How to Make Compelling Street Photography

Of the various types and styles of photography, street photography offers the widest range of possibilities to express talent and communicate with the viewer. In fact, it is a type of documentary photography which covers many aspects. There are several basic components of street photography you need to keep in mind when preparing to make the most impressive photograph. It is called “street,” but it covers some key types of spaces.

First off, it has to be an urban environment, but “urban” does not mean metropolitan--all places with an urban environment are counted as a milieu for a street photographer. This includes photographs of locations such as squares, parks, markets, even beaches, and of course all types of objects or people inhabiting these spaces.

Step 1: Choosing the Purpose of the Photograph

First of all, the most important feature of your photo is its purpose. Consider carefully whether your aim is to make a beautiful shot, an informative one or to insert a special message in it. This will very much determine further techniques, as you may present reality as it is, aiming at a pure objectivity, or guide the viewer's eyes in a particular way to provoke moods or thoughts.

Step 2: Choosing Composition and Color Settings

Positioning of the camera perfectly, choosing the color scheme, and playing with natural or artificial lighting are crucial to present your ideas successfully. For instance, to show the liveliness of a scholar’s parade, you would rather use high contrast, vivid color scheme and be careful to capture movements and moods, while black/white photography, less light and contrast would be suitable for expressing the misery of a homeless person.

There are countless things you can do to present a party leader at a street demonstration as respectful, funny or absurd. Another modern and greatly appreciated tactic is to shoot as candid as possible, preserving the picture of your own vision, thus leaving the viewer to extract the message and interpretation they want for themselves.

Step 3: Using Shooting Techniques

There is a distinction between a classic and modern street photography technique. If you want to try the classic technique, set the ISO to a moderately high speed and fit a wide or moderate-wide angle lens to a camera. The ISO setting is important, because when it is high, the aperture goes smaller. A smaller aperture means that it will not be so critical to focus precisely. This will allow you to pre-focus, no matter how far your subject is located from you. The distance setting, with which you will be able to shoot the subjects at sharp focus, is the hyperfocal distance setting of the lens. Using a modern technique would mean to use a camera with a very high level system and long range zoom possibilities.