Lingering Technique: How to Work the Scene in Street Photography

Dear friend,

Basic concept in street photography:

When you see an interesting scene, don’t just take 1-2 photos and run away. Instead, keep “working the scene” (shooting the scene from different angles, and distances), and linger around, and keep shooting photos!

Video: How to Work the Scene in Street Photography

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Contact Sheet

Contact Sheets: showing the ‘behind the scenes’.

This is how I took the photo:

  1. I saw the woman smoking, and I liked the birds on the right side.
  2. I started to shoot photos, and kept moving my feet. I took some steps closer, shot a little from the left, a little from the right, and tilted my camera to use the ‘Dutch Angle‘ (tilted frame composition) technique.
  3. When I thought I got the shot, I lingered for a longer period. My rule of thumb: When you think you’ve got the shot, you haven’t got the shot. Thus, shoot 25% more than you think you need to!

Photo Meta-Data

Shot on Lumix G9, Program mode (autofocus), automatic ISO, Leica 12mm f/1.4 lens (24mm full-frame equivalent), with “Dynamic Monochrome JPEG film preset”.

Conclusion: Takeaway Lessons

  1. “You must milk the cow a lot to get a little bit of cheese.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson. This means, shoot a lot of photos of an interesting scene, in order to get 1 good photo.
  2. Your aim is to make really strong images. You must shoot a lot of photos and “work the scene” in order to extract the best possible maximum image from the scene.
  3. When you see an interesting scene, there are severaldecisive moments” that can occur. Thus, keep “lingering”, hang around, and wait if there is something even MORE interesting that might happen!



Learn more about contact sheets:

Don’t just take 1 photo of the scene: ‘Work the scene’!

Articles on Contact Sheets

LAUGHING LADY by Eric Kim Contact Sheets from MASTERS
LAUGHING LADY by Eric Kim Contact Sheet

If you’re curious more about how to “work the scene” in street photography, download my full-resolution contact sheets for your own self-education and learning with the links below:


For your convenience, I have a selection of my contact sheets as a .ZIP file (very big at 2.5GB) available for you to download via Google Drive or Dropbox below:

All of these photos are open-source; meaning, feel free to print, distribute, remix, or share them with others.

Directory preview

Learn the importance of “working the scene”:

Which Photos Should I Keep or Ditch?

Contact Sheet Books:

Contact Sheet Articles:

Contact Sheets

0-contact cindy hat hanoi eric kim street photography hanoi-0002040 cindy project hat hanoi


(c) Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos. Contact sheet by Henri Cartier Bresson, from Magnum Contact Sheets
Robert Frank Elevator Girl Contact Sheet


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