10 Things Not to Do in Street Photography


Hong Kong, 2012

  1. Don’t chimp (let your shots marinate)
  2. Don’t look at bad photos (study the masters)
  3. Don’t spend time on gear review sites when you’re bored (buy books, not gear)
  4. Don’t worry about your camera (the best camera is the one you have with you)
  5. Don’t mix black and white and color in the same set (aim for consistency)
  6. Don’t stop shooting (shoot a lot of bad photos to get a few good ones)
  7. Don’t worry about how many followers you have (shoot for yourself, like Vivian Maier)
  8. Don’t publish photos without a second opinion (edit ruthlessly)
  9. Don’t only take 1 photo of a scene (work the scene, there is more than one “decisive moment”)
  10. Don’t forget to have fun (life is short, shoot if everyday were your last)

What else would you add to this list? Share what you don’t do in street photography in the comments below!

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  • Paul Donohoe

    Not related to this post at all Eric, but I’m beginning to think I should stop reading about street photography online. With the exception of your stuff and a few others, most of it bugs me! haha

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Haha why is that?

  • Giovanni Maggiora

    Wise advice, Eric.
    Nice and simple, but difficult to really stick to this!
    Ok let’s see
    1-2-3-5-6-10 I’m ok (1-5 being the most crucial suggestions I think)
    4-7 So-so (I should stop thinking about the Ricoh GR I did not buy when I chose the Fuji X100S…)
    8-9 Not enough (and 9 is the third most crucial I think)
    Thanks for reminding us constantly…
    Best (and enjoy ‘Nam while you’re there)

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Anytime Giovanni, glad I could have been of service :)

  • devteros

    Don’t use a zoom. Get closer.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Nice one

  • Yuan

    Now I use a DSLR on the street, and I am OK.

  • jwc

    This can apply to other genres of photography too, not just street. Good list.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Thanks JWC :D

  • Guest

    11. Don’t be a photo analyst (develop your own photographic “voice”)
    12. Don’t buy books that are available in your local reference library (save money)
    13. Don’t read too much about the ‘Masters’ (You will end up taking photos ‘like’ them)

    14. Don’t mix with fanboys (mix with people who don’t talk about medium, gear. Never mind, they don’t exist)
    15. Don’t shoot for others (Unless SP is your primary sourceof income)
    16. Don’t focus on projects to tell a story (call it Documentary / Journalism if you do)
    17. Don’t pull out your hair on any of the above ‘points’ (Get off the internet, go out and shoot!)

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Amen to that!

  • Kevin Shelley

    I would add,

    1. Use whichever lens you feel most comfortable with and the one which gets the results you’re after . . . even if it’s a zoom.

    2. Ignore those who say you can’t do something a particular way because it’s ‘wrong’ or because it’s not the way ‘other’ people do it. Don’t be afraid to ‘walk’ your own path. Afterall, the path everyone else is on is very crowded.

  • tito

    Rule #10 negates the rest of the rules, don’t you think?