The Ultimate Guide to Street Photography

Putting daily life scenarios into images is known as street photography. You don’t need to do it in the streets but, you can shoot in malls, airports, parks, beaches, and other public places.

Street photography is so much fun because it’s raw, it’s candid, and it is daring! Street photography is candid photography of life and human nature. It is a way to show the surroundings, and how the photographers relate to them. Street photographers filter the scenes they see around them and find the moments that intrigue them to capture them in their cameras. Basically you are daydreaming with a camera.

Rock It With Confidence

Not having confidence is what makes street photography intimidating in the first place. You need to have enough guts to point your camera at someone anytime to capture a perfect shot. Most of the time you’ll come across people that don’t even care about you directing a lens at them, on the other hand there can be times when you may run into people that do not want their photo taken at all.

Photographer doing street photography

Contrast Photograph

You can create a strong image in street photography by juxtaposing the elements present in your frame. Juxtaposition is when you put two different things in a frame that contradict each other (while having a relationship).

For instance: a grandma next to a child, someone in a red dress in front of a green background (contrasting colors). To create a strong contrasting photograph, try to find an interesting background (for example a billboard of a rich lady wearing expensive clothes) and take a picture of a beggar or a poor lady in front of it.

Documenting Daily Lives

Try to capture and present the hustle and bustle of people in their daily lives.

Capturing candid moments between locals carrying out their daily jobs, shopping and just living their lives is one of the things which makes street photography so much fun.

You are photographing people in their natural state and entangled in their everyday environments. You get to see a real image of the people. Winding through the streets of a city and capturing architectural shots and documenting the citizens just carrying about in their everyday lives.

Ask For a Picture

In street photography, you are capturing people without permission or without informing your subjects. However, it is not mandatory that street photography has to be candid. You can always ask for permission when taking a photograph of a stranger. Just because you are asking for consent doesn’t make your shot less attractive.

Just remember that the essential thing in street photography is to capture emotion. If you see someone that looks interesting to you, approach them. This can be the hardest part of street photography because not only do you have to approach a stranger, you have to explain to them that you want to take a photo of them. You have to make them trust you enough so that you can take a picture of them.

Less is More

The best street photographs focus on the details, not the whole picture. While shooting on the streets, focusing on small details can make your photo more appealing.

This means rather than taking a full-body shot of someone on the streets, focus on their hands, their feet, their face, their earrings, or anything else they are holding. To create a mystery, you can show less instead of the whole scenario.

Keep Your Camera Ready

It’s always good to have your camera ready to go and don’t be afraid to shoot in Auto mode as well.

To be a successful street photographer, always strive to capture a moment, not perfection, so if a moment happens right in front of you, you must be certain to snag the opportunity as quickly as possible. If your photo is blurry in some areas, don’t be upset because it does add a touch of movement to the frame.

Portray Emotions

When you are capturing images of people, shooting them simply just walking down the street, or standing in a place, is not enough.

Images that portray strong emotions are the most memorable kind of street photographs. These emotions can be sadness, happiness, loneliness, anxiety, and pain.

The actual task is to find emotion. You have to wander around in the street and observe the body language and facial expressions of people. The next step is to take a photograph of the emotion quickly without the person noticing.


Street photography is not only about capturing architecture and people. You can shoot some fascinating images of street animals.

These fuzzy fellows roaming around the streets are very interesting subjects. In this way, you can also showcase the cultural differences and living styles among the animals in different regions

Keep It Natural

The beauty of street photography is its natural impact and imperfections. In street photography, you don’t have to make the photo perfect in every way.

Strong grain, a tilted image, an element that is slightly in the way of the picture, or imperfect lighting, are all examples of what can make an image feel real. These things can ruin photos in other types of photography.

In street photography, they can get in the way just enough to make it feel like a natural moment. Aiming for technical mastery is good but realize that imperfections can be beneficial, and even necessary.

Graphical Images

All street photographs don’t have to be emotional. Some of them can be visual, which appeals to our sense of geometry. Graphical or visual images are shot which are generally taken in good light with shadows. They have different kinds of lines like diagonal or curves and various geometrical shapes.

Commonly Found Objects

Sometimes the most interesting of street photographs are of different stuff on the ground. So take photos of ordinary objects you find in public places. Get close up to them, juxtapose them against other objects, and experiment using a flash. Try to be creative and find ways to make them attractive.

The Kodak Moment

This phrase is used when a picture is taken at a particular moment, which will not be forgotten. In simpler words: capturing a moment with perfect timing.

There can be several moments to take a perfect shot when you’re out shooting in the streets. So you should never take only a single shot of a good photography scene. Take a ton of photographs. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson took 20+ photos of a single scene. Later on, in the editing process, he would choose which image he felt was the best one.

Street Art

Long gone are the days when ugly and useless tagging anonymously was associated with graffiti and street art. Now a lot of cities around the world are adopting street artists to brighten up their blank concrete walls and buildings by adding a touch of creativity to them.

These bright pops of color make amazing street photography scenes. Some of this art gives exceptional life lessons. Photographing these murals will tell a story of politics, love, peace, or just something bright and cheerful to stimulate its townspeople and visitors visually.

Photography Equipment

In street photography, any camera can be used. You can do it with an SLR and a long zoom lens, and you can even do it well with a camera phone. Nonetheless, different and better equipment can have better results.

A zoom lens will give you more opportunities at different distances and will be more noticeable and more complex. 

A prime lens will constrict you to take images only at a specific distance from the camera, but will also be light, freeing, and fun to use.

Traveling light will make your work a lot better, especially in places where a large camera would stand out too much. Mirrorless, micro four-thirds cameras, or even a camera phone, will help you take images more easily.

Prime lenses, will constrict you to a specific focal length but will give you a significant advantage. You will begin to see the world more instinctively. While the limitation will stop you from being able to capture certain shots, you will become even better at capturing images within the constraints of that focal length.

Camera Setting

You need to know that the settings of the camera are an integral part of the whole photography process. Variation is the key to make sure that you do not indulge in monotony and make things look dull. 

You can blur the background- creating depth in that way creates a look and feel on the images that look spectacular. Remember, the right settings will get you the right picture, and it works vice versa.


Compose your street photographs just like you would compose your landscape images. Assess the scenes and arrange all of the elements in it together

 Every element counts just as much as they do in a landscape photograph, no matter what it is. The best street photographers have a way of bringing everything together in just the right way. Sometimes, the subject alone is all that counts, and you will want to frame it or blur the background away, forgetting about everything else. 

A lot of photographers will shoot this way 100% of the time, especially when first starting, but that’s a mistake. Try to see beyond the main subject, and see if you can combine it with other elements to create a more complex scene. 

You may not feel like street photography is your cup of tea but let me tell you that it is one of the most artistic kinds of photography that you will come across. It’s vibrant and full of life – you are bound to love it!


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