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Street Photography Tips and Ideas for Captivating Photos

When you think about it… much of what goes on in the world more or less takes place on the streets. This is why street photography is so popular.

Street photography gives you the chance to capture the everyday actions that make the world go round.

The images can be historical, comical, poignant, and creative etc. The opportunities here are basically endless.

To capture strong street shots you need to pay attention to principles such as composition, perspective, balance, etc.

Below, are some street photography tips and ideas to help you take the best shots.


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Photo by konstantin


Anticipation is key

Since you’re photographing people in real life situations you don’t always have the time to set up for your shot and you certainly cant’s ask the subjects to pose for you or recreate their actions if you miss the shot.

The only things that you have any control over really are the exposure and composition.

This is why you need a keen sense of anticipation or timing. In some ways, because of the anticipation and timing, street photography is much like sports photography.

You generally have to visualize a scene and anticipate what it may lead to.

For instance, if you see somebody walking down the street with a row of sausages hanging out over their shopping bag with a group of hungry dogs following them, you may have a good sense of what’s going to happen next – resulting in a great photography idea!

If you’re ready to take the shot because you anticipate what’s coming, then you’re going to come up with some exceptional photos.


street photography tips by kittykaht

Photo by KittyKaht


Use a wide-angle lens

If you have a wider lens you’ll be able to capture more activity and the surrounding scene in your image and the depth of field will be increased.

A wide lens will also minimize or eliminate the chance of having something unwanted in the scene between yourself and the subject. Also, you can include other people in the frame as well as the subject.

This could be valuable as you may capture reactions and facial expressions to what’s going on around them and/or your subject.

Sometimes there’s no way you can focus on a scene and capture it because there’s simply not any time. If you don’t have to worry about focusing then you’ll have an advantage. This is where hyper focal focusing is useful since everything beyond a specific point will be in focus. A manual focus lens is generally better for this.

Don’t be intimidated

It’s hard to get good street photography images if you’re shy or easily intimidated.

This is less of a street photography idea per se, but something you should take to heart. Be confident when taking street shots and act as if you belong on the scene.

If you look like you know what you’re doing and are supposed to be there, then there’s a good chance that nobody will challenge or question you.

On the flip side, you could also act like a tourist since they’re known to take photos of just about everything they come across.

There may also be some instances where asking somebody if you can take their photos is just the right thing to do. Then you don’t have to worry about the person moving or leaving before you can take the shot. For example, you may find an interesting busker on a street corner that you’d like to photograph.


technique for shooting street photography

Photob by Thomas Leuthard


The layering technique

This idea for a photograph enables you to add depth and context to a photo and it can be done with a longer lens.

A long lens will spate the image into background, mid-ground and foreground.

You can place your subject in any of these three areas and the remaining areas can tell the story and form the context. You may also try layering by using reflections in your image or Out of Focus Foreground Framing.


street photo by david_shankbone

Photo by david_shankbone


Shooting crowds

If you point your camera into a crowd of people and take numerous photos you can then check out the images and see if there are any individuals that would make an interesting subject.

If you take photos of oncoming people in busy areas they’re usually too busy to care what’s going on and probably don’t think you’re focusing on them anyway.


shooting from the hip

Photo by Instant Vantage


Be inconspicuous

The best way to not draw attention to yourself is always have your camera ready and don’t make any sudden movements.

Smaller cameras and compact models are ideal if you want to go unnoticed when walking around looking for great street photography shots.

Some photographers use a street photography technique called “shooting from the hip.” This is where you hold the camera at hip level and point it into the direction of what you want to take a photography of and snap the shot. Since the camera is not up to your eye, most people don’t even notice that you took a shot.

What’s Next?

We hope you enjoyed these street photography techniques and tips. Now that you’re finished reading, leave a comment below telling us which tip was your favorite and share any experiences you’ve had taking these types of photographs.

Then, check out our related posts to learn even more ways to improve your photography.

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