Tips to Overcome Fear & Tension as a Street Photographer

Are you comfortable photographing strangers in the street? What holds you back from getting the shots you want? In an impassioned monologue, documentary photographer John Free gives tips on how to get over the fear and emotions that create tension around street photography:

Free discusses his belief that photographers need to overcome their worry about taking photos in the street and their discomfort with the camera in order to make a photograph that can be understood and admired by viewers.

Street photographers often get tripped up with anxiety over what the people they’re photographing think of them. They worry that they’re invading privacy or interrupting something. To get over this fear, Free suggests you think of the people in your photographs simply as props, stop thinking about what they’re saying about you, and become confident in your own good intentions as a documentary photographer.

Besides becoming comfortable with people, technical skills are a must. Tension is often caused by your inability to react in time to to get the photos you want. Free instructs photographers to go out and practice until they are completely in control of the camera and can work fast to get shots that depend on a split second of quick thinking.


“The picture’s never about you.”

Only when photographers clear the obstacles that cause stress can they portray their power and thought in their photographs (Via Petapixel). Unobstructed dedication, love, and practice will help you create effective images that people want to put up on their walls.

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3 responses to “Tips to Overcome Fear & Tension as a Street Photographer”

  1. Tracy says:

    That sounds easier said than done :-)

  2. Maricha says:

    spoken like a pro.. I agree wholeheartedly and I’ll practice and practice, as I’ve seen the results of this in my own photography, the enjoyment the viewer gets from the photographs puts fear and axiety aside and confidence takes it’s place. Thank you for these tips. I’m off to shoot Paris.

  3. Amy says:

    Good info, going to try my first hand at street photography tomorrow morning. I’m very nervous to the point that I feel sick right now but its a personal goal I want to overcome as I love taking pictures of everything else but people are my biggest challenge. I’m determined to connect and overcome that anxiety to make some memories and broader photographs:)

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