Street Photography Tips – Shooting Methods

In my workshops and photo tours I talk about 3 different ways to shoot street photography. In all 3 it is important that you have your camera settings ready to shoot so you don’t have to think about and worry about the results.

So the first thing I always suggest is that you check your camera settings and do a few test shots to see how your exposure and focus looks.

1) The first method is what I call slow photography. I find a background that I like for patterns, light, shapes or whatever and I wait for people to walk into my frame. It can sometimes take a little patience but in New York City depending on the neighborhood it isn’t always that long. In slow photography the composition comes before the shot. Less is left to chance in that aspect.

This method is how I accidentally started out in street photography. My aim was to take photos of architecture. The problem was that people kept walking into my photos. One day I lost my patience and continued shooting with people in the shot. I didn’t know what street photography was before that.

Harlem Street Photography
Just Do It, New York City, 27 August 2017

2) Shooting from the hip is fun. It works for all kinds of cameras with a wide angle lens. You may find that you get some interesting angles when shooting from the hip. I put my camera on my stomach with my elbows in at my waist and shoot. It shouldn’t be necessary to tilt the camera. It’s fun to experiment with and the more you do it, the better you become at it. Give yourself time to learn it! The above photo was taken shooting from the hip.

3) Walking and shooting and/or stopping in the middle of a busy sidewalk. You can shoot from the hip standing still or walking. You can also, as I often do, lift your camera to the view finder while walking and shoot. Of course you can also use live view or your camera’s screen to shoot in that manner as well. But it is a quick reflex shot.

It doesn’t always work out when you shoot in a split second decision. Like anything the more you do it, the better you get. At times I just stop and shoot when there are enough interesting people and then I’ll continue walking. I tend to do that walking up Fifth Avenue on a sunny afternoon when the light is shining on people.

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