Street Photography Tips – Street is Candid

In its broadest definition, street photography is always candid, unposed. For me, it is usually better when people are not aware of the camera. According to The Free Dictionary, candid means 1. frank and outspoken: 2. without partiality; unbiased, 3. unposed or informal.

Candid street photography is unposed. It’s not always easy to go unnoticed when shooting street photography. If you are quick it is possible to shoot without being seen. So the first thing is to get your camera settings set so you are ready to shoot.

There are ways to become somewhat invisible. You can stand off to the side and wait for people to appear. Busy areas are the best. I even stand at a crosswalk and wait for people to walk into me. It’s amazing how so many people are unaware of what’s going on around them.

Chinatown Street Photography
Red Tie, New York City, 17 February 2019

The above photo was taken during the Chinese New Year celebrations. I like how everyone has their backs to the camera except him and he didn’t see me. That is however only one style of candid street photography. It could also be considered documentary in style. Street photography can also include photo journalism.

The street photos by Bruce Gilden are also considered candid street photography. Their response to his camera in their faces is one of shock. It isn’t posed. If you know me at all, I object to shocking people for the sake of photography. But there’s also some wiggle room in there as well.

If you are interested in street portraits that is also a valid genre of photography. It’s just not the same as candid photos. At any rate, it is good to think about what your role is in the making of a photo. There is no objectivity in art.

When you choose to take a photo it comes from your sense of the world in front of you with all your life experiences and views. It is always taking a split second out of the larger context of who a person is. Ultimately it shares something that is an honest depiction of reality.

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