Street Photography Tips

Practical street photography tips to apply when you’re shooting on the steeets.

1. Shoot from a low angle

Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017

Crouch down super low, with a wide angle lens like a 28mm lens, and make a more dynamic street photography composition.

Perspective lines in red. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Perspective lines in red. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Low angle red perspective lines
Low angle red perspective lines

Pro tip: if you have a tilting LCD screen, use it and put your camera close to the ground.

Bodies of boys in different colors. Perspective lines in red. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Bodies of boys in different colors. Perspective lines in red. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Bodies of boys in different colors. Perspective lines in white. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Bodies of boys in different colors. Perspective lines in white. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Bodies of boys in different colors. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017
Bodies of boys in different colors. Low angle photograph of kids. Kyoto, 2017

2. Three box composition

Three box composition
Three box composition

Divide your frame into three boxes and shoot through windows, or wherever you see natural frames.

Three rectangles composition. Saigon, 2017
Three rectangles composition. Saigon, 2017

Case Study: Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson – Natcho Aguirre, Santa Clara, Mexico, 1934

Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson - Natcho Aguirre, Santa Clara, Mexico, 1934
Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson – Natcho Aguirre, Santa Clara, Mexico, 1934

3. Shoot three people in a frame

Laughing old people. Tokyo, 2017
Laughing old people. Tokyo, 2017

Try the “bookend” technique: someone on the extreme left of the frame, extreme right of the frame, and in the middle —to create an illusion of depth and layers in your street photos:

Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red.
Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red.
Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow.
Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow.
Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow. Background man in blue.
Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow. Background man in blue.
Abstracted depth in street photography composition. Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow. Background man in blue.
Abstracted depth in street photography composition. Bookend woman, far left of the frame in red. Middle ground woman on far right, in yellow. Background man in blue.

Pro tip: get hand gestures in your frame for more action and dynamism in your picture.

4. Figure to ground

Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.
Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.

Separate your subjects from the background with the “figure to ground” composition — dark subjects against white backgrounds, and white subjects against dark backgrounds.

Abstract. Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.
Abstract. Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.

5. Pretend like you’re shooting something behind your subject

Woman and man in suit. London, 2013
Woman and man in suit. London, 2013

Learn more STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 101 >

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