Street Photography Tips For Introverts

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The great Robert Capa once said, “If your photos aren't good enough, then you're not close enough.” But if you’re new to street photography, stepping out to the city — no matter how big or small, may seem intimidating. Approaching potential subjects or stepping into a scene can be nerve-wracking, so we thought of a few simple tips that you might find useful.

Credits: bugpowders & photos-for-locals

Pick a Discreet Camera

A small and compact point-and-shoot camera won’t attract too much attention, and you can easily whip it in and out of your pocket. Later on, when you become more experienced, you’ll enjoy having a handy camera that can keep up with you as you chase urban moments.

Credits: trash-gordon-from-outer-space, maneke, kiwikoh, aim2run & dave9000

Choose a Laid-Back Spot

Getting right into the heart of action may be overwhelming at first. It's best to hang out somewhere more laid-back where you can quietly observe with your camera. A park bench or a coffee shop by the window, for example. Capture how the sunlight casts shadows on the pavement, pedestrians about to start their day, or the more subdued vibe of this part of the city.

Credits: duffman, adamo-75, canercelikphoto, evilpete, ilcontrariodime & koduckgirl

Practice With Pets

Eventually, you’ll want to take portraits of strangers you meet on the street, especially if they exude a unique character. Try approaching people with pets and ask if you may take a picture! Pets are usually a great icebreaker, most owners (or rather, hoomans) like talking about their pets. Hopefully, this will help you become more comfortable in approaching subjects to photograph.

Credits: panelomo, elmahiko, jennabee25 & -alia-

Go For Bright and Sunny Days

This may sound silly, but if you're shooting in daytime, you wouldn't need a tripod or flash that could potentially attract attention.

Credits: pussylove, coca, ilcontrariodime, reizueberflutung, koduckgirl & adamo-75

Relax!

It’s a busy world out there and most people are preoccupied in their own thoughts and errands, so try not to think too much about it. Enjoy a nice stroll and capture the moments around you. Eventually, taking street snaps will be second nature to you.

Credits: yanbotang, duffman & robertofiuza

Any tips you'd like to add to this list? Post them in the comments box below!

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7 Comments

  1. frenchyfyl
    frenchyfyl ·

    My tips : don't think, just shout! ;-)

  2. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    I'm an introvert. In 2008 when I bought my holga & fisheye from lomo embassy indonesia I did self lomowalk like crazy every morning, noon and afternoon. One day I've almost got punched and threat to call the police by this middle age man when I was photographing his small but beautiful home. I didn't realize at that time a middle age woman maybe his wife are siting in front of the home. After snap it and did self lomowalk again suddenly from back side I heard people run through me like a crazy dog. This middle age man thought that I'm a pervert who want to shoot his wife without permission. I'm so confused then he asked me to fight and he grab my shirt and then he forced me to roll my film. But I'm reject him because for an unemployee like me every roll of film are expensive. Then he threat he will call the police. I'm start to think this is ridiculous I didn't do something pervert I just shoot his home but I don't know why he is so angry. When I did self lomowalk in kota lama semarang lot of local people wanted to photographed by me but in my own hometown I'm so unfortune to met this bad temper middle age man. So I just gave up because if he call the police at that time I will make my parent in trouble again at my near 30 years old age at that time 😂😢 frankly as an emotional kind of person I really wanted to accepted his offer to fight but I always think of my parent haha from that moment I learn that taking a good photo are seriously patience lesson till the end of my analogue life. We are also knew at that time I mean we refer to small bandung analogue community there are one of a community member who snap people who are playing chess at the pedestrian without permission like me. Then one of them are angry but he was not as luck as me who didn't get punched because he got a hit in his face by the angry street chess player. Haha sorry I'm typing too long my bad habit too bad for an introvert like me

  3. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Wow I am happy to be part of this and I believe in being a sneaky and incognito about so that the subject is not uncomfortable since I am quite shy and dislike posed grins

  4. 24horas
    24horas ·

    For me it really helps to relax first, so I like to find a nice coffee shop and just chill out for a while before doing anything. As suggested by the article, I like to look at the world through the window glass and just casually observe people and the changes in light. I take quite a few street shots but I don't really see it as street photography, to me it's just taking photos of things I see as interesting and nothing more than that.

  5. acrom
    acrom ·

    Street photography is a kind of grey zone in which not all participants of public space know their rights and/or the rights of others who want to make nice pictures.
    As I understand it is allowed to take streetview pictures including of houses (but excluding certain official buildings and areas) as long as you are not zooming in on 1 particular person. To me that makes streetphotography the most innocent and easy of all, next to landscape - and architectural photograpy. Animals by the way have no portraitrights, the owners cannot claim portraitright of their pet.

    Asking permission for making a picture takes away the spontanity of the moment and people might look away or put a hand in front of their face. In buildings like café, club or restaurant it certainly is not public (in spite of the meaning of 'pub'; public house). In these days of internet people are more conscious of possible side effects where they have no control over the image made of them. Therefore permission for portraits (and when possible documented including what is and isn't allowed with the outcome) is preferred. I try to do this verbally and exchange contactinfo, but very often people don't share their contactinfo and don't contact me about the picture(s) I made of them. What makes it more difficult to share these pictures. And when I can share the photo, don't expect a "thank you" as people in thia digital age think every favour is free.

    Perhaps a standard form which the portrayed can photograph with a cellphone after signing and giving at least an Email adress to send the picture to might give some trust.
    I guess the form should state at least ID of photographer and to be portrayed, date, location, permission for what specific purpose(s) the picture can be used/published and a link to applicable legislation regarding portrait- and copyright. But that also might scare people off.

  6. denkbeeldig
    denkbeeldig ·

    @hervinsyah awesome story :)

  7. denkbeeldig
    denkbeeldig ·

    @hervinsyah @acrom @24horas @koduckgirl thanks for sharing this :) I can relate to that! Me myself, I am a rather big fan of hiding in the crowds and zone-focussing on my subjects with my Canonet (not looking through the viewfinder, holding the camera on my chest or in front/on the side of me). A couple of times I asked two guys if I could take their picture, and they said yes. Even though I was proud of myself that I asked them nicely, and asked them pose, the end result was not as satisfying. It took all the spontaneous reactions out of the moment, and they looked blend. Once I noticed this, I just went back to shooting unnoticed :) keep these kind of posts coming!

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