write blogs and articles where they portray a story behind every picture.

Nowadays everything on social media is all fake and photoshopped. If you are a true admirer of natural beauty, then you are perfect for this work. Use these photographs as a tool to express or to illustrate a message to the audience.

The best thing about street photography is that the subject is unaware that they are being captured, which turns out to be more authentic. These captures are taken from mundane life but in pictures, they look special.

I am aware of the fact that this explanation will be as clear as mud to you. Because one can only understand this by viewing the pictures. So let me present some of the pictures down below for you.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE
Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

After seeing each of them, recall your memory and think which of them attracted you the most and why? Question yourself that “Is it going to be hard for you to capture?” This process is called self-assessment or self-evaluation. It will develop your judgmental skills.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Now you’ll be wondering that what kind of street photography can I do the best. For that, I am going to explain this huge term of street photography into its divisions.

Types Of Street Photography

Street photography is classified into various types which are explained below:

Street photography fashion

There are so many who love to maintain themselves. They want others to love their dressing sense. Whenever they go out, they dressed up properly which attracts other people on the street towards them especially street photographers get this very fascinating and captures their unique look in their cameras.

Fashion street photography can be regarding a person wearing a long coat, or a hat with a different style, people wearing jackets with adorable prints of animals, people with different hairstyles, shoes, etc. It can be anything.

And if you came out to be good at this, you can become a street photographer for paid models. These models dress up for the shoot on street instead of a studio. As I already told you that street photographers are the artists who make the street their studio.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Urban street photography

It is the most challenging genre of street photography because urban streets are crowded with people busy in their daily life work roaming around.

It needs patience and a great amount of practice to capture a perfect picture on these streets as it takes a lot of time for the photographer to choose a perfect location and then set the camera to wait for the perfect person or subject to come their way.

A person needs to be active to catch the unplanned randomness on these urban streets.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Night street photography

Doing night street photography includes many factors which can be adjusted by your comfort level. During night photography, the main struggle is to play with light.

Maybe you also need to use one of the best camera with flash to improve the effectiveness of your images.

However, as a beginner, it becomes difficult to adjust yourself in that dark studio on the streets. You can wait till the crowd reduces and half of the city sleeps. I have also reviewed the best camera for night photography which can come in very handy feel to read it.

You can practice in that peaceful environment with more ease. Motion blur is created when an image has been captured at a slower shutter speed.

This can be done by shaking the camera, or having your subject in motion while you take the photo. In each case, this results in part of the picture being blurred because it was moving during the exposure time.”

Capturing those street lights portray aesthetic effects on images. Night has its own beauty when it is randomly captured in pictures.
Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Fine art Photography

The production of amazing shots that can be enjoyed by people is called fine art photography. These shots include every aspect of photography, from lightning to subject and from the subject to the angle of the frame.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

It just has to be amazing and unique. Imagination is also the key to fine art photography, sometimes the angles of perceptions make the photographer create outstanding shots.

Many people convert fine art photos into paintings and caption them with their creative words. Most people love fine art photography so much that they hung the portraits on their walls.

Street art photography

Street art is a great source of amusement and enjoyment for the people passing by. It is also known as an independent art.

People enjoy taking their pictures across those streets. So, this is going to be a great thing for you to offer pictures to different people passing by.

In this way, you can enhance your communication and interaction with strangers.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Provide them with your professional details, or you can also give them your business card, in case they need you in the future.

It’s a fun thing to take pictures of the art across the streets. People love those pictures because they simply depict different stories with different emotions for every viewer.

Now let me explain how to do street photography:

How to do street photography?

To make any of our work look perfect, we need practice.

You can’t learn street photography without practice. All you have to do is just grab your camera, wear some comfortable shoes and clothes and go out to practice.

Capture as many pictures as you can from different angles. Do it for fun. The more you’ll enjoy it, the more you’ll absorb the skill.

For beginners, I would like to suggest that they should practice in crowded and busy areas where the chances of getting noticed are rare.

They will get less attention from people present in their surroundings and they would easily get along with their camera.

Or you can also use a camera phone for more ease. They are very lightweight and handy. In this way, you can step up your photography skills.

Now select a suitable location and observe the surroundings, if the area is overcrowded, sit somewhere or set your camera to a specific angle and wait for the right moment and frame to capture it.

Forbearance and calmness are a significant part of this field. 

In this way, you’ll do your work more peacefully and with great focus, because the crowd won’t invade your zone, and you’ll capture them without disturbing their privacy as well.

Watch your location attentively, and be spontaneous while taking a good shot because once you miss it, it’s gone forever.

Laws regarding street photography

Always be aware of the laws of that particular area where you are going to do street photography because not all places allow random captures.

Street photography can sometimes feel like a crime in the start because we are not used to taking pictures of strangers in a mysterious way without their consent.

But as we know it’s going to be used for artistic purposes so it is all worth it. We can’t use it for trading or marketing purposes.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

That’s illegal. Practising frequently will boost your confidence and you will commingle with the surroundings in no time.

Get along and flow where the prevailing forces take you, without following any kind of trend just do your thing. Photographs will pop up to be more unrefined and real.

Fear taking pictures of strangers

You must have good communication and social skills. Before starting it, think that if you’ll get caught what will you say to that person.

Some photographers are good actors too. If someone catches them, they pretend like tourists. Sometimes they also dress up like a tourist to avoid any unlucky incident like this.

Street Photography

Admiration and compliments are the keys to avoid situations like these. If someone catches you taking their picture, smile and greet them respectfully, introduce yourself as a professional photographer and compliment them by admiring the style that made you capture them in their cameras, they’ll love it.

Show them those pictures and ask if you can use them for your artistic purpose.

If they seem bothered and disturbed by those pictures, offer to delete them and if they agree to pose that’s well and good for you.

Capture some more pictures with different angles. Give your contact details and offer to share those pictures with them. It’s better if you take your business card along with you for handling these kinds of situations.

In this way, you’ll get the pictures and can also promote your profession by interacting with strangers. Killing two birds with one stone.

Technique to use a camera

Keep the camera to your eye and avoid a mutual gaze with people around you as it’s a very powerful way of getting someone to notice you.

After randomly capturing someone, avoid looking at them, but look right, left, or down.

In this way, they won’t be sure if you have taken their pictures or not. Or you can also first capture them and move your camera to the other side without removing it from your eye by pretending as if you are adjusting your frame.

In this way, they will think that they got into your photo frame accidentally. You can also wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact at the start and can use small mirrorless cameras.

Capturing unplanned moments from that busy street is a real struggle so be active and impulsive. But when you will learn the skills, it will surely be no more difficult for you.

Street Photography

Students read books; artists read people

Grab some pictures in which faces shows great vehemence, in which viewers can see a story, a strong message, something positive or something negative, something apart from normal that we see in most people.

It can be mannerism, body movement, motion, nonverbal communication, gesture and kinesics, unique dressing style, an act of socializing, people capturing their own pictures (selfies, etc.), busy long traffic routes, people carrying facial expressions. It can be anything that catches the eye.

Street Photography
We don’t have to create; we just have to capture the creation.

The best part about street photography is that it makes normal and natural steady moments of daily life special.

Perfections and Imperfections

Your perception defines perfections and imperfections.

So, it is different for everyone, a picture that looks normal to you can possibly be attractive or special to someone.

Others can interpret an idea, story, or content from it that you can’t. So don’t delete any random pictures without the consent of others.

Let me show you how an imperfect moment can become beautiful when it is captured.

Photography

Now, this seems attractive. So, you’ll never know when these kinds of flaws can become a source of motivation for you by the positive reviews of viewers.

Play with the Light

You can enhance your creativity if you’ll acquire the to manage the lighting in pictures. Light can have a phycological effect on the audience.

Dim and dark frames show sadness in the pictures you captured. Bright and sunny pictures show the beauty of the morning and have a positive impact on minds.

Light in pictures can change emotions. Below you can see two same pictures with different emotions in them.

Photography

So, you have to understand the role of light to make your work more aesthetic.

Related article: Best Point and Shoot Camera Under $100: Buyer’s Guide

Editing is also important

When you are out, just focus on taking pictures without being insecure about how perfect or imperfect they are.

When you get home, check your pictures and spend some time with them. Edit makes them more beautiful.

Complete beginners guide

Focus on your pictures, crop them, change their angle, reposition them, adjust lighting, focus modes and then you’ll get to know that to what extent you have improved and how much practice do you need.

Camera for Street Photography

Small size cameras are good and easy to carry for street photography as compared to big DSLRs. By using small-size cameras, we can get less attention from the public.

Point and shoot camera are very impressived and actually loved by most photographers. Therefore i strongly suggest you read the best point and shoot camera guide.

There are some cameras that are mirrorless and one can’t hear the shutter button. The link for Best Digital Cameras for Street Photography in 2021 is down below:

Must Read: Best Street Photography Camera 

Try to interact with people

People are full of different stories. Try to interact with them, if they like being frank with you, compliment them nicely with a smile.

Compliment them and ask if they allow you to take pictures of them. In this way, you’ll meet interesting people.

With this kind of interaction, you’ll also overcome the fear of strangers catching you. So, in this way you can say that street photography cannot be candid sometimes.

Taking snaps of Children

In some aspects of street, photography moral comes first. This part of street photography is difficult but worth it.

Before taking pictures of children, you should ask for permission. Because many parents are very possessive about their kids.

So, to avoid any calamity asking first is the best option. Many parents become happy to see their child’s photograph taken from a professional camera with excellent quality.

Complete beginners guide

It’s safe from a Distance

Street photography demands an ethical distance from your subject especially when it is a human being.

Because we are capturing them in our cameras without taking their permission. So, one should not invade the subject’s privacy. The best way is to maintain a specific distance from the subject in a respectful way.

Capture the street entertainers

You can capture the musicians on the street with a great setup playing their fancy instruments. You can give them money and introduce yourself to them.

They usually won’t mind if they are being photographed because they love attention and they work for it.

They want people to recognize them as musicians and adore their talent by providing them with money. So, you can also ask them to pose and capture their pictures with different sides and positions.

Make sure to give them your contact details so that they can contact you if they need you anytime in the future. Don’t forget to thank them with a big smile.

Street Photography

Get behind the stranger

You can also photograph people from the back. It’s not necessary to show the subject’s face in every picture.

By capturing this way, you have no fear of confrontation. Focus on the subject and the surroundings, you’ll get the details very perfectly.

Street Photography

You can capture as many pictures as you can. It can be possible that sometimes the audience will criticize you for capturing people’s back.

This is because some people don’t find this pose interesting, but some do, so don’t get dishearted by such reviews of the audience.

Listen to everyone but always do what you love to and don’t allow their criticism to get you.

Capture the beauty of street animals

Everyone loves animals. Capturing them is different from capturing humans. Because you have to get down and focus with a wide-angle from a specific distance to capture a good picture of it.

You also have to wait for them to pose for a photoshoot just the way you want them.

Street Photography

Don’t forget to ask their owner to avoid any mishap. Introduce yourself and give your details to the owner and also ask for his contact information so you can send them their pet’s pictures.

Does street photography include silhouettes?

The silhouette is a dark shady picture of an individual, with a bright background. It appears like a shadow.

To capture silhouettes, you need to find a place like this where people in the surroundings appear like a dark shadow but the background is bright.

Apart from that, you can also adjust the lighting while editing. It is difficult to capture silhouette but it appears to become a beautiful shady and silent image.

Street Photography | STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Show gratefulness

With your good behaviour, you can win many hearts.

If you make any stranger your subject for street photography, never hesitate to thank the other person.

Give some appreciation to them, compliment them, and admire them for being such a good poser. Make some good emotional connection with them with your mannerism.

PS: People can forget faces, but not behaviours.

Give them your details and they will surely contact you whenever they will need you in the future.

What if you live in a small town?

If you live in a small town, visit places which you love. This will boost up your mind and make you fall in love with your surroundings.

Visit different museums, small parks, malls, and cafes. You can also capture pictures while travelling on a bike or a scooter more easily because it gives you more exposure. as compared to cars, buses, and trains.

Complete beginners guide

Discover the rural area as well. There are many beautiful sites to capture. Golf Course is a great location full of greenery and wavy lands with beautiful curves in it.

Different lakes and streams, farmers working in farms explain their effortless work that needs to be appreciated.

There are different eye-catching festivals are organized in these areas which is the best spot for people who love to do photography in crowded areas.

You’ll also get a chance to capture different animals from animal shelter houses.

Complete beginners guide

Platforms to promote Street Photography

Social media is a great power nowadays. Many apps are developed through which we can share our talents and professional work.

For example, for street photography, Instagram is the best platform and provides a great opportunity for all photographers to share their work with the audience.

There are so many people who have different evens in their life and to capture those memories they surely need a photographer for that.

So, through your work and maintained profile people can approach you through these platforms for hire. And you can also get reviews from them after the work and upload them on your public profile for a good impact.

You can also become a blogger by writing a photoblog. People understand pictures more when there is a suitable story written about them.

Stories with pictures and pictures with stories attract people.

You can also write articles about street photography after you become skilled in it. And sharing pictures of yours in your article would be best.

Because it is stated that articles that include images are more viewed by the readers than articles without pictures. They also remember pictures more as compared to the content written to explain the picture.

Research explains that on a rough surface, daily active users of Facebook are 2.85 billion claiming to be the biggest social network.

Conclusion on Street Photography Guide

In street photography, your personal impression matters the most. Find yourself in those streets. Find your comfort level.

Find yourself in the angles of those frames you have captured. Every photographer has their way of capturing pictures. Find yours.

My camera is my third eye which captures what I see and the way I see it. Sometimes when I miss a perfect shot, I wish that I had a camera fitted into my eyes and by blinking I’ll get the picture of what I see.

This is funny how we avoid struggles and wish to have shortcuts in life. But it is fine as everything comes at a price. Just don’t stop polishing yourself down there on the streets.

You can also explore some great examples of photography from expert photography

Explore yourself more in different places and different situations. In crowded areas and as well as in vacant locations.

At day time when the sun is shining and as well as at night time when street lights provide an aesthetic calm view.

You’ll come to know what kind of street photographer you are and in which genre you are good at the most. You should also visit different art museums, art galleries, and art exhibitions.

Your imaginary skills will be enhanced by observing the work of different photographers.

Improve your editing skills and experiment with them.

Experience, patience, and practice are the things that matter the most in this field. Practice shooting with your camera. See another photographer’s work too.

You’ll get to know your photographic mistakes and you’ll begin to see new angles in your work. Your vision will be enhanced and you’ll begin to imagine and convert different planned shots into unplanned natural charm.

Best of luck! Looking forward to meeting you guys in the streets.

Leave a Comment