Street Photography


Street Photography makes it possible for the people seeing it to see more than the original photographer has intended. One of the great things about street photography especially in cities, is that things are always happening, all around us. Photography makes us possible to  freeze moments and see things that we maybe didn’t see before we took the picture. Many street photographs are candid, but I don’t believe it limits to that, though personally my favorite are candids.

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Many Street photographers look for in the moment shots, off-guard moments. Many look for emotion or something that triggers emotion, such as humour or a fascination with something that is happening.






Photo-Net has great techniques to capture the perfect street photographer

The classic technique for street photography consists of fitting a wide (20mm on a full-frame camera) or moderately wide-angle (35mm) lens to a camera, setting the ISO to a moderate highspeed (400 or 800), and pre-focusing the lens. Pre-focusing? How do you know how far away your subject will be. It turns out that it doesn’t matter. Wide angle lenses have good depth of field. If your subject is 10 feet away and the lens is set for 12 feet, you’d probably need to enlarge to 16×20″ before noticing the error, assuming a typical aperture. This is why the high ISO setting is important. Given a fixed shutter speed, the higher the ISO setting, the smaller the aperture. The smaller the aperture, the less critical it is to focus precisely. The extreme case of this is a pinhole camera, for which there is no need to focus at all.

Street photographers traditionally will set the lens at its hyperfocal distance. This distance depends on the lens focal length and the aperture but the basic idea is that it is the closest distance setting for which subjects at infinity are still acceptably sharp. With fast film and a sunny day, you will probably be able to expose at f/16. With a 35mm lens focussed to, say, 9 feet, subjects between 4.5 feet and infinity will be acceptably sharp (where “acceptable” means “if the person viewing the final photograph doesn’t stick his eyes right up against it”).

A modern alternative is to use a camera with a very high-performance autofocus system and a zoom lens. The Canon EOS bodies coupled with the instant-focusing ring ultrasonic motor Canon lenses (about half of the EOS lenses use these motors) are an example of what can work. How important is modern technology? Testing out the Mamiya 7 rangefinder camera, a mechanical design straight out of the 1920s, doing some street work in Guatemala, my yield of good images was as high as it ever was with the Canons.




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