Street photography FAQ’s.

Whether you are just starting out or have some experience under your belt, we’ve provided answers to common questions that will guide your explorations into street photography. From street photography gear recommendations to how to sell your images, we’ve got you covered.

Common street photography questions.

What is the purpose of street photography?

The purpose of street photography is to convey a moment in public space, often of a person or people interacting with their surroundings. It can function as an observation or even historical and cultural documentation of public life. Depending on who you ask, a street photographer may have a different view, depending.

When did street photography start?

Street photography is thought to have started in the late 1800’s in France, when photographers experimented with daguerreotypes and bringing large-format cameras into the streets. It picked up in popularity and came to prominence when camera technology developed portable cameras in the 1920s and 1930s, and street photography was more and more exhibited and proliferated in the 50s-70s.

The subject of legality around street photography has been a controversial one, especially involving taking photos of people. Generally, the practice of photographing people in public places is considered legal for the purpose of journalistic freedom and artistic intent. It varies from country to country, however.

Why is street photography important?

Street photography is important because it documents people and how they interact with their environment, in many ways similar to photojournalism. It differs slightly based on the intention of the photographer, as street photography is more about curiosity, inquiry and happenstance, whereas photojournalism is likely shooting as a means to an end, premeditated in a way.

Why do people like street photography?

Neurobiology and evolution tell us human beings are inherently social. This may be part of why people like street photography, as it helps us connect, discover and understand one another. Street photography also helps tell a story of people in their environments, and has become historical documentation of how people lived in various periods of history.

What is street fashion photography?

Fashion street photography documents the personal styles worn by passers-by that the photographer encounters while in the street. Fashion street photography, also known as street style photography can be candid, or look more like a fashion editorial, or be composed more like a portrait. 

What is street style fashion photography?

Street style fashion photography is much like fashion street photography, discussed earlier in this article. With an emphasis on style, this genre considers an individual or group of people’s individual styles likely more in their every day than say pure fashion street style, which might capture people attending fashion events.

What makes good street photography?

Good street photography captures a moment in time and conveys meaning, whether that be a story, moment, or idea, while also bringing together the right light and composition, eliciting emotion or reaction from the viewer. Famous French street photographer Henry Cartier-Bresson may have defined this best, calling this the decisive moment.

Why might some people not want to be included in street photography?

Some people might not want to be included in street photography, in some cases out of concerns for privacy or for what they see as a lack of consent given. Be kind, patient, and honest if your subject questions you, explain in a complementary and professional way what inspired you to take the shot.

How to take street photography?

Look for subjects that interact with their environment when venturing out to the streets in search of perfect frames for your shots. Try framing up your shot and waiting for the subject to walk right into the frame, and shoot at a higher f-number (aperture) if you want more things in focus.

What is the best lens/focal length for street photography?

The best lens is the type you know the most. As beauty is in the beholders’ eyes, the best lens/focal length will vary from one street photographer to the other. Ask yourself this instead: “what style of street photographs are you shooting?” You can then decide which focal length to use to give you the type of results you want. 

How to start street photography?

Start street photography with a mindset of documenting what the urban environment looks like with your interpretations. Go wherever the light is. There are usually lots of spaces to work with wherever the harsh light and shadow meet. Photos with attention to the light and shadow will often produce compelling compositions.

How to take good street photography?

Taking good street photography requires practice. An easy way to get your creative juice flowing is to get into a rhythm, warm up your eyes, and be mindful of how you see the world around you. Seek out street photographers that you like, emulate their styles, and add your unique twists.

What aperture to use for street photography?

There is no correct aperture for street photography 100% of the time. Determining what aperture to use will depend on how blurry you want your backgrounds to be. Many photographers will recommend an aperture of f/5.6 and f/8, but it will depend on the environmental light conditions and the type of photo you want. 

Where to take street photography?

One of the advantages of street photography is that you will never run out of objects to shoot in an urban environment. From trains in subway stations, bustling farmers’ markets, and tall buildings springing from the skylines to landmarks of tourist attractions. The options are endless. The weather may be the only limiting factor.

How to pre-focus for street photography?

To pre-focus, switch the camera mode from Auto-Focus to Manual Focus. Use your hand to press the focus ring on the lens and turn slightly to the right & left until the image is in focus. Visualizing a scene and guessing the distance to the subject will help you better pre-focus.

How to carry your camera for street photography?

Street photographers often carry their cameras in small bags or compact backpacks to hold all the shooting gear. For safety, many would use a wrist strap attached to their cameras to prevent dropping accidentally. Some photographers use a neck strap when a wrist strap isn’t available.

How to shoot from the hip in street photography?

To shoot from the hip, you need to hold your camera to your waist level and snap photographs without looking through the viewfinder. Using wider lenses (24mm) with a shutter speed of around 1/500 of a second (or faster, depending on how fast you or the subject are moving) could often give you street photos with fewer blurs.

How to be a better street photographer?

Avoid second-guessing yourself; simply take the photo and ask questions later. There is a reason why your instincts take you there. Always have the camera ready to snap a shot, and don’t delete your less-than-favorite photos right away because you may not realize how great they are until you revisit them months later. 

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