Street photography is part of travel photography category. It is interesting because it gives opportunity to directly get a feeling of a countries culture and traditions or the energy of a city. Walking around in a new environment and new city can lead a photo enthusiast to amazing discoveries. Street photography is about documenting everyday life and surroundings. This does not mean it has to be shot on streets. It can be shot at the airport, at the mall, at the beach, at the park, in the bus or subway, in the grocery store, or in any other public place. The most important thing at the end of the day is creating powerful, compelling, and emotional images.

Furthermore, street photography is generally done candidly (without permission and without knowledge of your subjects). Of course it is allowed to ask for permission when taking a photograph of a stranger. The most important thing in street photography is to capture emotion, humanity, and soul. Also street photography does not have to include people in it (although the best ones generally do have people in it).

Rules for street photography

Street photography has its rules and they are different form nature photography or studio shoots. First of all street photography takes speed and courage. Lets analyze what to shoot on streets, how to approach people and what gear to use.

Street photography is like visiting theatre without knowing what kind of play they perform. The only certain thing is that there is going to be a show! When photo journalists usually have to seek photos for the story, then street photographer seeks story itself.

Street photography is also a good way to move around in fresh air and experience new environments. Cities are living organisms, which are interesting to follow and document. To make street photography does not necessary mean going abroad. But traveling makes it easier to discover new places and people, because everything is new and interesting. Being in home city and discovering new perspectives is not always easy. On the other hand it is a great challenge. Usually the interesting spots for street photography are the ones where lot of action happens.

What to shoot on the streets

A good photo gives emotions and expressions and a viewer does not have to ask what the photographer meant with it. Photos start to speak itself. Sometimes these stories are in people, sometimes emptiness gives the story. Most photographers find their favorite topics over time. It is wise to try to capture series, that comes into one story and tells different aspects of the place.

There are street photographers who shoot without asking permission. Others think that attitude is rude. Yet the opposite version is to ask permission and maybe loose a moment. So there is no clear answer to this question. Most important is to find a way that feels comfortable and right. There can be many “decisive moments” when out shooting in the streets. Take a ton of shots (10-30 photos if possible) and afterwards in the editing process choose image that is the best.

Another strategy could be looking for certain emotions in people when out on the street, and trying to find emotions of other people in the street that either are similar or dissimilar– and include them in the frame.

To find emotion in street photographs is difficult. First of all, finding the emotion in the streets through peoples’ body language or facial expressions. Then reacting quick enough to take the photograph before people noticing. However if getting a good shot and story to tell is rewarding.

What kind of gear to use?

Camera should be small, so that it is possible to carry it along all day. Some prefer digital, some analogue. Fixed lenses make photographer move and step out of the comfort zone. But they are sharper, smaller and cheaper.

Black and white street photography is somewhat easier. Using color photography requires more work to make all the tones match. Yet the world around us is full of colors. The ways for getting nice photos also depends on personal taste-whether black and white or color

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