ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to do Street Photography

Updated on March 16, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source
CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Street photography is the technique or better yet, the art of taking photographs of people in places. Most often in the streets, in parks, on public places and often without the subjects being aware that their photographs are being captured in film or sensor forever.

The technique usually involves setting the camera on hyper-focus, using a relatively fast ISO rated film or setting in a D.S.L.R and a 50mm to 55mm lens, although many street photographers prefer a wide angle lens in the range of 30mm.

Most photographers in this genre do not aim and focus on their subject; rather they aim at a general area or subject and just shoot, with the aid of a fast shutter speed. It is also typical for street photographers to take many shots before obtaining one that is of publishable quality. The fun is to find out what is in the image after it's developed/downloaded. Keep in mind that people do not have to be the only subjects, animals and things can also be included or used by themselves.

Similar to other types of photography such as candid and very similar to vernacular, street photography attempts to show a moment in life in which nothing is planned, posed or arranged. Like suddenly opening up a window and seeing what's in front of you, or in front of the lens in this case.

No especial equipment other than a SLR camera and a keen eye is required, but having luck and patience are always a plus because a large portion of their work often comes about due to being in the right place at the right time.

Street photography is very similar to social documentary photography, but in the latter the object is to show the plight of a social class, the human condition. Poverty, the conditions of refugees, homelessness and many other social issues make the mainstay for social documentary photographers.

Street photography's focus is in capturing images that reflect a society in various stages; at play, at work, having fun, but especially its main intent is on capturing photographs that depict everyday and commonplace people in commonplace and everyday situations.

A street photographer does not usually have an agenda, the photos mainly happen by coincidence. There is no concerted effort in documenting a series of events, since it is not documentary photography, and there is no specific subject matter. The photographer may aim to show humor, awkwardness, ambiguity or to illicit another emotion.

Is there a market for street photography? Like any other photographic genre the answer is yes. The markets for street photography are art galleries, book publishers, social organizations and government agencies. Most street photographers consider themselves as pure artists and shoot exclusively with the intent of presenting their work at art events, galleries and to submit their work to art magazines.

Perhaps more than in any other photo style, these photographers work as independent photographers or free lancers as they are most commonly known, and occasionally work on assignments. With that said, street photography was born for book publishing purposes and probably as an offshoot of the early newspaper photographer's needs.

The laws concerning this type of photography are similar to other types of photography but as far as the legality of taking photos of people without their consent, the laws vary and have been changing in recent times.

"The laws regarding the recording of other persons and property by means of still photography, videography, and audio recording vary by location. In many places, it is common for the recording of public property, persons within the public domain, and of private property visible or audible from the public domain to be legal. But laws have been passed in many places restricting such activity in order to protect the privacy of others. To make matters even more complicated, in many places and in many situations, the laws governing still photography may be vastly different that the laws governing any type of motion picture photography." Wikipedia

Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0
Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0 | Source

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      LeTotten: Thank you

    • LeTotten profile image

      LeAnna Totten 

      5 years ago

      As a photographer I enjoyed this hub! I found the video on the DOs & DONTs of photography informative but also very funny.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Luis, I am learning more about capturing random strangers in photographs, as it has come up in my photography quite by accident! I am learning to be more patient and use a tripod. Using the self timer mode, I would wait the seconds to capture that perfect photo, only to find someone else came and got right in the picture. I loved how it turned out.

      In the past, I have never thought to take photos of people for some reason, like I wondered if it would be rude or they wouldn't want it. It just didn't sit right for some reason. Thus, I am learning about it now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

    • profile image

      street photography 

      7 years ago

      Street photography generally refers to photographs taken from the public places like streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other same places.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      7 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments.

    • Radioguy profile image


      7 years ago from Maine

      Great job! I like B/W photography most of all.

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      7 years ago

      Thanks again for the tips. I just recently tried taking "street" pictures. For some reason, I didn't feel comfortable taking shots of people I didn't know. Following your tips though will give that stately old building/street a bit more context. And changing angles on the people. That's a doh! right? lol!

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      7 years ago from Central United States

      Thanks for your input it's greatly appreciated. This gives me a little more leeway to do what I want.

      Thanks again

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      7 years ago from Miami, Florida


      Generally speaking, if you take photos of streets, buildings or anything that is on a public thoroughfare, including storefronts, can be used without a model's or property release. If the photos are taken of the insides then a release is required. Photos of people that are taken in a public thoroughfare are also OK to use without a release. Common sense is if the person objects to having his or her photo taken plus the person can be reasonably recognized then is not acceptable to use the photos.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      7 years ago from Central United States

      I had been wondering if the pictures I plan on taking this weekend will be able to be used. I still don't know who to call as they are to be taken in a different state than which I live. Guess I will try harder to not shoot recognizable buildings and people from the back.

      Thanks for the information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)