Almost everyday, I get emails from devoted readers asking how I get such great photos of people on the street when I travel. That is a lie. I never get such emails.
But if I did, here are the tips that I would give anyone looking to take better candid photos of people.
Tips for Better Street Photos
1. Drink Alcohol
Drinking lowers your inhibitions so you won’t be as nervous taking photos of people. It is easier to ask someone if you can have their photo if you are drunk, and in general, people respond better to foreigners if they are wasted.
Stalk Follow Around Photogenic People
When photographing wildlife, it is important to learn the habits of animals so that you can see them in their natural habitat hunting, on the move, etc. The same goes with humans.
Do you know a particularly attractive young female with great fashion? Follow her, at a distance of course, to learn her habits. Use a telephoto lens so as not to interrupt her normal routine. As you get more comfortable, use a 50mm lens and get closer. It she notices you following her around everyday, just let her know that you are working on your street photography and I am sure she won’t mind.
3. Photograph Schools
Children are very photogenic. A great way to get candid photos of kids is to hang around playgrounds, especially at recess or after school, and shoot photos. Again, you want candid photos, so use a long lens and blend in. For me, a white van without windows works best for blending in and getting great shots
4. Wear Camo or Black clothes
The best way to blend in, other than the white windowless van, is to wear camo or all black. This will help you get genuine photos of people.
5. Use AV mode
When shooting people on the street, I find the aperture value (AV Mode) on the camera to be the most useful. Use a low setting, like f/1.8, and it will not only blur the background and enhance your subject, but also it will allow you to use a fast shutter speed which will make it easier to get a clear photo.
6. Carry a gun
This has nothing to do with photography, but as the American Tea Party and FOX News always say, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Presumably, if you are out taking street photos, following around kids in a white van, drinking alcohol, using AV mode and you have a gun, you are a good guy. This gun will protect you from the bad people of the world.
To recap: My Six Steps To Better Street Photos
- Drink Alcohol – it breaks down inhibitions
- Follow around photogenic people – learn their habits, get them in their natural environment
- Photograph schools – use a white van as a blind
- Wear Camo or black clothing – to blend in
- Use AV mode – to blur background and get a crisp image
- Carry a gun – because it is your 2nd amendment right
Which one of these tips will be most useful for you?
Do you have any other tips for street photography?