5 Top Street Photography Tips to Skyrocket Your Skills

The best street photography tips that you can get are to practise often, a lot. Just keep doing it through thick and thin. If you do this, you will always bring something good home with you, you will always be learning.

Two young men walking down the stairs at Bahnhof friedrichstrasse in berlin. Copyright; Berlin Street Photographer Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2023
Two young men walking down the stairs at Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. Image by Sean P. Durham

Top Street Photography Tips #1

Experiment with how you set your camera. The best way to understand what settings you need when doing street photography is to think about what you want to achieve in each individual shot.

Are you looking for deeper shadows that you can later pull out in post-processing? Do you want to accentuate the light and therefore push the highlights to their limits?

If you are having real trouble figuring out camera settings – which can happen to a beginner on a cloudy, changeable weather day, set the camera to automatic “P” for just five minutes, take a few shots but check to see what the camera automatically used as settings for that particular moment. It’ll help you understand something about the balance between the triad of light of shutter speed, ISO, and F-Stop settings.

Then go back to fully automatic. The more you know how to control your settings, the better a street photographer you’ll become. You’ll learn quickly if you do things the hard way some of the time, then use your newly acquired knowledge to get the exact shots you want.

Top Street Photography Tips #2

Top Street photography tip number two is, get used to being an all year street photographer.

Don’t be seasonal in your street photography. Summer and winter offer fantastic opportunities to build a varied collection of photos.

Street photography is about capturing a city throughout the year. People who battle the wind and rain are perfect subjects for street photography. lounging sun lovers make for brilliant shots of idleness, and happy looking folk.

As time passes you will have a deeper experience of all types of weather, wind, rain, sunshine, and dark days. These are priceless conditions for learning everything about how to take street photos.

Textures and colours change dramatically in various weather conditions. The colour of clothes and cars are often dull in winter and autumn, but bright and shiny in summer.

People’s clothing, leather, wool, cotton, heavy and light fabrics appear different in different seasons. This means that you can observe and capture more of the fine textures that surround your street photography subjects.

Street Photography Tips photo of a woman standing alone in an open area. Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2023

Image; Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2023

Top Street Photography Tips #3

Use prime lenses – it’ll pay off

If you already own a prime lens for street photography, you’ll know what I’ talking about. They’re hands down the best choice for urban street captures – and any other photography.

A prime lens of 35 mm or 50 mm is your best choice because it’ll give you the framing and compositional size that fits, roughly, with the way we see with our eyes.

A zoom lens like a 24 mm-70 mm is fine, but the problem is that a zoom lens doesn’t give you top quality all the way through the zoom. They are all different and you can find out through reading and practice that at some millimetre openings they have vignetting, or blur around the edges. This isn’t ideal for a good street photo.

Normally a zoom lens will be tack sharp between 24 mm and 50 mm, but above that too many moving parts can create all sorts of unwanted little problems.

The prime lens is always bang-on, and wonderful to work with. It gives you exactly what the street photographer is looking for. Buy quality lenses to get the quality of a great end result.

Better dynamic contrast because of top glass, no movements inside the lens to deteriorate the mechanisms, and normally, a sturdy build that means it’ll be in use for many years. You only have to look after it well, and the prime lens will look after you.

it’s when you take your equipment seriously, do your research, and purchase the high quality lenses, a decent camera, and anything else that fits into your photography world, that you know that you have the tools. Then, it’s all about you developing the skills to get the best out of the camera equipment.

Lens size is a matter of personal choice. A 24mm prime can do the trick for one street photographer, and a 50 mm, or 35 mm is just the ticket for another street photographer. Just keep it prime and you’ll be pleased that you did.

Street Photography Tips #4

Develop an idea about what you want to say with your photos. Be bold and make decisions about why you take street photos. Learn from street photographers that you consider better than you, or who take the type of street photos that you aspire to.

There is no better way to learn, and to discover, who you really are than emulation of a better person than yourself.

It’s by emulating that we feel things about who we are, and whether we really agree with those principle ideas that we emulate. Our choices about what we want to photograph become more educated, and therefore, we develop into a professional photographer by skill rather than monetary income.

A confused profession will take any job. get paid, and still not know how to work professionally.

A street photographer who patiently develops photographic skills, takes risks, works experimentally, will always be in the position to approach any work offers with knowledge and can-do attitude.

Emulating another street photographer isn’t the same as copying. Try and copy and you’ll create a mess – emulate and you’ll pick up principle ideas about what they do, but produce your own original work.

Street Photography Tips #5

Find out what street subjects make you emotional

Be prepared to walk slowly, to look, and build good slow habits so you don’t miss anything. You can’t be everywhere at once.

I like to walk. So, I walk and look, I stop and observe. The whole time I do this, I am relaxed. I simply wait while walking. I don’t ever walk out of the area of the city that I’ve chosen as my day’s street photography work, so I walk in circles, down side-streets and then I’ll sit down and observe an area that has taken my interest.

Even when it looks like nothing is happening on the street, I know that something will eventually turn up. Somebody will walk out of a doorway, into the sun and shadows, and I’ll see the set-up for a beautiful street shot.

Just one good shot makes the day. One amazing street shot in a year is a big catch.

You’ll find out which street subjects make you emotional about photography when you take the time look, think, and enjoy the streets that you walk.

Get into understanding something about architecture. It’s best to look at it as if a building was an art work, or an attempt at a functional design.

Ask questions about why one neighbourhood has a good feeling, and another makes you want to go home; there are answers to these questions, and they help you feel the street.

The biggest from 5 Top Street Photography Tips is to practice as much as possible and find out what you most like about it, this will lead you to increases self-knowledge about your style and way of working.

You will eventually get to a point where you walk into a new neighbourhood, and immediately feel it. This helps you to know more about what really floats your boat and makes you hunt down the shadows and the dramas of everyday life in the city.

If you enjoyed these 5 Top Street Photography Tips, then you can find more interesting street photography reading on this website.