Street photography: capturing life on the city streets

Street photography: capturing life on the city streets

Dynamics, drive and even excitement are components of the street photography genre. A well-timed shot can tell the story of a person, a place, or an entire city. To find such a story, the photographer must be attentive and perceptive, to notice what others do not pay attention to. In addition, from a technical point of view, it is more difficult to make such photos: you cannot set all the parameters in advance, as the location and the object will constantly change. Therefore, you have to be flexible in terms of ideas and perception of the world, as well as in the ability to adjust to the light and frame in the moment.

Technical secrets

To begin with, it is worth getting to know the settings and capabilities of the camera in detail. You should quickly orient yourself in the functionality to be able to intelligently select the appropriate mode in a matter of seconds. If there are still flaws in the finished shots, you can correct them at the post-processing stage. Modern editors, such as body editing app RetouchMe, offer a huge range of tools and filters. However, street photography is different in that it shows live emotions and a real, not staged world. To make your work easier, take a few preparatory steps before a street session.

  1. Choose a shooting mode that is a priority for you. For your first outings, a standard auto-setting option may be fine. Over time, you’ll learn how to calibrate your camera in aperture priority mode. Setting the aperture number, and knowing that shutter speed and ISO automatically change according to the light, allows you to control the depth of field.
  2. Gather the necessary minimum set of gear. You don’t want to carry a lot of tripods, stands, and lenses. You probably won’t get a chance to use them. Mobility and even a certain inconspicuousness are important for a street photo shoot. People. seeing the camera may be nervous, feel stiff, and behave unnaturally. So you will not get the most sincere frame.
  3. Rely on natural lighting. Flashes and reflectors while working outdoors will be inappropriate. Try to find interesting lighting solutions right on the street. This way you will better convey the atmosphere of the place and time.

A few creative tips

If you look at the works of famous photographers of the genre, you will notice that everyone has their style. Shooting the same place, they see it differently through their lens. So don’t be afraid to look for your approaches and working methods. Here are a couple of tips to improve the creative component of a street photo shoot.

  • Choosing the perfect moment. To get the right story in the shot, it pays to get the timing of the “freeze frame” right. It is the photographer who decides what part of the story he or she will tell the viewers.
  • Finding interesting locations. Sometimes it is worth spending time and effort to find the perfect location. Not only the aesthetic characterization of the photo depends on it, but also inspiration.
  • Take photos of everything. Yes, this can be tedious and costly in terms of camera memory. But very often, when you revisit a frame that is unsightly at first glance, you may find something worthwhile in it. Perhaps this very shot will become one of the samples of your professionalism.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with angles and filters. Allow yourself and others to look at the familiar world from a different angle.

Respect personal boundaries and obey the law

It’s important to show respect for the people in your lens. It’s okay to ask permission, even if the photo has already been taken, and show it to the model. If you are asked to delete a photo, it is worth agreeing to the person’s wish and not to create a conflict. This rule is especially relevant in Eastern countries, where social norms are very strict. Do not cross the borders of private property without authorization, and do not shoot government, military, and regime objects. No matter how poetic the possible future shots may be, such a violation will cause a lot of trouble.

Street photography is an ocean of possibilities: everyone sees the world differently, and that’s the beauty of it.