Street Photography Tips Part 1

Street of Amsterdam

Here are some of the tips I find extremely useful when attempting Street Photography


  • Tell stories – Find details that hint at a larger meaning.
  • Emotion – When capturing people, seek out expressive faces, hands, and postures. Also, try to capture images that will invoke a feeling in the viewer.
  • Think about how a photograph will age. That storefront window or outfit may seem standard now, but could become much more interesting in 20 years.
  • Make photo essays About areas or ideas that you know well.
  • Capture unique people. Everyone you see is unique in some way. Figure out why and try to capture that.
  • Don’t only photograph people. Capture interesting scenes that say something.
  • Street portraitures – Find an interesting background and then stop an interesting person for a portrait in front of it.


  • Quality and Direction of Light- Seek out interesting and dynamic light. Is the main light source in front of you, behind you, above you?
  • Colors-Seek out scenes with interesting colors that complement each other.
  • Lines.-Are your lines straight? Diagonal Lines can add energy and can lead a viewers eyes into a scene. How will the eyes move around through the scene
  • Corners.-What is in each corner of the image? Corners play a large part in creating balance.
  • Create relationships between two or more people or things.
  • Balance.-Does your photo feel balanced? Is that necessary?


  • Notice people from further away.- This will give you more time to get in position and create a good composition.
  • Go someplace crowded.- If you are especially nervous, crowded areas are the easiest places to try street photography.
  • Choose a spot and wait for people to come to you.- Choose an interesting background or area ahead of time and wait for people to enter it.
  • Use exposure compensation. It’s the fastest way to brighten or darken a scene.
  • Don’t walk too fast.- It is nearly impossible to observe, walk fast, and capture things all at the same time.
  • Patience.- Waiting an extra couple of minutes can be the difference between a mediocre image and a once in a lifetime photograph.
  • Smile!- If someone notices you taking their picture, smile at them. You will be surprised how often they will smile back.


To achieve maximum sharpness:

  • Shutter Speed-Scenes without moving people or objects: 1/focal length (i.e. with a 50mm lens, at minimum, you would want to be at least at 1/50th of a second.) Scenes with moving people or objects: 1/320th ideal (1/160th minimum).
  • Aperture-Use a small aperture (large number) for a larger range of sharpness (large depth of field) Using F16 will give you significantly more depth of field than F5.6.
  • High ISO-Using a higher ISO (800/1600/3200 depending on lighting conditions) can allow you to use a higher f/stop. Unless you are attempting to deploy greater DoF
  • Use a Wide-Angle or Normal Lens (28, 35 or 50mm)-The wider the focal length the greater the depth of field.
  • Zone Focus (pre-focusing / hyperfocal distance)-Turn your camera to manual focusing, set the distance to 10 feet away (or the distance you prefer) with a small aperture, and capture people when they are that distance from your camera. Takes practice to do well.
3 years ago

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