8 Hurdles That All Street Photographers Must Face

If you want to try street photography, you will no doubt encounter a few problems, from lighting conditions to the really scary part—photographing strangers. There isn’t one way to take street photos, but there are certain ways to prepare yourself. Kai provides some useful tips to deal with certain problems and make your street shooting experience easier:

1. Uninspiring Location

What do you do when you arrive at your location and it’s lifeless? Getting interesting shots of an uninteresting area is difficult. Move on; find somewhere better.

2. Street Photography Stage-Fright

You want to take photos of people but you’re embarrassed, shy, fearful. Keep practicing—overcome your fear. Don’t let it turn you away from street photography.

afraid to photography strangers

3. People Wary of You Taking Photos of Them

How many times have you tried to discreetly take a picture of some stranger and just before you snap it they look at you? It’s off-putting, isn’t is? Try to be subtle. Walk casually, snapping pictures along the way. Look like anyone else walking on the street and quickly and subtly try to get your shot in. If you have to stand still, try to look like you’re photographing something else nearby, hold the camera to your face even after the shot has been taken.

Be aware of how dodgy you might look and stop it. Don’t try to hide behind cars or peek out from behind building corners, try to blend in to draw less attention to yourself.

4. Potential Confrontation

If someone you’ve photographed notices and gets angry, don’t bother fighting. Simply apologize, offer to delete the photo and move on. There will be many more opportunities to get great shots.

street photography confrontation

5. People Stop What They’re Doing

Once you’ve gained some confidence, you’ll be able to premeditate your shot. You can see your subject about to walk in your frame, you raise your camera and your subject stops dead in their tracks. They don’t know they are the subject, they don’t want to walk into your shot, so they stop to wait. One thing you can do is pre-focus. Again, try to be subtle. Visualize where your subject will walk into the frame and focus on something near that spot. It also helps to stop it down to a small aperture, so even if they miss that marker, there will be more things in focus. When you see them about to hit the spot you visualized, quickly raise your camera and get the shot.

6. Lack of a Decisive Moment

You’ve been crouched down, camera up and ready, for what seems like eternity, but the right moment just doesn’t present itself. At this point, you have to decide if it’s worth waiting or if you should just move on and find better shots somewhere else.

“Don’t fantasize about a shot that will never happen.”

7. Worry About Getting the Shot

Don’t worry too much about one single shot, keep shooting. If you want to improve your hit rate, take more photos. Try shooting from different angles and compositions, then you can choose your favorites. It’s not uncommon for photographers to use a whole role of film just shooting one subject. And with a DSLR, you can pretty much go nuts.

photographing different angles

8. Quick Shot, Bad Exposure

You take your shot, only to find that you’ve ended up with a poorly exposed image. Set your camera up beforehand to suit the way you see things when you’re shooting. Be aware of the lighting conditions and pick the settings that work best for you.

When it comes to street photography, there will always be hurdles. It helps to know how to deal with certain situations. Once you’re comfortable with these things, you’ve gained some confidence, the process will get easier, smoother. Just keep going out there and shooting, don’t let it scare you!

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