Post originally written on my blog: http://in35mm.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-street-photography-tips-something.html
A long time ago I wrote 10 street photography tips, but someone now seems dated. The photography evolves, my experience has grown and then I'm tired of reading on various blogs some ridiculous tips: even we can read to ask permission before photographing (!), or using telelens...
Well, here is my 10:
1. Always carry your camera with you
I always carry a camera with me. A great street picture you can find anywhere, then we always have a camera with us. The technology comes to us with cameras more compact and transportable. No matter that it's a mirrorless, an old 35mm or an iphone. It will be obvious to say but the best camera is the one that uses more.
2. Be ready with your camera
The instances don’t repeat themselves in street photography. Be ready to shoot is a commandment in our genre. So our camera settings should be ready in a few seconds to capture every situation: zone focus, hyperfocal, program can be effective solutions. If our camera is slow to start we can consider to keep it turned on: mandatory in this case at least one spare battery. Also a wrist strap is an ideal solution to be ready to shoot.
3. Use a inconspicuous camera bag
It is a matter of personal safety, but also not to draw attention to us. I have chosen Think Tank Photo and in particular the series Retrospective. I think is the perfect choice for street photographers.
4. Choose a real interesting subject
Sometimes we can see great compositions but the subjects are not so strong. For example it is not enough, in my opinion, a photo in a arcade with light and shade without subjects interesting.
We must strive to find characters or special postures, really interesting situations.
5. Wide angle prime lens
Street Photography is not a safari. So forget those zoom lenses. We must be in the scene and a telephoto lens does not allow it. And then you will look even more conspicuous in public holding a huge zoom lens.
If you still have doubts, ask yourself why all the great reportage photographers were using or use normal or wide angle lenses.
6. Get close
"If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough." Robert Capa
Using a wide-angle prime lens (as mentioned in the before point), you will be forced to get close to your subjects. Street Photography is mental, emotional and physical involvement of the photographer.
We can not think of doing good street photography if we remain distant.
7. Think positive!
As said Blake Andrews in the interview published in this blog: If you walk around thinking you're not going to see anything, it'll become a self fulfilling prophecy. You won't see anything. But if you walk around with the expectation that a photo can be anywhere, that one will pop up around the next corner, you will see things. The environment is exactly the same in both cases. It's the mental outlook that matters. Every single time I go out shooting I see the potential for at least one world-class photo. They are always out there. But being in the right mental state to capture them is sometimes difficult, especially because street photography can involves long periods where not much happens. So developing that faith and keeping it with you at all times is important. The world will provide if you trust it to.
And don't forget to smile! With a smile, people usually respond with a smile!
8. Interesting situations, more than one single shot!
When the situation and the subject are interesting when you can make more shots. Maybe changing the position and viewpoint.
9. Keen observer of the street life
To be a street photographer is be extremely attentive to the frenetic activity in public spaces. The situations change sharply even in the same place. While walking down the street you will come across a variety of events,acts, postures, gestures, scenes, expressions, subjects, etc.
There is a multitude of possibilities in the street for the photographer but we must be alert. Remember that photography is above all to observe.
Street Photography is capturing the activities happening by the roadside, street concerts, traffic signals, billboards, hoardings, fences, trees, birds, cats, dogs, similarities and associations, the vertiginous heels of a woman, a man smoking a cigar while waiting for the tram. To quote Bruce Gilden if it smells of the street is street photography.
10. Be respectful
The first question we must ask is:
Would I have problems taking pictures in the same situation a person dear to me, my mom or my wife for example?
Respect of the subject should be the basis of our pictures. If you really want to represent some physical defect, worry that the subject is not recognizable. And remember that only if we photograph with respect will do good photos.