A Complete guide to Street Photography

 Reading time : 8 minutes

What is street photography?

To begin, let's define what street photography is. There is a lot of discussion about the exact definition of street photography. Street photography can be described as a branch of photography where the main subject is a human presence, direct or indirect, in spontaneous situations and in public places such as the street also in airports, train stations, malls, etc. Anything that is not a private place. The critical thing to remember here is the "human presence in spontaneous situations." Street photography is a trendy discipline, and there are many photography art galleries in Hong Kong on this theme.

Bank by Sergio Texeira

Appropriate equipment for Street photography 

The advantage of street photography is that you can use any camera: a smartphone, an SLR, a hybrid, whether it is digital or film. Of course, some cameras are more suitable than others, but as long as you have a camera, you can do street photography and practice at will. Art photography requires practice.

That being said, there are two significant things to take into consideration depending on the type of photos.

Be discreet, so as not to disturb the scene. Get close enough to your subject to capture the perfect moment.

Finally, the camera you choose will be inconspicuous and quiet.

In street photography, the latest technology cameras are not necessarily a must and will not make much of a difference. Everything will be in the art of taking the picture. The composition, the use of light, patience, and also a bit of luck will be more decisive in the success of beautiful art photography. So, if you want to succeed and exhibit your art photographs in a Hong Kong photo art gallery, go out and shoot.

Urban Solitude by Sergio Texeira

The closer we get, the better it is 

Rotating the zoom ring is easy, but moving around is better. The zoom is not the most strategic tool. Most pictures are taken with a short fixed focal length. This type of lens requires the photographer to adjust the framing while moving around. There is an advantage to getting closer to your subject. This will allow you to show much more details and focus on your main subject. People looking at your photo will focus on the subject and not be lost with a background. 

On the other hand, you don't want to forget that background either, since you are doing street photography, you want to document a human presence in a public place. Your best way to isolate your subject, while incorporating the environment in which he or she is living, is to get closer to the subject. Some of our photographers master this discipline, and here is an art photograph from our photo art gallery.

Playing the Smoke by Sergio Texeira

35mm or 50mm

The 35mm is a very versatile focal length and was widely used by photo-reporters, the most celebrated street photographers use this focal length. The viewing angle is wide enough to compose your photo with the background in the frame. Perspective distortion is less noticeable than with a wide-angle lens. Therefore, it is suitable for portrait photography whilst keeping people looking good. It is the focal length that will immerse you in the heart of urban life, the one that will force you to be fully involved in your approach. Close to your subjects, you will be an actor in the scene and able to tell the story that unfolds before your eyes.

The 50mm, for many people, is a perfect street photo focal length. You will not feel any perspective distortion; this lens is the one that comes close to human sight. Other advantages are its polyvalence, its smaller size, and general brightness. The 50mm allows sufficient magnification of your main subject while leaving enough room for the background, which is perfect for telling a story.

Depending on the lens, 50mm often has a reasonably large aperture that will allow you to create beautiful background blurs-also known as "Bokeh"-and to take freehand pictures in low light conditions.

Abundance of Geometry by Alphonso Reche

Taking street photos 

Taking street photos is not easy; the hardest thing is the fear of being rejected by the people you are trying to photograph. You can, of course, ask the person's permission, or you can take the picture discreetly. However, when you ask for permission, the person will act differently and not spontaneously because he or she will know that he or she is being photographed.

Another thing that is extremely important in street photography is to know how to be forgotten. By discreetly photographing a person, you are sure to capture spontaneous and natural behaviour. 

Fine art photography is a complex discipline, and having your pictures displayed in an art gallery requires patience or luck. There are 2 ways to practice street photography. The photographer can sometimes capture a scene in front of him. It is also possible that the photographer notices an exciting place and waits for a spontaneous event to happen there. This way of doing street photography gives the photographer time to take care of the framing to adjust the exposure correctly. Often the photographer is also more discreet because he blends in with the scenery. 

Patience is key; you have to know how to wait. It is imperative to adopt a calm and discreet attitude. Don't appear to be on the lookout, and don't stare at every face you meet.

Interior Balance by Alphonso Reche

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More art photos on Kakahuette's online art gallery