Sketch Lisbon Street photography

Courage over Skill in Street Photography

Dear friend,

A simple idea I wanted to share with you: focus on building your courage and bravery in photography and life; don’t worry too much about “skill”.

Sketch Lisbon Street photography

This is my thinking:

  1. You can control how courageous you are in street photography
  2. You can’t really control your “skill” in street photography

The more I think about street photography, the more I recognize this fact:

Street photography is so dramatically different from all the other genres of photography!

Lisbon walking woman

Why? I think 80% of street photography is having courage to take photos! Of course we also need skill in terms of composition and framing, but still — so much more is about having courage in street photography!

Diagonal composition Lisbon

Even now, it is impossible to know whether you’re going to make a good street photograph or not before you shoot it! It’s also difficult to determine which scenes might make for a good photo.

However it’s quite easy to determine whether you see a scene which scares you or not!

Diagonal composition street photography suit Lisbon

Thus this is my simple suggestion:

If you see a scene which scares you, shoot it! Scenes which scare you have a high likelihood of being an interesting photo!

Pink composition looking down

So once again in short words,

To be a better street photographer, be a bolder street photographer!

Composition sketch looking down

To be bolder in street photography means:

  1. If you see a scene which interests you, don’t think — JUST SHOOT IT! Take the photo, and make eye contact with your subject and just smile!
  2. When in doubt, get closer to your subject! Shoot with a wide-angle lens (24, 28, 35mm lens), and use your “foot zoom” to get closer to your subjects!
  3. Live your photographic life with no regrets: Better to take a bad photo than no photo!


Street Photography 101

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