Looking to learn the secrets of street photography? These six experts share their favorite tips and stories for capturing the vibrancy of city streets across the world.
In street photography, there are no do-overs. There are a million spontaneous interactions happening on the street at any given time, but most of them unfold in a matter of seconds. Take too long fumbling for the camera, and you could miss out on the shot of a lifetime. In the early 1950s, Henri Cartier-Bresson put it this way: “We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
The challenge of street photography is part of what makes it so appealing. Since the days of Cartier-Bresson, the tried-and-true genre has only attracted more devotees. On Instagram alone, you can find millions of photographs posted with hashtags like #streetphotographers, #ig_street, #capturestreets, #storyofthestreet, or #everybodystreet. As the street photography community grows, new voices enter the fold, and fresh ideas continue to emerge.
We asked six outstanding photographers to tell us some of their favorite stories from the street. Below, they take us on an adventure around the world, through Istanbul, Armenia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, and Tanzania. Throughout, they also share the useful tricks of the trade they’ve picked up along the way. Read on to learn more about capturing those fleeting, serendipitous moments that make street photography so special.
1. “The perfect moment could be gone in a second, so you must shoot quickly.”
Image by Elena Ermakova. Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens. Settings: Focal length 70mm; exposure 1.3 sec; f11; ISO 320.
What’s the story behind this photo?
I was going to shoot one of the most important Chiang Mai temples, Wat Phra Singh, at dusk. But the weather was awful for shooting: it was cloudy and rainy. The lighting was bad, and the raindrops were ruining everything. While I was hiding from the rain under a roof, I noticed a lonely monk walking across the temple grounds. His figure became a perfect spot of interest, and a long exposure added the dynamic of movement.