How to Shoot Street Photography on the Subway, Bus, or Public Transportation

An idea from STREET HUNT: shoot street photography on the subway, bus, or public transportation.

Why the subway?

Red dot on head of suit. London tube, 2014

One of the challenging things as a street photographer is to stay inspired to shoot everyday, regardless of how busy you are in your everyday life.

If you take the subway, tube, bus, or any other form of public transportation on your commute to work, this is one of the best places you can shoot street photography.


How to shoot on the subway/bus/public transportation

Some practical ideas:

1. Don’t make eye contact:

Suit and NYC subway

Make photos but pretend like you’re shooting something behind your subjects. Or pretend to be a lost tourist, and photograph the subway map in the background.

2. Shoot with a wide-angle lens:

Subway street picture of man and advertisement. Tokyo, 2017

Use a 28mm or 35mm lens in street photography, and this way you don’t need to point your lens directly at your subject. Put them off a little bit on the left or the right side of your frame.

3. Shoot on the platform, not just inside the train/bus:

Blurry man in Tokyo, in subway.

If you shoot on the platform while you’re waiting for the subway, or waiting for the bus, it is less anxiety-ridden than shooting directly on public transportation. Look for people who are bored and waiting. Look for strong emotions– people looking lost, desperate, or who knows, even happy and excited.

4. Whenever possible, try to photograph people head-on (showing their faces):

Woman in New York Metro who is looking directly at me with eye contact. The dynamic tension of, “What is she going to do, or say next?”

Showing the back of someone’s head is never very interesting. By showing the faces of your subject, you will better capture emotions in them, which is the cornerstone of street photography.


SUBWAY by Bruce davidson

Photograph from Subway by Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos
Photograph from Subway by Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos

My favorite project on the subway was done by Bruce Davidson:

STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual

For more inspiration, pick up a copy of STREET HUNT: Street Photography Field Assignments Manual to re-inspire your street photography:


Street Photography 101

If you’re new to street photography, start here:


Master Street Photography

Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Street Photography
Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Street Photography

Become the best street photographer possible by picking up a copy of Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Street Photography. This book is full of all my distilled knowledge and wisdom on street photography over the last 10 years, crafted specifically to empower you in street photography.

For more free resources, presets, and PDF visualizations on street photography, join my free ERIC KIM NEWSLETTER to stay inspired and empowered.

Also join ERIC KIM EXPERIENCE if you want to take your street photography to the next level and conquer your fears and meet new peers.

To join a positive and passionate community, share your photos in ERIC KIM FORUM. Look forward to having you friend :)


Street Photography Articles

Mad men. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z


Street Photography Composition Techniques


STREET NOTES.

STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION x RICOH GR II
STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION x RICOH GR II

Push yourself out of your comfort zone with STREET NOTES: Mobile Edition.

STREET NOTES PAPER EDITION ON AMAZON >


LEARN FROM THE MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

LEARN FROM THE MASTERS by HAPTIC

Timeless wisdom from the masters of street photography.

Learn more about MASTERS >

Buy MASTERS on Amazon >


FUNDAMENTALS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

elegance, seoul, 2009 Eric Kim street photography

Street Photography Inspiration

eric kim street photography marseille kodak portra 400 sunbather beach


Beginner Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-1

Get started in street photography:

Definitions in Street Photography

How to Shoot Street Photography

Street Photography Equipment

Tokyo Eric Kim rain umbrella

See all equipment articles >

How to Conquer Your Fears in Street Photography

See all articles to conquer your fears >


Intermediate Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-19

Take your street photography to the next level:


Advanced Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-suits-color-kodak-portra-400-2

Find deeper meaning in your street photography:


Street Photography Tips & Technique

laughin-lady-contact-copy

Learn how to shoot on the streets:

See all street photography tips and techniques >

Street Photography Guides

tokyo-eye-eric-kim-street-photography-contact-sheet-0000545

In-depth guides on street photography:

Street Photography Equipment

0-eric-kim-street-photography-sweat-downtown-la

The best equipment for street photography:

See all equipment articles >

Street Photography Editing and Workflow

How to Start a Street Photography Project


Learn From the Masters of Street Photography

MASTERS PROTOTYPE by HAPTIC

“He without a past has no future.”

Start here:

  1. Why Study the Masters of Photography?
  2. Great Female Master Photographers
  3. Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
  4. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  5. Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
  6. Download All Articles >

The Masters of Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Classics never die:


Free Downloads

See all free downloads >

Free Street Photography Books

eric-kim-street-photography-only-in-america-14

Distilled information on street photography:

For more resources on photography, Start Here >

Scroll to Top