14 Street Photography Tips – For The Beginner

Not everyone is bold enough to go out on the street and take photographs of life as it happens around them. If you’re someone who has been wanting to do this – to document the world around you as “life happens” – then here is a compilation of the best tips that I’ve seen about Street Photography over the years.

At the end of the article, I’ve also included a few additional resources so that you can continue to learn more about street photography from some of the best sources out there.

Obvious Street Photography Tips to Get Started

Sometimes we tend to forget the obvious in our quest for the hidden. Here are a few ‘obvious’ street photography tips to remember when shooting on the streets.

A woman and a dog go for a walk on Madison Avenue, NYC. Street Photography Scene
A street scene in New York City

Get In Close

All too often the actual ‘subject’ of a street photograph gets lost in the activity going on around… Get close to the subject, and make them the primary object in your frame.

Be Observant

Street photography is all about observing people, their actions, and juxtapositions. Keep your eyes open, and look for interesting connections. Here’s how you can be more observant in your daily life.

Shoot Many Photographs

I tend to shoot only when I’m sure that I know that I have a good shot in my frame. While this is a good practice, it can lead to missed opportunities. Shoot more frequently than you expect to shoot and weed out the boring shots when you download your pictures.

Don’t Worry About the Light … Too Much

Concentrate on the people, your composition, and your safety. Today’s cameras do a great job of metering a scene well. Use their readouts. Maybe even shoot in auto exposure mode (is that blasphemy you hear?).

Use a ‘Normal’ Sized Camera

I’ve had a lot of people baulk when I pick up my Canon EOS 5D with its 24-70mm lens and flash. They go into “hide” mode; feeling shy and possibly even worried. This is one of the reasons why I’ve moved down to a toy-like camera, and probably why many of the great street photographers chose small, simple cameras like the Leica rangefinders.

Use a Wide Angle Lens

Being a participant brings you closer to your intended subjects. It can bring you right into the midst of the action. Keep a wide-angle zoom or prime lens handy for these occasions.


Some of the best street photographs I’ve seen are those of people who are fully aware of the photographer. You’re more likely to get a memorable picture when you’re part of the scene and reacting to the emotions and drama that’s playing out around you.

Know When to Shoot Candids

Candid photography on the street is one of its charms. Use the right equipment – long lenses, nondescript clothing, and a casual attitude – and you could get some gems.

Dress Normally

Dressing up like a “photographer” could, sometimes, lead to minor hostility. Dress normally, or like a tourist, and keep your camera bag small and inconspicuous.

Worry About Your Camera at Home

Concentrate on the street when you’re shooting. I prefer to choose my equipment carefully before leaving for a street shoot and not worry about what I “could have got” with some other equipment. When you’re on the street, make sure that you involve yourself in the scene as much as possible.

Street Photos Don’t Need Expensive Gear

To bring out the right emotion, all you need is equipment that you’re familiar with. It’s not about the equipment. Instead, it’s all about the moment. Keep it that way, and you’ll find yourself reacting to the right elements; People – not your equipment.

Know How Your Equipment Works

Running off the back of the previous two points, it’s important to be familiar with your equipment. Don’t worry about what you don’t have, or what you wish you had. Enjoy your shots, shoot what you can, and practice before, so that you know how to make the most of what you have.

Street photography is very spontaneous and a moment’s fumble with the controls can leave you wishing you were quicker with your equipment.

Carry Your Camera Inconspicuously, But Not Suspiciously

This will give you opportunities in street photography that you would not expect. Be casual about the camera and keep it away from your face as much as possible. Shooting from the hip using hyperfocal distance becomes an important technique at this point, or you can be a careful observer, and raise the camera to your eye quickly just as ‘the moment’ comes together. You can see how being familiar with your equipment is important for this ‘serendipity’ to happen.

Try to Avoid Looking Like a “Photographer”

As a side effect, trying to hide your camera and sneaking a photograph in when possible may make you look suspicious, at the same time, don’t try to look like a fashion photographer. As mentioned before, be casual about the camera, and you’re likely to get many more memorable moments.

Obviously, one can go on and on about street photography tips, but I think that these are some obvious ones that need to be got out of the way. If you think that there are some more obvious tips that I’ve missed out on, do leave them in the comments below.

Further Reading:

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas is a Product Photographer and Filmmaker based in India. He has been taking photographs (almost) all his life. He has a diploma and a bachelors degree in Visual Communication, where his classmates all believed that he would write a book on photography... Instead, he writes on this website (because - isn't a community more fun?).

His passions include photography, parkour, wide-angle lenses, blue skies, fire extinguishers, and fast computers.

In addition to writing for Beyond Photo Tips, Susheel is a staff writer for Fstoppers.com, and owns and runs ColoursAlive, a photography, and video production studio.

You can connect with Susheel on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Articles: 158


  1. Personally I’ve always been impressed with Chris Weeks’ pdf about Street Photography. It covers a lot of what you’ve listed, but it’s pretty blunt in the same way that street photography tends to be.

    So if you enjoyed the above post (like me – it makes me want to get back to the street!) then I highly recommend Chris’ publication. I have no affiliation with him apart from being a fan.


  2. These are good tips, despite being “obvious” as you say. Sometimes we all need a reminder of the fundamentals. Like the above commenter said, this makes me want to grab my camera and head out to the streets!

  3. @Susheel Chandradhas: This is true about cameras, though time is a limiting factor. I just got my Zero Image 69 Deluxe in the mail but I won’t have time for it for at least a few weeks ;(

  4. Good tips. Although I don’t understand this whole “download your images” thing. Is one even allowed to do street photography with a digital camera?? I thought that violated every known street photography principle there is! :)

    But seriously, digital has some drawbacks. Your choices are either a point-n-shoot, which will take so long to take the shot that your subjects will have walked away, or a dSLR, with that giant flapping noise made by the mirror. Hardly inconspicuous.

    While Chris Weeks might be over the top with his Leica-only attitude, I must admit having a rangefinder camera with a quiet shutter is very comforting. Just a little tick and you’ve taken the picture.

    One day I’ll take my Yashica-Mat out for some street photography. The looking-down-into-the-viewfinder aspect of a twin-lens reflex is a foreign concept to most people these days. Which means I can compose in plain view, and people will think I’m taking pictures of my shoes. My wife actually accused me of doing that once!

  5. @ Matt Haines: Street Photography without digital? Aaargh! I’m sure I’d die before I gave up my digital camera today! Think of all the rolls film I’d lay to waste…

    It is possible that I’ve taken “digital photography” for granted these days… It is becoming rather pervasive in an annoying way (for some people … for me, its just pure joy!). But isn’t that what’s making photography so accessible to everyone?

    As for “Leica Only” fanatics (they aren’t very unlike the Nikon Only, or Canon Only, or even the Hasselblad Only fanatics)… they can get annoying too…

    I believe in the “right equipment for the right job” motto, and while range-finders are certainly part of the street photographer’s kit, they’re certainly not all-encompassing. Their use depends on your style of street photography.

    As for TLRs :D lets see some impressive photographs of your shoes sometime soon! I’ll be watching your website…


  6. I’d really have some objections here and there, but there’s still some useful advise for beginning streeters =)

  7. hey thanx for the amazing tips..its vry helpful..i have one more point to include in street photography its capturing portraits and creating a story out a pic..creating a story to the street portrait will grab you viewers attention..

  8. Just a quick tip which I find helps “hide” a camera a little more than usual
    is to wear a top/jacket the same color as the camera. Black camera/ black camera strap/ black top or jacket etc

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