Street photography is just that, photographing the street. Its primary focus is photographing strangers in a public place going about their daily lives. Here at Tony Hakim we are fascinated by the ability to capture stories through street photography and find it very inspiring. We have put together some top tips for those of you who are getting started with street photography.
Generally speaking, if you are in a public place it is permitted to take photographs of people. However if you intend to use the photographs in advertising, you need to have the permission of the subject by way of a signed model release form. If you are planning on doing some street photography across different countries, it is a good idea to double check that their local laws allow it.
When it comes to taking photos of children on the street, you may need to be a little more careful. It is best to get permission from the parent. If anyone does object to you taking their picture, it is best to just accept that, apologise and move on. Although you have the right to do so in a public place, it is still important to be respectful and understanding if someone does not want you to photograph them.
Who and Where
When you are first starting, we recommend taking a friend along with you. That way you will feel less creepy and they may even point out some things that you may not have noticed. But you should try and work up the courage to do it alone because you are more invisible when solo.
It is also a good idea to start off in crowded areas. This is because you are less likely to be noticed. Another great place to start is around street performers and buskers. They get their photo taken several times a day by tourists and locals alike, so they are likely to be pretty comfortable with it.
You don’t always have to search out people; you can let them come to you. If you find an interesting location or scene that you really like, get comfortable and simply wait for people to come along and tell you a story through their interaction with it.
If you find it too uncomfortable to take photos of people without them knowing, take a leaf out of Humans of New York book and engage with your subjects to take portraits. You will be amazed at the incredible and interesting people you will meet. Be sure to tell them why they caught your attention because everyone loves a compliment. You can also get their details and email them a copy of the image if they would like it.
When you are first starting out, it doesn’t really matter what camera you use or what lens. Just use whatever you feel most comfortable with. However as you start to get more confident, we recommend going with a small, wide-angle prime lens. Ditching your zoom will make you less obvious to passers-by and people you may be photographing. It is also a bit of a bother to carry around and can limit your movement.
So with those few tips for getting started with street photography, we here at Tony Hakim hope that you pluck up the courage to give it a try. It really is a very inspiring and invigorating hobby that we’re sure you will absolutely love.