6 Street Photography Tips

It may not be as serious as photojournalism or portrait photography, but that doesn’t mean street photography has nothing to offer its cameramen and audiences alike. Offering an intimate view into the lives of urbanites, the photographic style allows photographers a fun, innovative way to shoot subjects and learn how to use their gear.

Here are six tips from Chris Osburn, blogger at Photography Tips on how to help you become a better street photographer.

Practice Makes Perfect

It can be said that the longest journey begins with the first step. And with that, don’t be afraid to carry your camera around with you everywhere you go and just take snapshots of everything. There isn’t any better way to develop yourself as a photographer than just going out and taking tons of shots of anything your heart desires.

Shoot from the Hip

Street photography captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings.
The creators behind the London Street Photography Festival describe street photography as “un-posed, un-staged photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings.”

To get shots that fit that description, Osburn recommends “shooting from the hip,” which is simply just taking some shots with your camera slung around your neck or around your shoulder. Such a technique may not lead to the best composed photos, but they create an “in the midst of it” feel to your photos, and at times the camera captures moments that might have been glossed over or gone unnoticed.

Discretion is Key

Shooting from the hip means being discreet. With street photography, you don’t want the people in your photos to look as if they know they’re being photographed. Try emulating the mantra of being a fly on the wall and blending in with your surroundings in order to capture the essence of the moment.

[cquote]Think: how would a spy on a top secret mission shoot this scene?[/cquote]

Please & Thank You

If someone catches you snapping a shot in their direction, a friendly smile can dissolve any potential tension. In fact, you might even be given permission to continue shooting away and even at a closer range, if the subjects allow you to.

It’s always a good idea to turn on the charm before turning on the camera.

No Means No

Although, in spite of your charm and politeness, there are always going to be individuals who fuss over being photographed. If someone clearly doesn’t want his or her picture taken, it’s best to not do it.

It’s also a good idea to know what your rights are as a photographer as well as when you ought to get someone’s permission to capture his or her image. Unless a photo is being published, a model release form is unnecessary. Other image publications like photojournalism don’t actually require a model release at all, although it wouldn’t be too much trouble to have some forms in your camera bag.

What are some other street photography tips?