Street photography can be beautiful and scary in its own form. Everyone has an opinion, though, on what gear should be used and how it should be used. My first piece of advice is that no matter how many opinions are thrown your way, always start with what feels comfortable to you, which may mean your Iphone, a point and shoot, or high end DSLR camera.  For me personally, I use a 10 year old camera body (Canon 60D) with a kit lens (18-55mm), $200 pancake lens (40mm), and a lens that is even discontinued (Sigma 15-30mm).

All of my lenses are either wide or prime. I highly recommend staying away from telephoto (zoom) lenses, because a wider lens allows you to get closer to your subject and capture its surrounding environment….plus you may look a bit like a stalker with the telephoto lens.  

When it comes to settings, I shoot in manual mode. Although manual gives you full control over your camera, beginners might want to start in just auto mode. Yes. You read that right, auto mode. Auto mode is great for beginners starting in street photography because it allows you to point and capture the image without losing the shot due to overexposure or blur from low shutter speed.

Street photography isn’t necessarily about picking a location. Rather, its about getting out and capturing everyday life on the streets. For me I have been to several major cities around the Unite States. For others it might be the streets of their downtown or neighborhood. Either way, there are a couple of tricks that I have learned from personal experience. 

  1. Friend and fellow photographer, Daniel Brittain, taught me early on that “viewers tend to like more human elements.” So aim to capture a subject because it gives your photo depth by creating a story.
  1. As obvious as this may sound, keep your head on a swivel and always look in every direction.  You never know what you could miss if you’re just focused on what is in front of you.  
  1. When you point a camera at someone, you may feel like you’re invading their space. But don’t worry, there are no laws against photographing people and most of the time they don’t even know that you are photographing them. Once I overcame this fear, then shooting in the streets became more creative and natural.
  1. Finally, more practice = stronger product. Getting outside and consistently shooting allows you to learn and grow as a street photographer.

These are my tips and tricks that can help you start your journey as a street photographer. If you have any others, leave a comment down below.


To keep up with my street photography journey, follow me on Instagram @johndeclanmactavish or click on the instagram icon at the bottom of the page!

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