Low angle shot of man with flip phone. Shot with flash. Tokyo, 2017

Simple street photography tips and techniques you can apply to your street pictures today!

1. Fishing technique

Woman walking by blue wall. Ginza, Tokyo 2017
Woman walking by blue wall. Ginza, Tokyo 2017

Look for simple background, wait for your subject to enter the scene. Keep shooting the same spot for 10 minutes or so, and like a good fisherman— wait for your fish to come to you.

Street picture with Akira Kurosawa movie poster in background. Tokyo, 2017.
Street picture with Akira Kurosawa movie poster in background. Tokyo, 2017.

2. Shoot from a high perspective looking down

High angle shot of red and green crosswalk. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017
High angle shot of red and green crosswalk. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017

Climb up stairs, or go high up on a concrete overpass. Shoot looking down. Tilt your camera. Look for nice shapes, forms, and graphical elements which you like.

3. Shoot street photography at the mall

Woman going down escalator and flash. Tokyo, 2017

Mall street photography: free air conditioning and lots of people, and lots of leading lines, diagonals, and graphical elements to shoot.

Ginza Six mall photo

Shoot while riding the escalator at the mall, when you’re going up or down. Juxtapose people against the advertisements in the mall. Pretend like you’re just a dumb tourist, going shopping.

4. Avoid eye contact

Man shot with flash in mall, with two people behind him, making triangle. Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017
Man shot with flash in mall, with two people behind him, making triangle. Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017

After you take a picture of someone, avoid eye contact. Pretend like you’re shooting something behind your subject.

5. Look up

Helicopter. Omotesando, Tokyo 2017
Helicopter. Omotesando, Tokyo 2017

When you’re out and about, don’t forget to look up.

6. Crouch down very low

Child in yellow, holding hands of parents, from low perspective. Ueno, Tokyo 2017
Child in yellow, holding hands of parents, from low perspective. Ueno, Tokyo 2017

Effective when shooting children, to embrace their perspective. Makes the picture more intimate. Makes the subject look bigger, larger than life, and more powerful.

7. Shoot layered flash picture

Flash street picture and layers. Ginza, Tokyo 2017
Flash street picture and layers. Ginza, Tokyo 2017

If you see a big group of people at somewhere in the streets at night, try to capture layers and shoot with a flash. Look for one primary subject to focus on. Take a few pictures, pretend like you were shooting something else (like a tourist with a flash) and keep on walking.

8. Walk directly in front of people

Women walking in Omotesando, Tokyo 2017
Women walking in Omotesando, Tokyo 2017

If you see a group of people walking towards you, use a wide angle lens like a 28mm and get very close to them, and interrupt their walking, by walking straight in-between them in front. This will make a more dynamic picture.

Man and woman walking with umbrella. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017
Man and woman walking with umbrella. Shibuya, Tokyo 2017

9. Take pictures in subway or public transportation

Subway street picture of man and advertisement. Tokyo, 2017
Subway street picture of man and advertisement. Tokyo, 2017

If you commute to work via public transit, there are lots of street photo opportunities. Get close to your subject (you can just use your phone) and pretend like you’re shooting advertisements behind them. Direct your body language in a way that doesn’t look like you’re taking a picture of your subject.

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