TIPS FOR BETTER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
First of all – there are almost no technical rules in street photography. Street photography is hard to define because it can capture just about anything and anyone. It is not just about a candid picture of a stranger in the street. It can also be a picture of an abandoned street or anything that involves people, humanity or manmade structures and artefacts.
The most important thing is noticing something and then capturing it to tell a story of a specific moment through photography. It is a short glimpse of someone’s life in just a split second. Street photography is not about a posed picture- you cannot plan what to photograph. It is about that moment that you see. It can be a scenery of colours, shadows, reflections, structures and people, or reflect a moment of symmetry or oddity.
You don’t always need to take a sharp and clear picture. Sometimes a blur in the picture makes the photograph also interesting to look at. You can take street photography photos while walking down the streets or driving by as a passenger with a car or bike. Always keep your eyes open and always be prepared for that moment and don’t just snap away pictures of anyone who will walk by. You should be able to put something personal of yourself into the picture.
You have to be comfortable to get close to someone and be prepared that every now and then some people do not like to get photographed without their permission. Sometimes a friendly smile, a nod or other communication will work. Always only photograph in places where it is allowed, stay friendly and do not make your subjects angry.
Always keep in mind that you are invading someone’s privacy and private space. Do not take photographs to compromise and expose people or make fun of them. Do not photograph people in situations you don’t want to be photographed in either.
Some countries have strict laws about photographing in public places, so if you are in doubt, please read up on your local laws.
Street photography is a form of Art. It is supposed to show how you see the world around you.
This photo is about lines and and movement. The boy runs diagonal through the picture (Ethiopia)
This is actually one of my favourite street photography memories I took in Mekane Selam, Ethiopia. People walking by noticing that I was photographing them and giving me the gift of a bright smile.
If you don’t photograph in black and white, look for colours! A man sitting in front of his home in Ethiopia.
I love this photo of girls walking back home after school. It is just a beautiful and natural composition of positions (Ethiopia)
I saw this woman in Accra, Ghana through the window of the car. She looked directly at me and with a friendly smile and by showing her the camera, she nodded and gave me permission to take her photo while sitting at a busy market place.
Street photography doesn’t need to be always in black and white. And you don’t always have to have people in the picture. Urban structures and still life such as a parked car can tell a story, too.
I love the colours of the picture. Again, it doesn’t always have to be in black and white. I have asked this guy in the streets of Accra, Ghana if I can take the picture. And again one might argue that this is not street photography anymore. Still, it is not posed or set up, this is a scene as it happened.
And sometimes simple scenes in the street can make a nice picture (Ethiopia)
I took this photo from the inside of a car, driving by the scenery as a passenger. The viewer has to look a little bit closer to figure out what is going on in this picture and sometimes is just being left with his own interpretation of the scene.
This is one of my favourite street photos I took in Sierra Leone. I took this picture from the passengers seat driving by these two school girls. The blur in the picture shows the split second of their lives. And if you look closer, you will see the strong message ‘Ebola Stops with You’ written on the wall in the background.
All Photos ©Christina Czybik