12 Street Photography Tips for Candid Shots

Street photography is all about documenting everyday life and society within public places. You can practice street photography pretty much everywhere – on the road, in public squares, at the beach or park – you don’t have to travel to capture great shots. If you are new to street photography, we have compiled a list of 12 street photography tips that will help you identify those decisive moments and take better shots.

1. Take Your Camera Everywhere

Street photography is spontaneous, you never know when and where would be able to witness the perfect photo opportunity. Always have a street photography camera with you and you will never miss an opportunity to capture those “Kodak moments,” which, by the way, occur at the most unexpected times.

street singer with harmonica
Image source: Flickr.com

2. Choose a Good Camera

This is an important tip for those who want to perfect their street photography techniques. Those starting off street photography may be tempted to use long zoom lens since they can be far from the scene but still be able to capture the action. This will not do you any good; photography on the street is about getting up close and being part of the action!

Sony DSCW830 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver)

  • Optical Steady Shot image Stabilization with 2-way Active Mode. Dimensons(W X H X D)(APPROX.)- 3 3/4 x 2 1/8 x 29/32 Inches (93.1mm x 52.3mm x 22.5mm)
  • 720p MP4 HD Movie Mode ; This product is compatible with Final Cut Pro X and iMovie.
  • Picture Effect: Still images: Toy camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key, Panoramas: Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key, Movies: Toy camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key
  • 20.1 Megapixel(effective) Plus 8x Zoom and number of pixels (Gross)is approx. 20.4 megapixels
  • Panorama Shooting: 360 Sweep Panorama; Minimum Illumination: Auto: 22.0 lux Shutter Speed 1/30

Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera (Black)

  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Sony Lens w/ 5x Optical Zoom and 360 sweep panorama
  • In the box: Battery (NP-BN), AC AdaptorAC-UB10C, Wrist Strap, Multi USB cable, Instruction Manual
  • Reduced blur with SteadyShot Image stabilization.Recording Format:Still Images: JPEG , Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG)
  • Super HAD CCD 20.1 MP sensor

Professional street photographers will use a compact camera rather than a DSLR which is large, heavy, and conspicuous. If you don’t like compact cameras, however, you can try out a small DSLR like the Nikon D3300.

3. Check Your Camera Settings

As mentioned above, you only have a short time to capture the action; therefore, having your camera ready is highly recommended. Switch your camera to aperture priority mode (many pro photographers and hobbyist photographers shoot in this mode). Also, set your aperture (f-stop) and ISO manually.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)

  • Iso 6400, 7.4 fps continuous shooting
  • 3 inches 921k dot tilting LCD. Highest ISO sensitivity: 6400
  • 22.5 900 millimeter (35 millimeter equivalent)
  • 40x optical zoom lens, 80x dynamic zoom
  • Full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps

The approximate distance from where you will shoot your subject is 3 to 10 feet, therefore, remember to set the aperture to f/8. This way, anyone within the range will be in focus.

4. Get Closer to Your Subject

This is one of the important tips for street photography. Candid photography is thrilling if a photographer becomes part of the scene and gets close enough to capture their skin texture, emotions, and facial expressions. A wide-angle lens (24, 28, or 35mm) gives you a perspective which makes your image viewer feel as though he/she was part of the moment.

Canon Digital SLR Camera Kit [EOS Rebel T6] with EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm Zoom Lenses with SanDisk Extreme 16GB SDHC UHS-I Card - Black

  • Bundled with EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm Zoom Lenses and 16GB memory card so you can start capturing moments right away
  • Using Canon's new Camera Connect App*, the EOS Rebel T6i can connect to a number of compatible smartphones and iOS devices
  • Polished Full HD videos with our easy manual control of exposure, focus and Live View features
  • Next-generation 18.0 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor that can capture images with high resolution with an ISO 100-6400 (expandable to H: 12800)
  • Comes with a large, 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 920,000 dots shows fine details and provides easy viewing

A wide-angle lens also allows the photographer to blend in with those in the environment and not as a person outside the crowd aiming a long lens at strangers.

street photography angel
Image source: Flickr.com

5. Experiment with “Rat’s Eye View” Shots

People react differently when under observation, so the easiest way to take pictures of their interaction is unaware. Shooting at low angles is useful in situations where it is impossible to raise the camera to the eye; e.g. during street photography. It may be challenging at first, but as you become familiar with your camera and the focal length, you will be a pro at capturing candid moments from low angles.

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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black)

  • Bring the action in super close with category class leading 60X optical zoom (20mm-1200mm)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 130.2 x 97.0 x 118.2 mm / (5.13 x 3.82 x 4.65 inch)
  • Experience Full 1080/60i HD Panasonic Video recording with auto focus
  • Zoom focused Dolby quality sound recording locks out ambient noise for enhanced audio quality

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Nikon Coolpix S7000 16 MP Digital Camera with 20x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom 3-Inch LCD (Black)

  • 18 Scene Modes
  • 20x optical zoom and 40x with Dynamic Fine Zoom, an enhanced digital zoom function that effectively doubles your reach
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication technology allow you to wirelessly share photos to a compatible smartphone
  • Full HD 1080/60i videos with stereo sound
  • Target Finding AF for accurate, intelligent autofocus

6. Pick Your Subjects Wisely

This is probably the most important of all the street photography tips in this article. You must choose your subject wisely; some subjects may find the act of you photographing them a bit creepy. Nevertheless, most people like having their pictures taken, so as long as you ask politely, they will allow you to photograph them.

7. Be Spontaneous & Trust Your Instincts

As a photographer, you probably know that the essence of taking pictures of people, things or situations is because they are of some importance to us. When we transfer our feelings into photography and shoot passionately, it reflects through our work. So go ahead, be spontaneous and shoot anything or situation that you feel means something to you.

two tired men in train
Image source: Flickr.com

8. Practice Whenever Possible

As with any other exercise, practice makes perfect. This is one of the important street photography tips that we can’t forget to mention. It doesn’t matter where you are, be it in a small town where there aren’t any decent public places or on a dimly lit street, just take as many pictures as you can.

Nikon COOLPIX L32 Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle NIKKOR Zoom Lens

  • Smart Portrait System
  • 720p HD video with sound
  • 5x wide-angle NIKKOR zoom lens
  • Runs on regular AA batteries
  • Large 3.0-inch LCD

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Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Black)

  • Native ISO 100 25600; 5 fps shooting. Compatibility information: c firmware v. 1.10 and later ( released august 31, 2016 )
  • No optical low pass filter. Bluetooth specification version 4.1. Wi-Fi functionality eye fi compatible
  • Snap Bridge Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Expeed 4 image processor
  • 24.2mp dx format CMOS sensor

If you do this frequently, you will perfect your art and be prepared to capture those decisive moments.

9. Patience is Key

This is an important tip that we had to include in this list of street photography tips. There is this weird misconception surrounding street photography that street photographers need always be on the move hunting that elusive shot. Well, this is completely and utterly wrong.

Most often the best street photographs come from photographers who understand the value of patience. Therefore, the next time you come across a dreamy background which is cluttered with a few distractions, hang out for some time and wait for the “perfect” subject to come into the scene.

10. Tell a Story

This is also one of the important street photography tips that photographers should have at the back of their minds. Any street photograph should tell a story; your images should clearly reflect the emotions of your subject while their environment should lay a foundation for your subject.

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43-BK 16MP Digital Camera with 4X Optical Zoom and 2.7" LCD Screen (Black)

  • 16 Megapixels;Compatible with PC or Mac.Focal Length 4.9 mm (Wide) — 19.6 mm (Tele). Shutter Speed: 1/2000 – 4 Seconds
  • 720p HD Video
  • 4X Optical Zoom
  • 2.7" LCD Screen
  • 27mm Wide Angle;Compatible with PC or Mac

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) w/16-50mm Power Zoom Lens

  • Up to 11 FPS continuous shooting. Battery Life (Still Images): Up to 360 shots. Metering type:1200-zone evaluative metering
  • Anti-dust system: Charge protection coating on optical filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism
  • 3 inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots. Viewfinder Type: 0.39 in type electronic viewfinder (color)
  • Hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery NP FW50; Shoulder strap; Eyepiece cup; Micro USB cable

The best way to do this is by first imagining how you would like your photos to look like. What is your background going to be like? How are your subjects going to interact with one another in the scene? Finally, ask yourself the kind of emotion you would like to convey with your photo.

lonely man on sidewalk
Image source: Flickr.com

11. Street Photography Tips Last Point – Have Fun!

The list will be incomplete without including having fun among the important street photography tips. Creativity and passion co-exist; where there is passion, creativity flows. So get out there, do what you love as you meet new people and see life from a fresh perspective each day.

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The Beginner's Photography Guide: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Manual for Getting the Most from Your Digital Camera

  • Dk Pub
  • Gatcum, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 05/10/2016 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)

The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography (BetterPhoto Series)

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Miotke, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages - 02/09/2011 (Publication Date) - Amphoto Books (Publisher)

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National Geographic Photography Guide For Kids

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  • Hardcover Book
  • Johnson, Neil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 80 Pages - 05/01/2001 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Kids (Publisher)

Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Davis, Harold (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 05/31/2016 (Publication Date) - Harold Davis (Publisher)

Conclusion

Having read this article on “street photography tips” this far it is evident that you are interested in street photography and would like to explore it further. Do not be afraid to pursue your hobby or career, get a good camera with the best lens for street photography and hit the road. Before you go, do not forget to share with us any other street photography tips we might have missed. You can also check out our article on candid photography tips if you want to perfect your street photography techniques.

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