If you want to step into documenting street life — here’s a quick street photography examples to help you kick-off your own personal project. To emulate these examples, all you need is a basic camera. Even a smartphone would do the job.
View the street photography examples and ideas behind capturing the photos – hopefully, it prompts you to explore street photography yourself, creating your own examples.
I’ve personally tried tested before sharing these ideas with you. I’ve also shared my pictures to prove the point that all of these pictures can be made realistically in any corner of the world. Even if you’re lazy or don’t travel much, like me, you can document your own city streets. Even if you’re shy, you can include people in your street photographs.
1. Street portraits
Street portrait photography is my favorite genre amongst all the other genres of photography. I love meeting new people, engage with them, and make their portrait. More so when I travel to a new country. Even more when I don’t understand their language. Tougher the situation, I get more excited to learn the diverse culture.
When I said tougher, I didn’t mean riskier. There are few cities and streets not safe — avoid exposing yourself.
Street portraits can be posed — you request the person for the portrait or move to a better light conditions; candid — you don’t ask the person to pose but make his portrait in a candid situation. I prefer takin permission. Even if it’s not explicit permission, we’ve mutual agreement for the photo by body language or exchange of smile.
I wrote a great deal about making street portraits, editing those, and engaging with diverse humans in my street photography book.
2. Crowded streets
People hustling and rushing to work is quite a view in few cities! Such photos exhibit how the city keeps itself so busy and people’s identity is shown by the crowd, not the individual. Every town has such busy streets. Few major ones in Japan, Hong Kong, India, China etc has busiest streets.
Places to find such streets are major traffic junctions and shopping places, and typically, during morning or evening hours when the peak is attributed to office goers.
3. Vacant streets
In contrast to the crowded streets, vacant locations are less manned or without people. These are amazing depiction of quite urban life and helps exhibit wonderful of city landscapes. In such streets play with the structure, geometric figures, light, and shadow.
4. Urban street photography
Capturing vivid structures, curves of the roads, and busy people in urban life has remained closest to street photographers. Urban street photography is one of the easiest challenges since most of us abode in one of the urban localities. To be able to pursue this genre, you just need to pull your camera or smartphone out and start composing the streets.
5. Rural street photography
We’ve mostly explored city for street photography. Don’t ignore the countryside where you’ll get a great blend of nature and rural people engaging with each other in a relatively peaceful environment. If you’re looking for specific tips, this post on rural street photography will guide you. Broadly, rural streets would offer great experience and add versatility to your photography portfolio.
6. Candid streets
Candid street photography means you’re shooting the scene and the people undisturbed — in the mid of their actions: laughing, talking, working, and a range of other actions in the street.
7. Vehicles in the streets
Vehicles are integral part of city streets and roads. There are many ways to make pictures of vehicles: panning, different angles of vehicles, people riding or getting down from the vehicle, traffic, light streak in the night as few of the examples.
8. Early morning and late evening street photos
Urban sunrise and sunsets are not as mesmerizing as ones you see in mountains or sea beaches. Doesn’t mean you can’t make use of golden hours or twilights for your street photos in cities. Place yourself in front of buildings and monuments to showcase morning or evening sky. Directional golden lights in the morning makes amazing street photos. Advantage of these times is that the street is relatively less crowded.
9. Black and white street photography
A timeless, color neutral, black and white photo has never lost its relevance. Even though, new age digital cameras and editing software allow you to play with vivid colors. Black and white street photos are specifically of great importance because it focuses more on the narrative rather than distract viewers in multiple colors.
10. Urban landscape
An urban landscape has less chances to see the complete horizon, but its skyline is defined by skyscrapers and high-rise structures. Some of these structures are architectural marvel. There are locations in major cities which help you view such skylines.
11. Night street photography
Most of the street photos are shot in daytime. Explore shooting street photos in night. You’ll surprise yourself with the verities of subjects and a great addition to your portfolio. You need to bump-up ISO of your camera, slow down the shutter speed, or increase the aperture to get better exposure of subjects to make best use of limited light. Read the post on night street photography to master the skills of making photos in low light.
Every country and its cities bring a unique vibrance, which is worth capturing in your pictures. For example, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam has plenty of scooters on the roads. So many that the city can also be called as city of scooters! Research such unique ideas about the location you’re visiting to include in your portfolio and share the story in your own version.
Camera and Lens required for street photography
You can pretty much achieve all of the above examples with help of a smartphone which is handy with you. But if you’re sensitive to quality and want to produce high-quality images — a DSLR or high-end point-and-shoot camera is recommended.
For example, a portrait will look stunning if you use a prime lens of 35mm or 50mm mounted on a DSLR. If you want to shoot in low light, then a full-frame camera with better capability of handling low lights would produce less noisy photos even if you increase ISO.
Learning to master a DSLR isn’t a big ask these days — so don’t get scared if you see hundreds of combinations of settings in your digital camera. More about mastering a DSLR camera would require another post (or even a book!).
Editing street photos
I don’t edit street photos much. I’d only play with:
Cropping: to make composition better.
Exposure: cameras may not shoot what you saw with naked eye. To bring the photo back to its natural exposure, play with sliders like exposure, shadows, and highlights.
Color: depending on narrative I’d leave the photo colored or convert into black and white.
You can achieve desired results in any of the editing software, I use Lightroom and Photoshop for better handling of any of the above aspects of editing and capability to edit photos in batches with help of actions and presets.
To sum up, these are achievable street photography examples, right? Hit me up and share your thoughts with more such examples or you have more queries about making stunning photographs.