Street Photography Tips and Techniques

Here I bring you a tutorial packed full of street photography tips and techniques. I’m up in Scotland for the annual Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and believe me there is no better place to bring you a street photography video. I’ll be showing you how I work, what to look for and the equipment I use for the shots. Amongst all this I’ll also be showing you the beautiful city of Edinburgh and the vibrant Fringe Festival.  

It’s going to be a great tutorial for those who want to get some great tips on street photography.


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Synopsis of the video

I'm going to share with you some Street Photography tips & techniques and the equipment I use.

Equipment

When it comes to street photography, I like using a standard lens - which is a focal length of 50mm on a full-frame camera, 31mm on a crop sensor and 25mm on a Micro 4:3 camera. For more info on focal lengths on different cameras, click here.

I like using that because it gives you an as your eye sees look and that's what I prefer. Now other people use wider angles and common focal lengths to use are 28mm or 35mm on full frame camera as this enables you to get more in the scene.

I much prefer to use a prime lens when I am doing street photography as I believe that your limitations force you to be creative. A prime lens certainly does that - you have to get close and frame things better as you can't zoom in or out very quickly.

Like Robert Capa said, “if your photos are not good enough, you're not close enough“ and a prime lens forces you to get in there and get the shot.

 
Equipment for street photography

Equipment for street photography

 

Don’t shoot the obvious

My first tip is don’t shoot the obvious. Look for things that specifically stand out to you and photograph them, also try and photograph them in a different way. For example, at the Fringe Festival, there are lots of street performers - try focusing on a street performer through the crowds or even photographing people photographing the street performers. To me that’s what's interesting. My interest is the reaction of the people to the fringe festival and that's what I tried to capture in this tutorial.

 
People reacting to street performers.

People reacting to street performers.

 

Camera Settings

I like to shoot at an aperture of f2.8 which gives you a really shallow depth of field, now that is not common; general street photographers like to use f8 or above because it gives you a longer depth of field meaning that if you miss the focus point it's not going to matter too much.

When you shoot at f2.8 like I do, you have to get the focus point absolutely bang on and I’ve lost a lot of shots by missing that focus point but it's the risk I take because I love that look.

When it comes to the rest of the camera settings, it depends on the light. If it's a really bright day I will put my camera onto aperture priority, set it to f2.8, and I know that the shutter speed will be quick enough to avoid camera shake and stop things from blurring.

If it's not a bright day (if it's cloudy or you're in a setting where there's not much light) then I might put it onto a fully manual, set the shutter speed to 125th of a second (again to avoid camera shake) and put the aperture on f2.8 again. Then I'll put my ISO on auto to pick up the slack.

Yes, if the ISO goes high, you might get a bit of noise, but when it comes to street photography, it's all about getting the shot. Just get that shot - if there's noise, there's noise. If you've missed the focus point a bit, you've missed the focus point a bit. Just try and get the shot - get the feeling of the place and show the story.

Street Portraits

Another reason I use f2.8 is because it is wicked for street portraits. Street portraiture, I think, is one of the most challenging subjects to tackle because not only do you have to get all of your settings right and all your style right, you've got to interact with people.

The only advice I can give when it comes to this is to be yourself, be genuine - go up to people tell them what you want to do and if they're good for a portrait then that's great, if they're not say thanks and walk away, don't worry about it.

 
Street portrait of a performer.

Street portrait of a performer.

 

The beauty of being at places like the Fringe Festival is that you have loads of performers. You have loads of people that love being in front of a camera. I think my favourite shot was this one that I took down at the Scottish Parliament of a young girl with a mask on her face.

 
Street portrait of a girl outside Scottish Parliament.

Street portrait of a girl outside Scottish Parliament.

 

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More pictures from the shoot

 
 

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