A Cowards Guide to Street Photography

1. Go to a place where everyone has a camera
If you go to a popular tourist attraction or public event then you will probably stick out if you DON’T have a camera – this is the perfect environment for candid people shots as no one is really taking any notice of exactly what (or who) you are taking photos of.

2. Line up your Shot and wait for Someone to Walk into the Frame
Sometimes you can see the perfect shot in your minds eye, in which case simply set up your camera with the focus in the right place and wait for somebody to walk into the frame. It doesn’t even matter too much if they notice you as they will instantly think they have ruined your photo and may even apologise to YOU.

3. Backs of Heads
This is a great way of getting people shots without anyone noticing and can often tell just as poignant a story as if it had been shot face-on.

4. From Above
If you can get above the people you want to photograph there’s a very good chance they’ll never spot you – not many people look upwards unless they really have to. The angle may not always be ideal as you are not likely to see any faces but it’s a good way to practice.

5. Look for People Engrossed in an Activity
If your biggest fear is being spotted and challenged when engaging in street photography then seek out people who are way too engrossed in a particular activity to care about nervous photographers.

6. From a Car Window
Sat in a car you are often at the perfect height to get shots of peoples faces – plus having the locks on the doors and an accelerator gives you a bit more confidence! Be safe, you will need someone else to do the driving here.

7. Use a Small/Unobtrusive Camera
You will find you are less obvious or intimidating if you use a small point-and-shoot type camera, or even a camera-phone – you can have this ready to go in your pocket and whip it out at the last minute.

8. Shoot from the Hip
Eye-contact can be a powerful thing and pointing your camera at somebody’s face will only heighten the effect. If your gaze is directed downwards, the removal of eye-contact means taking candid photographs becomes much easier – cameras with a tiltable viewfinder are perfect for this. Alternatively, hold your camera at hip level, pop the auto-focus on and point and shoot – you can get great results this way but you will need a certain amount of luck, too.

9. Use a Stooge
If you have a little time to compose your shot, you can get an ‘accomplice’ to position themselves near your intended subject and get them to strike a pose – start out by pointing your camera at them, then deviate slightly to capture your intended subject.

10. Ask. Oh, and Smile
Sometimes you have to forgo the candid nature of the shot and simply ask if you can take someones photo – try to quickly and truthfully explain why you want the photo too. 

However you take your photos, remember to smile to turn a potentially awkward situation into something much more pleasant.

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