Street Photography Tactics

London, 2014

To advertise the new STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION, here are some empowering street photography tactics you can add to your street photography toolbelt:

1. Decapitation technique

Paris, 2015

For this technique, don’t include faces. Intentionally try to chop off faces. The street photographer Siegfried Hansen does this well.

I generally like to shoot horizontally (landscape orientation) and focus on just legs, just the chest or just the hands.

Why does this work to make better photos? By not seeing someone’s face, it makes the photograph more mysterious and engaging for the viewer.

2. Shoot with your camera on the ground

Toronto, 2015

Avoid boring street photographs, by avoiding traditional angles (eye level).

My suggestion: shoot with your camera on the ground. If your camera has an lcd screen, use it.

Suggestion 2: shoot from a very high perspective looking down. Use the lcd screen if you have it. If not, just shoot blind. It’s okay. Make at least 10 photos from a high perspective and choose your favorite photo.

3. Ask your subject to first make a photo of you

Chicago, 2015

If you like street portraiture, a good way to get someone to say “yes” is to ask your subject to photograph you, before you ask to photograph them.

Of course, use common sense and follow your gut. Don’t do this to people who might run off with your camera.

Why will this tactic work? The rule of reciprocity. If someone takes your photo you have the “right” to photograph them too.

4. Take 100 photos of the same scene

To make this one photo of a charging water buffalo, I stalked it and made 100 photos of it.

This was the best, because it looks headless (lucky shot), and also the kid running in the background (luck).

eric kim photography composition diagonal01

Lesson: the more click, the more likely you are to get a “keeper” street photograph.

Street photography is so random and unpredictable that you often don’t know what you get until you click, a lot.

So as an assignment, click at least 100 photos as a scene. Try this tactic more often.


By popular demand, we dedicated many hours and cups of coffee to present to you STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION.