7 Tips for Better Street Photography

Not many photographers find it easy to aim a camera at a complete stranger and walk away with a photograph. Street photography is the ultimate challenge for many photographers. Eric Kim shares with us seven tips on how to make great street photos. If you were always intrigued with street photography but never really understood how to make good street photos here is something that should be useful:

1. Gestures

Composition and emotion are the two most critical ingredients in a great street photograph. Beginners are often guilty of photographing people out on the streets who are simply walking by and not doing anything. While we cannot overlook the importance of good composition, what really strikes us in our hearts as human beings is emotion.

street photography tips

A good street photo ought to include emotion—something that the viewer can empathize with. Gestures are a good way to capture that emotion. One way to induce a gesture would be to not shoot candidly. Ask for permission, and engage your subject in a conversation.

2. Details

Many street photographers shoot a fairly wide scene with the entire subject visible. But a shot of more close-up details can set your photos apart.

how to make better street photos

With street photography, the more you make it general the less interesting it becomes. The viewer isn’t quite sure what to focus on or what the image is all about. Instead, try to focus on the specific details. By showing less you show more.

3. Perspective

The common perspective is the ordinary, eye-level perspective.

perspective in street photography

Try shooting from higher up or lower down. Shooting from lower down makes an individual appear larger than life. Shooting from higher up makes them look smaller. Experiment with perspective to add more interest to your photos.

4. Mystery

Nothing beats an element of mystery in a photograph. Don’t always approach a street photo with the thought of how much you can include.

how to use mystery in street photography

Instead, think of what you can leave behind. In doing so you add a sense of mystery to the photograph—something for the viewer to ponder about.

5. Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition is an interesting way to introduce contrast to a photo. Juxtaposition refers to two completely different elements in the same frame. A human being and a mannequin, for example. Or something new and elegant in front of something old and gritty.

juxtaposition in street photography

You can really a do a lot of work with just juxtaposition as your main theme.

6. Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul

capturing eye contact

A photograph where the subject is seen making eye contact with you can be a little disconcerting.  There are a number of ways in which you can capture a subject making eye-contact. One of the tricks is to keep shooting until the subject looks straight at your camera.

7. The Cherry on Top

The cherry on top refers to an element that’s unique, something that’s open to interpretation.

cherry on top

It’s something that happens only in a rare few instances having taken maybe a hundred frames. One thing to do is to minutely check every image that you click and look for that one element–an eye-catching shadow, a perfectly timed event, etc.–that can be counted as the cherry on top.

What other tips do you have for new street photographers?

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