Complete Tips For Street Photography, What To Do When Confronted, and the Best Camera Setting

Hi! How are you doing? I hope everything is going pretty well on your side.

Street photography is getting more common in the photography world. While it is quite simple, yet there are some things that you want to keep in mind when you hunt for street photos. I would like to share you some tips to help you shoot great street photos. Well, here they are!

1. Crowd is your golden nugget

The key to successful street photography is people. This means that the more people you encounter in an area, the better your chances are to witness a moment and capture it. For that reason, it would be very helpful if you know your area well.

By knowing your area, you know where the crowds are, and you will know where to go to take street photos. I don’t say that you have to solely rely on the crowded places that you know already. In fact, sometimes having a walk to random places may be very rewarding too.

One thing for you to keep in mind is that hunting photos in a big area will overwhelm you. My suggestion is to focus on a small section of street or a corner for each trip. Either way, to start with, I would just plan my roaming route before I go out to take photos. This will make my quest be more focused.

If you are new to an area, I would suggest you visit the community center to gather information on where the people gather. Another alternative is just go and roam around the neighborhood and see what the town has to offer.

2. Risk Versus Reward

Street photography is quite different compared to other types of photography. In street photography, in case you haven’t read my previous article, all moments are captured as it is, spontaneously. Whatever you in the frame is what is really happening.

You may be encountering some ‘golden’ moments for street photography such as gang fights, drug dealer transactions, wars, etc. I would say those things are super rare for street photography. Yet are they worth it? You can make those kind of photos in a studio with the help of professional models anyway.

Another moment which you may want to think twice before capturing it is like a mother changing her baby’s diaper. It’s like, do you really want to capture the moment?

Keep in mind that street photography is also an art which has to be done for aesthetic reason.

3. Permission, Law and copyright

Do you really need permission from the people you are taking photos of? I don’t really tell people for their permission. Asking permission it is not necessary as long as you are not using the photos commercially.

If you are selling your photos, let’s say on microstock libraries, then you have to get the model release from the person you are taking picture of.

Using the photos for commercial purpose also requires you to get rid of any logo, brand, and symbols. Those things are copyrighted, and you’d better erase them or otherwise you have to pay royalty for using them commercially.

For a private collection or putting them on your private blog, you don’t need to sign any release. The photos are the manifestation of your own creative intelligence. You have a full right on your creation.

4. What to do when confronted

At some point you will be in a situation where the person you take picture of gets upset. The best response you can give is to smile. You are not doing any fraud to anyone. If he demands to know what you are doing, just explain humbly. You are an artist or a photographer, and tell the person that the photos are for your own collection.

Most of the times it’s enough to just look at anything but the person. If the person calls the police, then just explain that what you are doing is an art or street photography project. As street photography tells what happens in society as it is, you also have to explain what you are doing as it is. Just be honest and in most cases you will be just fine.

5. How to not attract people’s attention

Preventing is always better than curing. Here are some tips to minimize the possibility to get noticed by your street photography objects.

• Wear dark clothes. Bright colors attract attention easily.

• Keep your elbows in when taking the photos. Spreading your body makes you stand out.

• Have the camera set. Get the photos quickly.

• Keep the camera strip high, closer to your head. It minimizes the movement required to have the camera ready.

• Get use with the camera. Always carry your camera everywhere, as if it was your second skin.

6. Find interesting street photography subjects

Street photography is about telling a story on what is happening in the society through your camera. You can get an interesting story with a proper preparation. There are some ways to get a good story for your image.

You can find an interesting people and follow them, expecting they will encounter an interesting moment for you to capture. For example, during the autumn season last year I was planning to shoot a picture of people enjoying the foliage. So I waited in a spot where I often saw people walk by, which has autumn foliage. After a while a couple of young people walked by and I took the picture. Easy.

You can spend a good amount of time before coming to a street photography theme. For me, I don’t like to spend too much time on planning, instead I would plan a simple subject and then hunt for the photos immediately.

7. Get your camera ready all the time

You don’t want to lose the moment. Some moments in street photography may not happen again forever. I have to admit that I have missed some precious moments because I did not bring my camera when I needed it the most.

The bad news is that moments may occur unpredictably. The good news is that as you become more experienced in street photography, your instinct is getting better.

Train yourself to be at the right place at the right time.

8. Good time for street photography

Here is the thing. You would need high shutter speed to capture a precious quick moment, right? Then you have to have much light to compensate. I personally, many other photographers may argue differently, prefer more light quantity than quality.

With a bright light, you can maximize your shutter speed to freeze your frame completely.

Having said that, my favorite time for street photography is morning and evening, especially during the summer time when the sunlight is abundant.

9. Where to shoot from

This one could be tricky. The point here is that you want to capture the whole scene, but you don’t want to look so suspicious.

I would suggest you to stand close to your object. The first reason is that you will be able to capture the scene perfectly. Secondly, standing too far will make you look suspicious.

When you encounter a great moment, take plenty shots at it. You don’t want to leave too early and regret later.

10. Camera Setting

What is the best camera setting for street photography? I would say first is maximizing your shutter speed. But remember to compensate with the light. If the light is less then you may want to reduce your shutter speed.

Most of the time I use shallow focus 1/5 so that I could emphasize the object I want to focus on. But when I want to capture the whole scene, then I go with smaller focus 1/22 or lower.

There is no exact textbook correct camera setting for street photography. It is an art. If you are happy with the photos, then you are doing perfectly fine.

11. Color or Black/White?

Again, street photography is all about your own preference. Nothing is better than the other.

Black/white, for my opinion, is good to give a retro impression. If you have big desire on classical-type photos, then black/white may be suitable for you.

If you feel that the color has the power to tell the story of your street photography image, then colored photos are the best.

12. Take action now!

Street photography totally requires you to go out and take photos. There is no other way to be a great street photographer other than going through a decent hours of practice.

I hope these tips are useful for you. Have fun taking photos!

Wedding Photography Lenses That Every Photographer Can’t Do Without

There are generally four kinds of photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have in his or her gig bag:

  • Wide-Angle Zoom
  • Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom
  • Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom
  • Prime/Portrait Lenses

Wide-Angle Zoom

Wide-angle zoom lenses are one of the most important photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have, typically 17mm to 35mm in length with a fixed aperture of f/2.8. They provide a large depth of field, making it simple to have foreground and background in focus. They are an indispensable wedding photography equipment which allows versatility in confined areas such as a small banquet room or crowded dance floor. While shorter photography lenses allow you to capture more details, wide-angle zoom lenses allow you to capture more reactions and atmosphere to tell a richer story.

To elaborate further, wide-angle zoom photography lenses allow you to shoot a wider perspective of moments happening around the major subject, hence providing a bigger picture of the entire event. For example, wide-angle photos have the capability to tell “stories within a story”, allowing you to reveal more of the story behind the shot. This is essential for a good photojournalistic wedding photography. As events surrounding weddings are so time sensitive, good photography lenses will allow you to capture as many actions or emotions in the quickest time as possible.

When used in a venue such as the church or ballroom, wide-angle zoom photography lenses also magnify the grandeur and spaciousness of the area, which encapsulates the creative feel for a photojournalistic wedding photography.

However, you need to be selective of the scenes or actions using wide-angle photography lenses, as a caveat to shooting wide is that it creates some body distortion, particularly when a subject is photographed close-up. Generally, people tend to look heavier and shorter on the edges, while arms can look huge. The last thing you want is to have the bride cursing you for making her look like she has put on 10 pounds! To get around this problem, you should as far as possible avoid putting the bride and groom at the edges of the wide-angle distortion. In addition, wide-angle photography lenses might also introduce distracting or unwanted elements into the frame, which would otherwise ruin a picture perfect moment.

Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom

Wide-to-telephoto lenses are the single most important photography lenses that a wedding photographer cannot do without. They should ideally be lenses that cover somewhere around the 20-70mm focal length range with an aperture of f/2.8. This ideal range lets you get wide enough to take a group photograph and close enough to capture facial emotions in your candid shots or a three-quarter portrait of a couple without the undesirable effects of wide-angle perspective distortion. They also double as good lenses for portraits. Given just this lens, you would be able to capture most of the shots needed for a wedding decently well.

Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom

Image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses are also essential items in your wedding photography equipment checklist. The 70-200mm focal length is an important range for wedding ceremony photos. It allows you to give your subjects more space in situations where you don’t want to get in the way. As you will often be photographing down the aisle from the back of the church, image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses will come in very handy. 200mm is long enough to be able to take 3/4 length images of the bride and groom exchanging their vows while staying at a reasonable distance away from the action and 70mm is wide enough to take in the bridesmaids or groomsmen as a group without switching photography lenses.

A good point to note is that when using such photography lenses, nice blurred background can be achieved with maximum wide apertures of f/2.8 and long focal lengths of 200mm or 300mm, whether you are using a full-frame or a small sensor body. This allows you to isolate the subject from its background, and to focus attention on the image as the main subject you want to portray. Such photography lenses are especially useful for shots where you are unable to get in close and for intimate and private moments, where you want to be an unobserved stranger at a distance. Some examples include a stolen glance, a mischievous grin, a kiss – the details that are effectively conveyed by the emotions. Image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses hence play an important role in capturing such moments.

These image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses aren’t only good for blurry backgrounds or shooting events from a distance. They could also be used to photograph stunning facial close-ups from creative angles above or below the subject that don’t exhibit the normal distortions of large chins or shrinking heads that come from wider photography lenses.

Yet another advantage of such photography lenses is that you can use the small-sensor camera’s 1.5x crop factor to your favour. The 200/2.8 long end of the standard zoom effectively becomes 300/2.8, a lens that would cost $4000 for a full-frame camera. The effective 300mm length allows for more creative photo angles than shorter photography lenses, such as tightly cropped images of the groom’s hands lifting the bride’s veil or the bride and groom’s hands while they put rings on each others fingers.

The obvious disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zooms is that in many cases, long photography lenses tend to disconnect the subject from the main scene and there might be little to no context as to why the subject may have had expressed how they were feeling, the whereabouts of the subject and who else was there.

When using a small-sensor camera as your primary or backup body, the other disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses is that neither Nikon, Canon or Sony make an f/2.8 lens that gives you an effective 70-200mm focal length. Hence, you would have to pay the high price and carry the weight of photography lenses designed for a full-frame camera.

Canon’s Image-Stabilization, Nikon’s Vibration-Reduction and Sony’s SteadyShot INSIDE systems are indispensable in allowing you to hand-hold these large and heavy long photography lenses, especially in low light situations. Every wedding photographer should ensure that the image-stablization and vibration-reduction features are available on their long lenses. You might also want to consider using a tripod to ensure continuous, accurate subject placement and sharp photos. Such telephoto zoom photography lenses are huge investments and if you have a budget constraint or an amateur just starting out, you might want to consider rental instead.

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are essentially photography lenses with fixed focal lengths, as opposed to zoom lenses, which have variable focal lengths of say 24-70mm or 17-55mm. Prime lenses generally have a better optical quality than zoom photography lenses, and usually come with wider maximum apertures such as f/2.8 or f/1.8.

Good prime lenses are must-have photography lenses for any wedding photographer, as they are excellent for taking good portraits. Although you will be adequately equipped for a wedding shoot with the three zoom lenses in your lens kit as discussed above, it is worth including two to three fast prime lenses in your bag as well. These photography lenses are compact, light, and fairly inexpensive and would probably be needed in about 10 to 20% of a wedding shoot.

Faster prime photography lenses are ideal in situations where f/2.8 aperture is not enough to get the motion-stopping shutter speed or shallow depth of field desired, whether for artistic or technical reasons. For example, an image that requires a 1/20th of a second shutter speed at f/2.8 will only require 1/60th of a second at f/1.8, forming a distinction between a sharp image and a blurry one. Many professional wedding photographers actually include prime lenses in their gig bags as an economical backup to their zoom lenses. Not many people could afford to purchase an additional 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens as a backup and you also want to prevent a frantic situation whereby your photography lens fails on you during a crucial moment.

There are many prime lenses available on the market but most photographers would include a 28/1.8, 50/1.8, and 85/1.8 in their prime photography lenses kit to be used on a full-frame body. The 28mm is wide enough to cover most ceremony locations and confined spaces, the 50mm is good for small groups or a priest blessing a couple, and the 85mm is long enough for ceremony vows and exchange of rings. A wedding can be successfully photographed with just these three photography lenses.

Add Photo Effects To Spruce Up Your Photographs

You got that right! You now have the option of making use of photo effects online to take the beauty of your old digital photographs up a whole notch. Believe it or not, but there are countless free online tools available these days that would make it possible for you to edit you images using a variety of cool photo effects. These effects can be used to amend photographs in such a manner that you can use them for social networking profiles, collages, and even greeting cards. The best part about these tools is that they are extremely easy to use and will make it possible for you to add a really nice edge to your shots. The best thing for you to do, if you want a personal opinion, is that of creating a collage using different images. Doing so is basically going to make it possible for you to blend your taste in photography, give it an appealing appearance and well, let the world see how creative you really are!

Do you want to preserve your old photographs in such a manner that they appear to be funkier? Well, your best bets are cool photo effects then! The best part about the tools that allow you to add photo effects is that there is no need for you to possess expert knowledge or experience in this field. seriously, even if you have no experience or knowledge, these tools would still make it possible for you to totally revamp your pictures.

Amongst the most commonly used photo effects these days are those that involve making photos appear to be old fashioned, or those that allow you to add a funky looking border to them. Oh, and did you know that you can also make yourself appear on a magazine cover through these? If you want to give out a gift to a close friend, then you can easily make a collage of your school or college days and get it framed for them! The only thing that you would need to have is that of high quality photos that meet a few specification. The formats that are commonly accepted by online photo effects tools are inclusive of .gif, .png, and .jpg. However, in case the photos that you have are not available in the required format, then don’t worry as you can use a number of online tools that allow you to change the format of your files. Now, just access a photo effects tool on the internet and upload your image on to it. Now, just work out which effect you are interested in, and start working on it. Believe it or not, but with just a few clicks, your photo shot is going to be totally revamped with an amazingly effective appearance! The only difficulty that you would have is that of deciding which photo effect you want to use – there’s so many of them out there that you are totally going to get overwhelmed by your choices!