7 Street Photography tips

Street photography isn’t easy. You interact with other human beings; it’s a challenge against yourself, a challenge to conquer your fears;

For these reasons I like to shot street photography.

This is a list of tips which I wished someone told me about when I started to shot street photography.

Nicolai-PT-Hoyerswerda-2015-0001

1. Make eye contact

Sometimes street photographs with eye contact are the best. Why?

In this way the subject of the photo is looking at the viewer, the viewer can feel uncomfortable because he’s observed.

A street photograph looks more emotional, because at the same time we feel nervous and excited when someone is making eye contact with us.

Nicolai-PT-hoyerswerda-germany-2016
Hoyerswerda, Germany 2016

2. Capture humanity

Street photography is often wrongly associated with being entirely about capturing people on the streets.

Street photography is about capturing humanity. It doesn’t matter if there are people in it or not.

There are infinite opportunities out there to make epic street photos without people.

You can shot everything that document humanity or people presence, like: shooting urban landscape, a way to document the place where people live and the artificial place created by humans; shooting stuff on the ground, like pieces of paper or something used by people; etc.

Nicolai-PT-urban-Hoyerswerda
Hoyerswerda, Germany 2016

3. Get low

Many street photographs are shoot from eye-level. To get a different and unique perspective from a street photograph, get low.

Crounch down or maybe shot with your camera at waist-level -if you won’t be noticed- and shot your subject from a low angle.

In this way the subject looks bigger and menacing, in a good sense, than in real life.

Nicolai-PT-Southern-Italy-2017-low
Southern Italy, 2017

4. Don’t be boring

Since I started shooting street photography I shot a lot of images without emotions, especially during the first year in street photography.

I used to shot people walking against a simple background or tourist landmarks during my travels. It was boring to me and my viewer.

Now I try to avoid to take boring photos, I try to:

  • shot people faces
  • shot hand gestures
  • make mysterious photos

Nicolai-PT-cig

5. Always take your camera with you

We don’t know when a good photo opportunity can happen. I’ve miss tons of good shots just because my camera was not always with me.

To take always my camera with me I use a phone because it is lighter than other cameras out there.

Now my camera is always with me and I’m able to capture these ‘decisive moments’ which happens at the most unexpected times.

Nicolai-PT-southern-italy-2016-019018
Southern Italy, 2016

6. Use street photography as a way to discover yourself

I use street photography as a tool to better understand myself, photographing my own vision of the world.

I try to make photos that reflects who I am and try to not look at what others photograph, what I did when I started street photography. I used to spent entire afternoons looking at street photographs on social networks -instead of going out and just shot- and imitate those with more likes.

It was not a representation of myself.

When I’m shooting I try to photograph with my heart, my soul, my gut and take photos of what I like.

When I’m shooting I try to show my soul (myself) in my photos.

At the end street photography is not only a way to take pictures but is a way to discover yourself.

Nicolai-PT-selfportrait
Self portrait 

7. There are no definitions in street photography

When I started shooting street photography I was told to follow these unwritten rule: shot in black and white; use a Leica camera; don’t crop your photos; don’t interact whit strangers.

This was all bullshit.

I never let anybody else tell me how to shoot and how not to shoot street photography.

I better define street photography for myself, with my own personal rules.

Nicolai-Petito-southern-Italy-2017-0100
Southern Italy, 2017
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