Street Photography Tips to Capture the Essence of the Place

Street photography can create some of the most exciting and interesting travel photographs. There is nothing quite like walking through the bustling streets of some far off location with your camera in hand. The excitement, anticipation, and exhilaration are unbelievable! Knowing that at any second you could potentially snap a masterpiece and capture the locals in action is such a rush. Moreover, by doing this type of photography, you can gain greater insight into the culture and daily lives of the citizens – it is quite an eye-opening experience.

 Despite this, many people struggle with street photography.

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There is no denying that it is difficult to master. But the great thing is, is that there is no wrong or right way to take awesome street photos. You mainly have to act quick, think fast, and stay alert. That way, you won’t miss any opportunities. If you want to explore the wonders of street photography, we can help. We have compiled a list of 8 awesome street photography tips to help improve your street photography so that you can capture the essence of a place – enjoy!

Scout your location beforehand

Although street photography should be random and impulsive, there can be structure too. It is advisable to scout your desired location beforehand. Walk through the area and get a feel for what you can see. What activities are people carrying out? What interesting objects or people are there? Are there any particularly busy streets that could provide superb photo opportunities? Take notes and use this knowledge so that you are fully prepared. Also, look out for areas that look potentially dangerous and make a note to avoid them.

Take photos at different time periods

Many people make the mistake of only taking photos during one trip and one time period. This may work out fine, but you may miss out on a host of opportunities. Remember, that one time period is captive – anything could happen before or after this timeframe. Consider visiting a place during several different times of the day. For example, you could head to a market early in the morning and photograph the vendors setting up their stalls. You could then head back later in the day once the crowds have appeared and business is booming.

Don’t always look for the extraordinary

Street photography doesn’t have to capture amazing actions or unusual circumstances. Whilst this can create stunning and interesting photos, it may also not convey the true nature of a location. Sometimes, the ordinary is preferable. Just take photos of people going about their daily activities. Ordinary shots such as this can really help show how the locals live. A mix of extraordinary and ordinary shots can really give a brilliant overview of a location.

Interact with people

Sometimes, you have to know when to jump in and when not to. People generally do not mind having their photos taken – some people love it! This is especially true if you are traveling to remote locations where cameras and travelers are not a regular occurrence.

To help improve your photography, interact with the locals. Show them your work. Talk to them – ask for their participation. This can really improve the process. It can also help you create some truly magical street portraits as the locals will feel more at ease. Furthermore, interactions can bring unintentional masterpieces and bring the locals out of their shell.

Use a mixture of posed shots and natural actions

Aside from interacting with the locals, knowing when to use posed or natural shots is also important. Posed photos can look fantastic – simply ask an interesting local to strike a pose; these are typically portrait shots that concentrate on the subject. Whilst these shots can give insight into the types of people within a location, they do not always convey action and daily life.

This is why natural shots are important too. Simply capture the locals as they work – as they are in mid-flow. By using a combination of the two, your street photography will be varied and interesting. You can take street portraits that show what the people are like, but also how they act and what they do. Don’t forget to look for natural vertical lines too and make use of techniques such as the rule of thirds.

Shoot, shoot and shoot again!

When taking street photos, your camera should be snapping continuously! This is one of the most important pointers. Have your DSLR camera ready and take as many photos as possible! Some of the photos may be complete garbage, but you will also undoubtedly capture some unexpected moment of pure brilliance. DSLR cameras take SD memory cards – this means you do not have to worry about how many photos you take – storage is not an issue.

Try to tell a story

Street photography can paint a picture. It can tell a story. This story could involve a handful of subjects, or it could involve the whole community. Try to look at subsequent photos to establish a storyline and create something that the viewer can follow. For example, if we look at the market vendor again. You could take a series of photos showing what this person has to go through each day – setting up their stall, interactions such as customers, taking a break etc. Use your photos as a storytelling narrative device.

Look for Juxtapositions



Juxtapositions are present practically everywhere. When walking through the streets, you will undoubtedly find contrast. Contrast creates interesting photos. The contrast of bright colors. The contrast of people’s actions. The contrast of the weather and lighting. Use juxtapositions to create interesting and humorous shots. You can also create deep thought provoking photos using dark juxtapositions. 
 
Hopefully, your head should now be packed full of these useful street photography tips and ideas. The possibilities of street photography are endless – from posed street portraits to completely candid photos. Imagine walking through the street markets of Amman in Jordan and taking photos of the different stalls. Imagine meandering through the busy streets of Manhattan and shooting the action in Times Square. Let your imagination run wild and use these tips to create some magnificent street photography!

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