101 Things I Have Learned About Street Photography

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    101 Things I Have Learned about Street

    Photography

    by Eric Kim on September 9, 2010

    In lieu of the popularity of my last post about the 100 Things I Have Learned about

    Photography, I decided to make a new list that pertains to street photography

    specifically. Also if you dont know, I am currently writing a book titled: Street

    Photography 101, and the excerpts are being postedhere. This new list is a homage to

    the Street Photography 101 book that I am writing.

    Note that there is some overlap of some of these points with the previous list that I

    wrote, but I thought it may be essential for new-readers to note. Also, feel free to

    critique, comment, and share this list with anybody you want. I would love to hear your

    feedback.

    1. Dont worry about the camera so much, just take the damn photo.

    2. Ditch the zoom lens and screw on some primes

    3. Carry your camera gear in a messenger bag (it makes your camera & lenses easier to

    access).

    4. Go for the candid look.

    5. Go for the shock factor.

    6. Smile often.

    7. When shooting from the hip, your first 1000 shots will be terrible.

    8. Dont make eye contact with your subjects when trying to be discrete.

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    9. Imagine that the world is your stage and people are your actors.

    10. Feel free to ask people to take their portraits.

    11. Try to refrain from taking photos of the homeless (as most shots can be considered

    as merely exploitation).

    12. Crouch when taking your shots, it often makes for more interesting photos.

    13. Get close. Now take two steps closer.14. Shoot with an all-black camera with your logos taped up with black tape (to make

    your camera look more discrete).

    15. Go exploreserendipity is key.

    16. The less planning, the better.

    17. Ideal exposure for a bright sunny day: f/16, ISO 400, 320th/second.

    18. Pretend like youre taking a photo of something else.

    19. Be respectful.

    20. Change your lenses to re-inspire.

    "The Conductor" - Downtown Los Angeles

    21. Follow your own style, not trends.

    22. Dont worry about the fear of shooting in public. It will go away over time.

    23. In my 4 years of street photography, I have only had two people to ask me not to

    take a photo of them. (Your experiences will most-likely be similar)

    24. Most people like getting their photo taken.

    25. If a policeman asks you to delete a photo, tell him that youknow your rights and

    refuse to do so. (edit 9-29-10)

    26. There are no rules in street photography.

    27. Always bring your camera with you everywhere you go. EVERYWHERE.

    28. Dont take photos, tell stories.29. Limit the number of street photographs you see from the internet. The more you

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    see, the less you will value your own.

    30. You will be called by others as weird for your street photography. Ignore them.

    31. Look for the beauty in the mundane.

    32. Take photos that make people laugh.

    33. Street photography is best experienced alone.

    34. Constantly experiment and innovate.35. Street photography doesnt always have to be in black and white (although

    sometimes it does look better).

    36. Grain is beautiful.

    37. Hold your camera with your hand, not your neck.

    38. Dont be afraid of offending people. Most likely you wont.

    39. The night is often more vivid than the day Van Gogh

    40. Some of the meanest looking people can be the nicest.

    "The Faces" - Paris, France

    41. Dont make excuses. Make photos.

    42. Never delete any of your photos. Some of the technically-off images make the best

    street photos (think blurry, grainy, or dark images).

    43. Always keep your eyes open for the Decisive Moment.

    44. If you think your photos are boring, they most likely are.

    45. Street photography summed up in one sentence: I could have taken that photo but

    I didnt

    46. The quieter your camera, the better.

    47. Dont be sneaky.

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    48. Wide Angle > Telephoto for street photography

    49. Everybody in the streets has a story to tell.

    50. Street photography is not just about the photos, but the experiences.

    51. You dont need to be in Paris to take great street photographs. Your backyard is

    equally as good.

    52. See life through the eyes of your subjects.53. A well-cropped image can often tell a better story.

    54. Juxtapose.

    55. Look for the light.

    56. Go off the beaten path.

    57. Have the mind of a child and wander. This is how you will find your best

    photographs.

    58. Only show your best photographs. This will strengthen your images.

    59. If someone says that you are really lucky, slap them.

    60. The more photos you take, the better.

    "Gloom" - Seoul, Korea

    61. Your subjects are people, not prey.

    62. Spread the love of street photography with your friends and family.

    63. Less is more.

    64. Get meaningful critique of your street photography from an online community. It

    will help you tremendously.

    65. Street photographs are subjective.

    66. Look at what other people arentlooking at.

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    67. Do not stress over amazing shots that you may have missed. Simply more on and

    strive to take a better shot.

    68. Create a series or a theme for your street photographs. They will help create a style

    for you.

    69. See with your eyes, not your camera.

    70. There is no such thing as the perfect photo.71. Timing is key.

    72. You dont have to take a photo of everything. Dont feel guilty for just enjoying the

    moment.

    73. If you are a beginner, dont worry about the settings too much. Just toss your

    camera on auto mode and go shooting.

    74. Dont look for photo opportunities. Have them find you.

    75. Children cannot see your camera.

    76. If you ask to take a portrait of a stranger on the street, ask them for their email so

    you can send them their image. (they will love it).

    77. Dont forget to look up anddown.

    78. No subject is too ordinary to shoot.79. Always carry a spare battery and memory card on hand. This has saved my ass half

    a million times.

    "Dizzy" - London, UK

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    80. Dont be afraid to push your ISO higher.

    81. Learn how to shoot without using the viewfinder and make it a second-instinct.

    Thus also

    82. Practice shooting from the hip.

    83. You will never encounter the same shot twice. Now swallow that fact and digest it.

    84. Street photography is a lot like swimming. You have to do it to truly learn it.85. Draw inspiration from other photographs, dont steal them.

    86. Street photography is a lot like fishing. Sometimes you catch a whole bunch,

    sometimes you catch none.

    87. Getting one or two keeps from an entire day of shooting is a good number.

    88. If someone asks you to delete a photo of them, just do it. It isnt worth the trouble.

    89. Be smart: ie dont go shooting in the hood by yourself at night with hundred dollars

    worth of camera gear.

    90. Some street photographs just look better in color. Dont overlook this.

    91. There are always photo opportunities regardless of where you are.

    92. Less is more.

    93. A street photograph is worth an essay.94. Public transportation is a gold mine for street photography. Learn how to use it.

    95. Always keep at least two backups of all your images. Technology is unreliable.

    96. Keep a journal of your shooting experiences. Track your thoughts and development

    as a street photographer.

    97. Get lost in your photography and lose track of time.

    98. Think before you shoot.

    99. Have fun.

    100. Live life.

    101. Just do it.

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    "Contemplation" - Paris, France