Street photography is a type of photography that takes place in the city, as its name suggests. Still, it does not focus on the city but on the city’s inhabitants and how they live, develop, interact and enjoy the city.
It is photography that takes place in public places, that has an essential dose of spontaneity on the part of the protagonists and instinct on the part of the photographer, and that requires a minimum of equipment so that the photograph is as natural as possible and the photographer can go completely unnoticed.
The only rule that this photography has to follow is that the photographer can never, under any circumstances, intervene in the scene or ask for a specific pose, as it would lose the naturalness, freedom, and freshness that this photography has. If you want to get involved in this trend, read these street photography tips.
First of all, always remember that street photography implies sincere, spontaneous photography without any intervention.
Going unnoticed is essential when taking pictures of people; it is usually recommended in most articles on “street photography.” Only then the people who are portrayed will not change their behavior, and the intention of the photo will go down the drain.
The chosen equipment is not decisive. However, you should make sure that your choice allows you to guarantee discretion and to be able to go unnoticed so as not to interfere with the scene being photographed. It is recommended that the camera offers fast focusing, a silent shutter, manual settings for aperture, exposure time, and ISO, and the possibility of shooting in burst mode since street photography is not a fixed mode).
One of the most important aspects to pay attention to will be the metering of your camera and use the most appropriate one in each situation:
- Matrix (uniform scenes)
- Center-weighted (more contrasted conditions)
- Spot (scenes with extreme contrast)
Hanging the camera around your neck and using a shutter release is perfect, even more so if you combine it with an SLR camera with a folding screen. This way, you can hold it with your left hand at belly level, while with the other, you hold a remote shutter release; this way, people won’t notice the camera.
Don’t forget the two fundamental aspects you need to master for good street photography: lighting and composition.
Depending on the time of day and the location in the city you are in at any given moment, you should know the characteristics of the light and use them to your advantage.
- Central hours: Intense, white, high-contrast light.
- Dawn and dusk: Medium intensity, warm and moderate contrast.
- Dawn and twilight: Low intensity, cool and low contrast.
- Cloudy days: Intense, white, low-contrast light.
- In foggy conditions: Medium intensity, bluish-white and low contrast.
Avoid capturing degrading images, and if someone gets upset because you photographed them, smile, apologize and delete the photo if they ask you to do so.
It is essential to convey the sensations of what is happening, capture the atmosphere and manage to get the noises, smells, temperature, and everything that has to do with the senses beyond sight.
Black and white suit this type of photo very well since losing the color information does not distract us from the people’s expressions, composition, gestures, or situations that we have photographed.