Starting with Street Photography

Street photography can be a really great way to become more confident with your camera. Challenging yourself to photograph in a new, changing and unknown situation. Catching people as they go about their daily routines can offer some great opportunities to create very interesting and striking imagery, so go on, challenge yourself and see what you discover using the tips below…

Use a 50mm Lens

There are a few reasons a 50mm lens is a great choice for street photography. The first is simply because it’s smaller and lighter than carrying around a large zoom lens, helping you work more comfortably and discreetly. The second advantage of sticking to one focal length is that without the ability to zoom in, you are freed from factoring that decision into your setup choices. It will also challenge you to look and move around more to get the shot rather than defaulting to stand and zoom, which can drastically change the perspective of your photo, often not producing the result you were hoping for.

Setting up Your Camera

If using a 50mm lens, set the Shutter Speed to around 1/250, this will allow you to work fast and avoid camera shake or subject blur. Set your Aperture to between f8 and f16 to give yourself a good depth of field to work with, this way you are more likely to get your subject in focus when working quickly.

Now set your ISO for correct exposure, once you have set your minimum Shutter Speed (in this case 1/250) and chosen your Aperture. This way you only need to change your Shutter Speed if the situation gets brighter. ISO and Aperture can stay the same, unless lighting changes long-term (i.e. the sun comes out from it being overcast). then you can go back and alter your ISO for your minimum Shutter Speed as you did at the beginning.

Stay in One Place

Staying in one area to photograph will help you to see more opportunities to capture interesting shots, let the people come to you as you wait for your opportunity to photograph them. If you walk around too much they’ll be more missed opportunities and if you stay put on weight for the shop.

Take your time and be confident

Street photography definitely isn’t about rushing and being shy. By not letting yourself feel rushed and instead, acting confidently with your camera, people (most of the time) won’t mind or even notice you taking the photograph. If you fumble and dither around awkwardly then people may start to feel uncomfortable also. So, just go for it and get the shot.

Look for Specific Things

If you’re struggling to get started or inspired then give yourself something specific to look for. It could be a single colour, item of clothing, a way to photograph (i.e. through things) or simply reflections. This will quickly open your eyes to more photographic opportunities.

Talk to People

If you want to get a particular portrait of someone then sometimes the only way is to talk to people. Ask for a photo, I think you will be surprised who will say yes, and if they say no just reply with ‘okay thank you’ and move on! Simple.

Don’t Expect to Get a Whole Series of Photos in One Day

Photography projects take time, if sometimes you go out and only end up with a few of the shots you hoped for then don’t worry, enjoy the ones you have created and build on the series next time you’re out. Photographers can take years to fill a book, just keep your goals in mind and never stop taking photos!


Please be aware of photographing families ALWAYS ask for permission before photographing children.
Take some contact/business cards with you to give to people who would like to view your work online.