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Street Photography for Beginners

Becoming a street photographer is extremely popular, but can be one of the most challenging and demanding genres in photography. At the same time it is one of the most rewarding styles of photography. So we thought we would share our top tips for Street Photography for Beginners.

Street Photography is all about documenting people in their everyday environment and going about their daily lives.

From our years of experience being street photographers, we can tell you that getting to become good at street photography is not easy – it requires patience, lots of practice and lots of hard work. The old saying practice, practice, practice has never been truer as it takes many years to get brave enough to be able to get close and photograph complete strangers on the street with your camera. Here we will take a look at what street photography is, how it differs from other styles of photography and give you some great tips to get you started in the genre of street photography.

London Street Photograph

LOOK FOR THE MOMENT and be aware of your surroundings

When you go out with your camera keep your eyes peeled for that special moment: it could be a person who goes strolling past, someone sleeping on the pavement or a conversation you see happening in a doorway. Often, it’s easy to capture these moments without invading and from across the street. Simply look out for the moments which make you think, wonder and convey emotion.

Ultimately, according to Henri Cartier- Bresson, it’s about ‘the decisive moment’ when everything in a shot simply comes together: perfect timing, perfect capture.

London Street Photograph

JUXTAPOSITION Seeing a street photography image come together

Juxtaposition is a great style to implement into your street photography. It involves looking to portray a contrast in your image at the same time as a relationship; for example, capturing a person wearing a red coat coming out of a building with a red sign, or someone riding a green bike with a green logo in the background or maybe many people wearing similar colours in the same scene.

TELL A STORY with a single street photo

With Street photography try to see and be aware of what’s around you, and then see if you can anticipate the movements and actions of the people you are trying to photograph whilst out on the street with your camera. You’ll then get used to prejudging the decisive moment to press your camera shutter button and really capturing the story as it happens.

Camden Market Street Photography

FIND THE PERFECT STAGE and stay there

It’s not just all about people, always try and find a great street scene or backdrop on the street which you think will be great for your street photograph.  As a beginner in street photography try and be patient and to stay in your chosen location waiting for the right person or character to enter the scene you’ve selected on the street. You can have your camera pre focused and settings set and just concentrate on your composition and wait for the perfect moment.

Brick Lane Street Photography

STREET PORTRAITS

This is often the easiest and best way into street photography for beginners but still requires lots of consideration to make your street portrait stand out from the crowd. Although spontaneous street portraits are more favoured and certainly look more natural, don’t be afraid to also ask and engage with your subject.

The difference is that you can now use a shallow depth of field as you are just doing a portrait, but remember that you could still stick to a trusty f8 if you wanted to include elements of that person’s surroundings in the photograph.

Street portraits could also be taken with a slightly longer lens such as a 50mm or 85mm.

London Street Portrait

STREET PORTRAIT CHALLENGE

Go out with a smile on your face and look for characters that you find interesting on the street. Engage with them, pay them a compliment and ask if you can take their portrait.

Now this is the challenge. only stop when 10 people have said no!… I bet you will be out most of the day and you’ll come back with a bag of great street portraits!

START IN A CROWDED PLACE … maybe an event ?

For beginners, events are always a good place to start off when you’re trying to build a project or get your confidence levels up whilst practicing your street photography.

Events are crowded places and are generally where the people taking part are invested in what they are doing and not so aware of their surroundings, as they are in their own moment.

This is a great time to people watch, pick your subjects and photograph them in their own unique environment.

Don’t be afraid to even talk with them at some point, so they know what you’re doing: they will then just go back to what they were doing.

Carnivals, Festivals, ceremonies, street parades and demonstrations are all great places to look out for over the year.

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