Tips and Techniques for Memorable Street Photography

Ben Lowy¬†from Adorama has been shooting a lot of different photography genres for several years now. He started off as a conflict photographer, then moved on to sports, then fashion—and now underwater photography. But in this video, he shares his best tips for street photography:

His inspiration to shoot street photography comes from walking around the streets of a city and using photography as a medium to explore. Not that he gets a lot of time now to explore with all his other assignments these days, but that’s how he did it when he began.

“It is where you actually find out a lot about yourself. How your eyes work, how you see, how you sketch and conceptualize your approach to photography.”

Lowy explains that as a photographer you’re trying to make an image as opposed to the average person with a smartphone who is trying to take an image.

“You are trying to control the serendipity of life.”

street photography tips from Ben Lowy

Lowy expresses how he tends to control things inside his compositions. Not by physically moving things around but inside his head. When he looks at a scene he has a pretty definite idea how he wants the final image to look. He uses negative space and light, and also the technique of waiting for that precise moment when everything falls into place perfectly.

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Lowy expresses his love for Gary Winogrand’s work. His own work demonstrates that love. He loves looking for shafts of light inside a city; he loves exploring the spaces that people inhabit, and that comes through in his photography.

When asked about his camera settings, he says he bases them on the needs of the shot rather than something definite all the time. So it can be a shallow depth of field or f/22 depending on what he’s shooting, whether he’s moving about, and also whether or not he is sure about the plane of focus.

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For shutter speed, he normally shoots at least at 1/200 second and then changes it around depending on the subject and other parameters. The same goes for ISO.

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He chooses a 35mm lens over anything else most of the time. That’s his favorite focal length. He prefers to change his “focal length” by stepping forward and backward rather than zooming.

“I am always looking for some way to control the chaos. Rather than just picking moments out of the chaos. Because, that what it is. That’s what life is. Life is chaos. And we as photographers, we are trying to put that chaos in this little rectangle.”

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One response to “Tips and Techniques for Memorable Street Photography”

  1. Ron Gore says:

    I love the idea of street photography, but I’m concerned about legal issues. Is it required to have the subject’s consent to have their picture taken? I don’t see how everyone in this tutorial could have given permission to have their picture shown. Is street photography different?

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