5 Street Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know

Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by Sharon Advik

Before we start, there are no shortcuts to getting better at street photography.

This genre consists mainly of failure repetition and times.

5 Street Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know:

Holding your camera:

If you’re no stranger to street photography, you’ve probably already learned this the hard way, just like me, and that’s simply keeping your camera ready to take a photo.

One of the simplest ways to do this is by holding your camera, and many street photographers live by wrapping the strap around their wrists.

You can even go further with this and always hold your camera up by your face or raised by your chest.

The whole point is to keep yourself in the most readied position to take a photo when something unexpected happens, and you know street photography.

Ninety of the photos you take will probably be an unexpected moment.

I tend to see many street photographers hold their camera around their neck or by their side, and you know that’s fine.

You should hold or wear your camera however you feel is most comfortable.

But in my own experience, I’ve found that extra movement is added time between me raising the camera and taking a photo.

And I’ve missed tons of photos because of that extra time it took to get my camera in a ready position.

To take a photo when you hold a camera.

This way, when you’re doing street photography, you will be ready to take a photo whenever you see something happen.

Because you’re already in a position to take a photo.

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Leave the Chaos:

Secondly, you’re not going to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself.

You know this motion of bringing your camera up to your face that can raise some attention towards you, and if you’re trying to photograph someone and you’re trying to be sneaky about it and not disturb that moment, it could be the difference between you know not getting a photo and getting the photo.

So you probably won’t be able to hold your camera up for hours.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t have any blood in your forearms anymore.

You can use your senses when you’re out shooting.

You can bring your camera up When you’re in a space or an environment where a potential photo is probably looming.

Then, aim, compose, and shoot Photograph.

People shooting street photography almost naturally call you to photograph people.

A lot of street photographers people are the main subjects of their photos, so if that’s you, you typically go where the people are.

But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing when I’m in large crowds or bustling areas of protests, or maybe it’s some street event.

I tend to get overwhelmed in those situations.

When a lot is happening around me, I can’t observe as well, so I miss some shots, or you know, I end up not seeing anything worth taking a photo of the second.

I start to feel like I’m just getting way too overwhelmed.

I’m getting this sensory overload and not seeing as clearly as before.

I’ll leave the area, but I won’t go too far.

I want to photograph the outskirts of that large crowd because many great photos often happen just outside of the crowd.

I’ll end up shooting the outskirts of these bustling locations, and often, I’ll see those photos reappear again, and I can get some awesome photos of people who also left that craziness.

Since you just went from this massive crowd of people to where the crowd starts to fall apart, potential photos reappear and stand out so much more to you.

And as you shoot these outskirts of these large crowds, you refuel your creative eye or your observational eye, and you can jump right back into the fire, or maybe you don’t.

You stay out where you were.

Because you realized there’s a lot of excellent photo potential outside of the madness.

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Minimize Distractions; Shoot Alone:

Suppose you’re very new to street photography and not comfortable shooting alone.

In that case, you should shoot with another person, specifically another street photographer, as much as I like to shoot with others.

I do most of my street photography alone, allowing me to focus on my surroundings and environment and be a better observer.

And when it comes to street photography, that’s more than half the deal.

When you shoot with another person, your mind will be in two places.

You have your friend whom you want to talk with, and then you have all the craziness of the street that’s going on around you that you’re trying to observe and focus on.

It’s just not possible to be 100 focused on one thing or the other; we need to give our full attention to what is going on around us to be able to take better photos.

When you shoot alone, you can do whatever you want.

You don’t have to feel, you know, held back by your friend because, you know, maybe you see a tremendous potential photo location, and you want to wait there for 10 to 15 minutes.

You don’t have to worry about asking your friends if they’re cool with that.

This tip isn’t to say that you should just throw all your friends out the window and never shoot with them again. Um, that would be a terrible idea.

It’s the relationships you meet through photography that it’s all about, but I think it’s worth noting that I get my best photos personally.

I’m shooting alone because I focus more on observing my surroundings.

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Don’t be ashamed of auto settings:

So, I used always to be a shooter and manual person for all my cameras.

I just really wanted to have complete control over all the settings and make sure that the camera wasn’t going to, you know, misread an exposure.

This leads to me missing a shot camera processing power, and the IQ of these cameras has gotten good over recent years, and that means setting some parts of the camera to auto isn’t a bad thing to do.

First of all, shooting an auto isn’t a bad thing for you to do in general, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

If you do, I think it’s always essential to understand your camera’s settings and how to shoot in manual if you have to, but the whole point of shooting auto is to lighten the workload on yourself.

So you can put more of your attention to the actual shooting process.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re trying to get your camera settings right; you’re fiddling with your camera, and that’s getting in the way of taking photos.

So I’ve been shooting on P mode on my XE4, and it’s done an excellent job of getting great exposure very quickly for me.

Shooting an auto on this camera lets me focus on what’s happening around me.

I can focus more on finding suitable compositions rather than worrying about if I had my exposure right.

The point is auto settings are supposed to work in your favor; when you already have an excellent general understanding of the exposure triangle and how to shoot in manual mode, don’t be afraid of using auto exposure settings.

If it means it will help you do what you must, I doubt it.

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Accept failure & doubt:

This last tip is for any of you feeling Doubt creep into your process. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone out to shoot and not taken a photo that I was happy about, and there’s a good chance you’ve probably been in a similar situation.

And when that happens, it sucks because you feel like you’ve just wasted a whole afternoon or however long you’re out shooting.

You think your photos are terrible and that you’re not going to get better at this, and the real scary one is when you think to yourself, you’re never going to go out and do this again.

It’s easier said than done, and it took me a long time to come to grips with this, but you need to accept those fears and doubts and realize that it’s part of getting better at something you care about.

If you’re frustrated with your work and progress, it’s a sign that you care about this thing.

I remember when I would come back from days of taking no photos, and I’d be like, okay, what are we doing here now? Back then, at that moment, I thought that I was wasting my time.

But in reality, I was putting in the work to get better.

I was essentially practicing.

You don’t get better at something without practicing, and that’s what those days are.

So you know, maybe there was a moment where I saw this beautiful moment, but I wasn’t paying attention to it.

I had my camera turned off or not ready to go. I ended up missing the shot because of that.

Still, I learned something there, or maybe I went out with too many intentions of making an excellent YouTube video that I didn’t take any good photos.

You could look at these as moments of failure.

But I try to look at it as moments of growth and learning.

So, I hope this blog helps any of you looking to get better at street photography.

I know most of these things aren’t, you know, things that you can start to implement immediately and start taking better photos.

But you can start to put them into practice every time you shoot.

These things have helped me become a better observer, more accepting of things that don’t go as I want, and a better-prepared street photographer.

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