7 examples of candid street photography, all of them taken in Berlin – even during the pandemic lockdown period.
Each shot was taken with various cameras and lenses – I experiment often; but I do like the 50 mm lens for street photography.
The 35 mm lens is great, but it requires a different mind-set. Simply, I need to adjust to the wide angle mentally and have the will and desire to compose large compositions.
There’s a lot of chatter about cameras and lenses when it comes to candid street photography. Don’t forget though, it’s personal. The urban street photographers of the 20th century through to the 21st century all did it their way. The variety of lenses and cameras is too numerous to mention, it’s also arbitrary.
The most important ideas that you must work with are to find the camera and lenses that really help you achieve what you set out to do.
Generally speaking, if you aren’t sure, the 50 mm lens will be a good bet. You should use it constantly. It will teach you to be disciplined about how you compose a shot, it’ll improve your ability to compose and frame the shot quickly, quickly is a key word in candid street photography, so practice on the hoof street photography as much as you can.
If you own a 35 mm lens, then use that too. Do it for a good period of time, not just one day , or for a weekend; there’s lots to learn and to discover when you are tied to one lens all the time – it turns out to be a great way to explore urban city life and get your mind deeply into what creative street photography is all about.
Image by Sean P. Durham, Berlin, 2021
As you can see from the street photographs, I was mostly in the centre of Berlin. Berlin street photography is my thing, I live and breath Berlin.
Although Berlin is a great city, I do find Madrid a fantastic urban space for candid street photography, offering urban exploration that leads to capturing urban culture of any particular city. Barcelona, the same thing. Lots of opportunity for urban exploration that leads to creative street photography situations.
If you want to practice raw street photography, really get into it, then you have to become as decisive as the urban photos that you want to take.
The candid street photograph above is a good example of what you can do in creative street photography. Experiment. I wanted a colour shot, sunshine and dark shadows in an area that was somewhat industrial.
It was long shot from about 30 metres away with a 50 mm Sigma Art lens. that means that in the darkened train station with all its heavy metal construction, focus was a problem. Still I like it. I softened it more than the original shot to give it a little vagueness.
Creative urban street photography is a way of urban exploration. Walking through the streets of your own city, discovering new sights that you didn’t know existed, opens up a new vein of thought and a new hobby. as a hobby, creative street photography is good for your health. It puts you in a position where you have to look outwards, think about other things than your daily problems, it takes you away from the computer desk and into the thickets of an exciting city.