9 Tips for Eye-Catching Street Portrait Photography

Tips for taking an eye-catching street selfie

street photography is Unbelievably Fun and rewarding, but it’s not always easy to take a great photo. You may have a hard time finding the right subjects and the right compositions – or you may feel uncomfortable photographing people as you pass them on the streets.

Personally, I love taking street photos, and in this article I share all my favorite tips and techniques for getting great results. I explain how to work with different backgrounds, how to capture interesting poses, and how to work with people so you can take a quick shot. By the time you’re done, you’ll be ready to create fun and memorable photos of your own.

So whether you’re a street photo beginner or simply want to level up your existing skills, read on!

man standing before tree street background image

1. Keep your photos simple

When it comes to street photos, Simplicity is your friend. Target simple themes, simple backgrounds, and simple combinations.

So before pressing the shutter button, watch the scene carefully. Are there unnecessary items? Is the background simple enough to emphasize the theme? Does the whole shot look balanced and tidy?

If you are Act Note the unnecessary parts of the composition, try to remove them. Sometimes this is as simple as moving a few steps to the right or left. Other times, you may need to get closer or further away from you, or get up high.

Pro tip: One of the quickest ways to spoil a street image is to include a crowded, complex background. A crowded background will make your photo look flat, swallow your subject, and distract the viewer. Personally, I like clean, colorful, and strong backgrounds, like this:

The man walking in front of a colorful background

The font in the center nicely balances the subject, as well as the strength of the colors and the font contrasts nicely with the older man.

2. Divide the world into elements

Composition is an essential part of street portrait photography, but it can often be a sticking point for beginners. After all, how do you arrange the elements of a scene for that perfect amount of dynamism and balance?

My advice? Try to divide the world into elements. Then tell yourself that you simply Organize the world in an interesting way.

See, 3D eyes and brains make things unnecessarily complex – and as I discussed in the previous tip – the best street photos tend to be simple. So you have to see the world simply too.

You might divide the world into things (eg roads, windows, doors, bricks, roofs, people, etc.). Or you can go further and see the world in terms of geometry (for example, squares, circles, rectangles, etc.). Either of them can work; The key is to choose a method and stick to it.

Then build your configuration from there. Look for the relationships between the different elements. Consider the ways they can balance each other across the frame. Remember: you only need one or two important elements to make a picture. If you can select the right elements, and put them together in the right way, you will get a nice picture.

Two people standing next to a Wall Street photo

3. Use a slow meditative approach

smoking Man

When you first start shooting street photos, it can be a frightening experience. You may find yourself rushing to try to prevent tension between you and your subject.

But here’s the problem:

It requires the best street photography Meditation. You need to take a proper look at your subject – especially their eyes, which tell you how a person feels and even thinks.

So do what you can rest in the experiment. go slow. If you need to, use the camera as a form of protection between you and your subject; This way, you feel less stressed, and you can spend some time observing the person’s face and understanding what they are really feeling.

If you are just starting out, you can easily follow this approach. First, simply look through the camera without Shutter release. Then once you feel comfortable looking, take a picture. Over time, you will gain confidence, and you will be able to see the target and take a picture in an instant.

woman on motorcycle street image

4. Look for strange or humorous situations

Some of the best street photos of scenes show something unexpected or even funny. It’s one of the simplest ways to start capturing meaningful Street Photos – Plus, when you’re out shooting, they’ll give you some direction and keep you aware of your surroundings.

For example, you might look for people making unusual gestures or expressions:

woman taking a selfie

Or you can pick up topics that make an interesting juxtaposition with background elements:

A woman wearing a silver cloak in front of a building

Note that your photos don’t need to be weird or funny out loud. Simply train yourself to notice the interesting or confusing behavior – and as soon as this happens, raise the camera to your eyes and take a picture. Some shots will work and some won’t. OK! With practice, you’ll hone your technique. In the meantime, enjoy the experience!

Woman with paper in mouth street photography portrait

5. Find a cool wallpaper and wait

There is a simple style among serious street photographers:

You find an interesting location, such as a colorful wallpaper, an eye-catching screen, or even a banner. Then you wait for someone to walk in front of you. If you choose an area with a lot of foot traffic, the right person will By meandering, you will get your own street photo – a photo that combines an amazing background with an interesting subject.

Plus, when you stare constantly at one area for several long minutes, you become aware of it. You notice things you didn’t see at first, and you begin to understand what makes the site special. You might even decide to come back a second, third or tenth time – in different conditions, under different lighting, using different fixtures.

Of course, this technique requires patience, which is very good for the development of a street shooter (something that beginners often lack). If you find yourself struggling to stay in one place for more than a few seconds, remind yourself that it’s a good sight will He appears; You just have to be ready when you do!

man in front of a drugged background

6. Make use of color

Some street portrait painters prefer black and white photography – but personally, I’ve always loved color photography. Color allows you to express different feelings, and you can use it for that Transfer The viewer, just as you can move it around with light or interesting targets.

So while walking with the camera, look for colors. Notice the colored backgrounds, notice the color of people’s clothes, and notice the color of the shopping bags in their hands. And when you find pairs of colors that work well together, take a picture!

man riding a roller coaster

You can also approach the colorful street images in a more in-depth way. Colors convey different emotions (for example, yellow is warm and happy, green is calm, and red indicates confidence or anger). If you have a feeling, you can find the right background colors – then you can wait (using the technique from the previous tip!) for the perfect subject to pass.

Picture of a man washing shop front windows

7. Don’t be afraid to ask strangers to take a picture

Photographing people up close can be intimidating. But Most people are happy to be photographed! It is essential to remember when you go out with the camera.

This is especially true if you ask for permission first. Simply be confident and friendly. Say politely, “Do you mind if I take your picture?” Sometimes, you can simply point at the camera, and in return you’ll get a nod or a smile.

After all, humans are built to connect with other humans, and photography is a powerful form of communication. When you take a picture of someone, you’re basically saying, “I see you! You matter.” And for most people, that’s a great compliment.

But be ethical in your approach. Do not photograph children or the visibly weak, and if someone does not wish to be photographed, just walk away. Photography is an exchange, and if you photograph someone, it should be done with respect.

Street group photo of four people together

8. Pay attention to gestures

The more closely you watch humans, the more they reveal themselves through gestures. And at that moment – when a gesture occurs and conveys something meaningful – you can take an interesting photo.

Note that gestures simply refer to body movements. So anyone can create powerful gestures with their hands, but also with their eyes, legs, fingers or even feet.

When it comes to catching gestures, you should pay close attention timing. Milliseconds can be the difference between a stunning shot of an evocative gesture or a boring, flat shot with absolutely nothing — so practice pressing the shutter button at exactly the right moment. (You might also consider using the camera’s continuous shooting mode, especially when starting out.)

The photo below was taken for a project on the stomach. Each image from the project was completely different; The way a person presented his stomach and the gestures he made tell a lot about his personality and how he feels about himself.

A man showing off his stomach

9. Be yourself

When I lead workshops, I often have concerns about authenticity. My students worry about how to exaggerate the portrayal of the world. They worry that they won’t have anything interesting to contribute and that it has all been done before.

This is the wrong way to think about street portrait photography.

Of course the world is heavily photographed, and it has been for years. But the world is not static. It is an ever-changing and ever-moving being. Nothing stays the same, so the possibilities to get original and interesting photos are literally endless.

Additionally, while the same world may be frequently portrayed, individuals are not. How many street photos? You are was the topic? The answer is “not much”, right? My point is that by finding people to shoot, you create new and interesting photos.

More importantly, photography is an expression of who You are be. You may start taking unoriginal photos. But the more you shoot that camera, the more you create images that are a total expression of who you are: your passion, your experience, your way of seeing the world. And who – which It is enough to create the unique and interesting images that you aim for.

man standing beside tram line street image

Street Photography: The Last Words

It may seem difficult to create street images, but it is not as difficult as you might think. We hope this article helps you learn how to get some beautiful results!

Now to you:

What street photos do you plan to take? Which of these tips do you plan to implement first? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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