Back-to-Basics: 7 Street Photography Tips for Beginners

Photographer Evan Raft recently published a list of 7 helpful, back-to-basics tips for anybody who is interested in getting started with street photography. If you’re a beginner, this video is a great place to start before going out and trying to capture your first few street shots.

The whole video fits into about 9 minutes of footage—including the requisite sponsor break—and Raft includes plenty of example photos to go along with the advice that he’s sharing. Some of the tips are about settings while others are about approach and technique, but all of them will be helpful if you’re new to this. Scroll down to see all seven summarized below:

  1. Find the Light – Finding dynamic light is incredibly important, and you’re not limited to golden hour. Harsh shadows are great for street photography.
  2. Use a Zoom Lens – Using a telephoto zoom can take a little bit of the fear out of capturing candid shots.
  3. Find Simple Locations and ‘Outliers’ – Set up near a simple/interesting location and then wait for something to cross your lens that doesn’t quite ‘fit’ into this particular scene.
  4. Shoot at f/8 – When you’re just starting out, don’t worry about shallow apertures or depth of field. Focus on composition first, then start adding more elements.
  5. Only Bring One Lens – One of the most common tips, and for good reason. Limiting yourself to one lens removes multiple focal lengths from the equation and forces you to get creative.
  6. Start with Simple Compositions – Don’t overthink your shots. Start simple by looking for leading lines and waiting for a subject to line up in your viewfinder.
  7. Give Yourself an Hour – Street photography takes patience and time. Not only will it take time to find a great location or composition, but it could take a while for something interesting to happen in that location. Don’t rush.

Check out the full video up top to hear more from Raft about each of the tips above and see all the applicable sample shots. And if you have any additional tips that you think would be helpful for beginners who want to try street photography, drop them in the comments.