21 Urban Photography Skills to Master

Shooting street photography is something that many photographers aspire to but few ever do. Too often photographers fear actually shooting on the street.

They feel that street is a skill with too many demands. Or, they feel that other people will judge them too harshly.

The great thing is that none of these things are true.

With a few tricks of the trade nearly anyone can be on their way to creating world class street snaps.

Learn These Urban Photography Skills

This guide is full of tips on how to best shot street photography. By using these ideas a novice will quickly learn the ropes.

1. Set Your Settings at Home

Setting your settings at home means less time in the field fiddling with your camera and more time getting those shots. In general street photography uses a mid-range aperture.

Many find that a setting between f8 and f11 produces a nice deep depth of field. A deeper depth of field means that your moving subjects will stay in focus as they cross your path.

An ISO between 200 and 400 will control noise. Beginners will find themselves more comfortable using their DSLR in aperture mode. More advanced photographers may like full manual mode.

2. Get the Lens Right!

A wide-angle lens is best for street shooting. The gold standard is a 35mm prime lens. This means that you will have to comfortable walking into the scene to get the best framing.

Some others prefer to use lens between 24mm up to 55mm. A standard 18mm-55mm zoom lens will be able to capture great images from further away.

It’s a great way to ease into getting close to your subjects.

3. No Zooming Allowed

Speaking of lenses, try to just use prime or fixed length lens. If you are using a zoom lens set it to a length and leave it.

A fixed length lens forces one to master the skill of composition. You will also be able to focus and shoot faster with a fixed length lens. In street photography seconds really do count.

4. Fast Focus for Fast Shooting

Make use of the AF-S/one shot mode of the DSLR. Most people today use autofocus.

When you shoot set the focus distance using the AF-L/AF-ON button on the back. This means you will be able to shoot faster.

5. Capture the Decisive Moment

The phrase ‘decisive moment’ dates back to the beginning of photography. This is where that fast shooting comes in handy!

When you find a scene that you like be sure to take plenty of shots. Ten to thirty shots of a scene will help you capture that perfect moment.

6. Look for Juxtaposition.

Good street images often make use of strong contrasting images that still have some relationship.

Images of elderly people with children or amusing advertising images with a real person using the item are just some of the ideas out there.

7. Look for Emotion

See if you can find places that make people feel something strongly. Happy eaters, lonely people at the park, or nervous students all make for good imagery. Just remember to be quick!

21 Urban Photography Skills to Master

Photo credit: @secretplans

This is part 1 of a 3 part series all about urban photography skills. If you like what you’ve read, continue on to part 2 by clicking the page 2 link below.

PAGE 1: urban photography skills part 1
PAGE 2: urban photography skills part 2
PAGE 3: urban photography skills part 3


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Street Feat Photography was created to provide you with the most important street photography information and pictures.

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