Simple Ways to Improve Your Street Photography

November 14th, 2011 by John Batdorff

I’ve come to believe the key to getting good environmental portraits, or honing your street photography skills, is learning to take advantage of distractions and becoming invisible.

Montana Rodeo pickup

Being young and in love can be quite the distraction. Oh…how I remember. Now a nice hot fudge sundae has the same effect.

Distractions…the low lying fruit.

Parades and public events are great ways to hone your street photography skills without drawing too much attention to yourself because people are usually preoccupied by the event itself.

Gambling in the streets of Paris

Go light young grasshopper…

Learning to travel light and being proficient with one lens can be a major asset. Leave the tripod behind and here’s why: we need to be fast, flexible, and under the radar to catch an authentic, spontaneous moment.

Man feeding the birds in one of London’s parks.

Be patient…..short term pain means long term gain.

Find a nice place to sit back, relax and wait for the shots to present themselves. I know it can feel tedious, and at times downright boring, but like the proverb says, “everything comes to he who waits.”  A cafe, park, or city center are all great places to plant yourself and wait for photo opportunities. I know it sounds a bit like stalking, but truly what we’re talking about is simply people watching.  Many street photographers, including myself, are fascinated by human behavior so I like to think of it as my own little case study of the world around me. Take notes, have sip of coffee, and wait for the shot.

Cello player near the Louvre in Paris


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