Tips For Street Or Candid Photography

Posted on December 25, 2013 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS

EQUIPMENTA telephoto lens and a wide angle. A telephoto lens is a necessity, something in the range of 80 mm to 200 mm works well. The lens even with the lens hood doesn’t look that imposing. Longer focal lengths like a 300 mm or longer are of course better, but you will surely stick out like a sore thumb. Another lens of necessity is a wide angle something like a 15 mm or 16 mm if your camera has a magnification factor and doesn’t have a full-size sensor.

When you’re in a crowd and you can’t possibly move back, the wide angle lens is more versatile and easier to work, especially if it’s a zoom. Wide angles also allow you to shoot from the hip without raising the camera to your eye for true clandestine work. Digital SLRs work better than point and shoot cameras. But if a point and shoot is all you have, shoot at your longest focal length and at a quality to give you the largest file size. Don’t use the digital zoom. You want to use your maximum optical zoom and also your quality or lowest compression giving you the largest file size.


TECHNIQUESet your exposure for the lighting conditions beforehand. This is all part of being ready. When shooting in the streets, you have little or no time to be fiddling with aperture and shutter speeds. Most people think you don’t need to do this with today’s cameras because of all the automatic modes and autofocusing. I recommend you set the exposure manually then all your camera needs to do is focus when press the shutter speeding up the process.

If you set the camera on automatic, the camera has one more operation, deciding what combination of shutter speed and aperture to set while trying to focus on your subject. And that slows it down. Since you already know you want to emphasize your person and what they’re doing, you’ll be using your widest aperture to blur out the distractions in the background and foreground. Remember not be too pushy when taking pictures of people in public. The law says no one should expect privacy in a public places. But when a worried mother flags down a cop because you’re taking pictures of her and her child in the public park, it is more than likely you’ll be asked to stop or leave.

The First Amendment protects free speech, which means that no law enforcement official can prevent the photography or filming on the street or anywhere else that is considered public property.In practice we all know some cops can get overzealous and heavy-handed just because they are the ones with the guns and handcuffs.