What is Street Photography?

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

What is street photography? Is it just taking out camera and clicking images randomly or are there any priorities that have to be maintained? How do you get started in street photography?

If you love to capture pure candid emotions, love to tell stories through your images and love on the go natural images, you may prefer Street Photography.

Photo of Brassaï

Now what is street photography? According to Wikipedia, “It is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents.” So in a sense, this is a form of candid photography capturing daily life of people, incidents, stories etc. And contrary to its name, it is not necessary to capture street photographs only on the streets.

Photo of Henri Cartier-Bresson

Does street photography have to be structured? Absolutely not always. It is candid, one in a time moment images. It is just like freezing the moment you’ve seen through your eyes. You need to be active, and aware of your surroundings.

Photo of Henri Cartier-Bresson

But photojournalism or documentary photography have to maintain a structure. They’re similar in essence but follow a tad bit different route. Just like taking a candid image of a stranger in street can be included in street photography but street portrait is categorically different. Street photography is like a big tree where the knowledge you gained help you follow all the branches.

What makes a good street photograph? If you see an image an you understand the story it’s saying or the emotions behind it, it makes a good street photograph. It’s just like questions and answers and the image is the answer to the question you happen to ask after seeing the image.

Photo of Robert Doisneau

There are many techniques and rules like leading lines, rule of third, negative space, all can be used to tell the story efficiently since following them would make the image pleasing to the eye. But there are no fixed rule in photography that you must follow. So experiment and click lots.

Street photography help you learn the basics of photography, it matures your eyes and helps you increase your intuition to take images for the decisive moment. It is a great practice for everyone. Even when I’m writing this article, I still consider myself beginner in the field but I’ve just experienced more years here than any beginner. In another article, I’ll talk about some fundamental ideas to get started. But again, this is just my opinion. Be creative, shoot more.

Related: Dramatic Black and White Photography

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