The best street photography ideas for your next photoshoot.
Are you an aspiring or experienced photographer running dry on street photography ideas? It’s normal for photographers to run into a creative block of ideas for their next photography session from time to time.
Some street photography ideas may work better for you than others. There are many ideas to keep in mind, such as long exposure street photography and flash street photography.
Keep reading for a wide range of street photography ideas that you’ll want to consider trying out.
Creative street photography.
Creative street photography is a form of art that uses photography to capture the people, places, and things in the world around us. This type of photography aims not to take pictures that look like they came straight out of a magazine or other popular media outlet.
Instead, creative street photographers try to capture fascinating but still natural images.
Long exposure street photography.
With creative street photography, a lot of the time, photos are taken without subjects even realizing it. Longer focal lengths allow you to get shots that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without subjects seeing you there.
Here are some ideas for long-exposure street photography:
Shadows and reflections of uniquely shaped objects or people are another excellent idea for long-exposure street photography.
Using a timer is also highly recommended so that you don’t have to worry about placing your hands on the camera once the moment comes to take the right shot. Having a timer will also reduce the chances of any blurriness occurring.
Taking shots of people working is a great way to capture professionalism in motion.
As mentioned, longer focal lengths let you get closer to subjects, which results in more candid shots.
This idea works very well in crowds. With a long exposure, you’ll also get a nice blur on the background of your images, and this is a helpful way to have your subject stand out from the rest of the crowd. When taking long exposures, a solid and sturdy tripod will help ensure your camera remains steady for the duration of the shots.
This concept also works exceptionally well for busy background street photography. A suitable example of this is some of the street photography taken at Times Square in New York.
Take your shots at night.
Long-exposure street photography works well at night. Highly lit buildings like cafes and restaurants make for great backdrops when captured with long exposures, and the lights blur into the rest of the photos.
Black and white shots.
Taking black-and-white shots is an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing. Doing so allows you to go back to the basics while focusing more on lighting and your subject.
Motion blur street photography.
Motion blur street photography is a technique that dates back to the early days of photography. It’s beneficial in showing movement, and that’s why getting to the street is a great setting for this type of photography.
Capture cars driving.
Hitting the streets at night and capturing cars moving is a great way to capture the energy that motion blur photography can offer. Robert Frank is a Swiss photographer that used motion blur in his photography to create this type of energetic feel.
Another excellent idea for motion blur street photography is to use it when walking through crowds in a street or subway station. More people in the crowd create a feeling of cohesion instead of just people walking separately throughout their day.
With motion blur street photography, it doesn’t matter how fast a cyclist moves; the motion blur will make them seem like they are moving faster than they really are. This idea emphasizes the cyclist’s motion in the photo instead of the environment around them.
If you’re wandering the streets looking for subjects to photograph, consider heading to a busy area where street performers typically stick around. Motion blur street photography of someone playing the violin or guitar can instill a lot of emotion in photos, and the blur patterns can add a unique touch.
Focus on architecture.
Using architecture as the focal point of your photos in a busy street is a great way to utilize motion blur street photography. The motion of people and vehicles will be blurred, while the building will remain focused. To really highlight the motion blur, be sure to use a tripod so the buildings remain crisp even with a slightly longer exposure.
Neon night street photography.
Neon night street photography can be a fun way to throw extra color and flare into your pictures. This type of photograph focuses on neon lights.
Here are some ideas on how you can do that:
Street art and graffiti are just as much a part of the cityscape as buildings and signs. They’re also an excellent way to add color and interest to your photos. Look for murals, graffiti tags, neon lettering, or anything else that stands out from the background.
Neon night street photography should always focus intensely on the light source above anything else. Car headlights are a popular source of light for this type of photography. This type of shot can also be combined with motion blur street photography to create some stunning imagery.
During the nighttime hours, business districts tend to get a little quieter. At this point, you can head to those areas and take some unique neon night street photography of bars or nightclubs while simultaneously capturing people walking in or out of them.
Neon night street photography is nothing without photos of bright, neon-lit signage. Finding the right sign with the right colors can be a daunting task, and it’s worth mentioning that good editing in post-processing can make these types of photos shine.
Streets after a rainfall.
Neon lights can make a bold statement when they reflect off wet streets after heavy rainfall at night. While it might take patience to get a shot like this, it will undoubtedly land in your portfolio or showreel.
Flash street photography.
Flash street photography is a style of photography that uses flash to illuminate the subject. The photographer may use flash in low light conditions or outdoors when there is insufficient natural light to capture the scene.
Night shots stand out with flash street photography, and it’s much easier to blend in with the rest of the crowd when it’s dark out. While a tripod might work for some situations, it’s usually easier to get your shots with a handheld.
Certain textures can look distinctive with flash street photography. You might want to focus on mirrors, objects with irregular shapes or patterns, or someone standing in a bus station with precipitation or fog on the glass. Shots of broken glass also work well.
With flash street photography to fill in the shadows, you don’t have to rely much on the available light. For that reason, getting some stunning sunset and blue hour photos of people playing with their dogs, walking along the beach, or enjoying sports can be a little easier. Play with your exposure and the amount of fill-flash to capture the available light without overexposing your subjects.
Flash street photography works very well during the day in shaded streets. One reason for this is that most people aren’t alerted when a flash goes off during daytime hours compared to night hours.
If someone is standing in a shaded street in the middle of the day, the flash can add some additional pop to the photo.
Taking photos of still subjects might be a little more challenging with flash street photography at night. But during the day, you’ll have a better chance of capturing these photos in the street. Consider heading to bus stations where people are waiting around or capturing people who are trying to get a taxi.
Low key street photography.
Low key street photography is a style of photography that is often associated with the art movement known as “New Objectivity.” It’s characterized by a dark, moody feel that emphasizes the contrast between light and shadow.
Some great ideas for low key street photography include:
Taking shots of people communicating is a valuable way of conveying the relationship between two or more people.
Because a lot of street photography involves taking photos without people realizing it, consider shooting from the hip or using an 85mm lens or longer so as to remain unobtrusive. Take your time composing the image to make the most of the light and shadows.
Some of the best subjects for low key street photography stick out a little more prominently from the rest of the environment. Low key street photography photos of skateboarders or people that look like they’re having fun always turn out to be memorable.
Potted or wild flowers tend to be great subjects for low key street photography, and even more if they have a shadow lingering behind them. Flower pots are ideal because they instantly draw attention to them, and with the lower contrast, everything else in the scene will be darker.
Older, vintage vehicles make for great subjects if you’re trying to create the illusion of history or significance. While it might take some time to find the right one, it’ll be a shot that you won’t regret spending the time to get.
Taking low key street photography shots of two people drinking warm beverages outside might be a tricky one to get without them knowing, but if you manage, the results are spectacular. The focal point in these shots is usually the steam trickling off the beverage, which can create an overall feeling of warmth and comfort.
Any type of photo involving water splashing or trickling in a street can create a fascinating reflection that instantly captures the viewers’ attention. This type of low key street photography works best just after rainfall. It also works if you can find a fountain in a street.
High key street photography.
High key photography means that the image is lit with almost white light and has no shadows. This results in an image that is soft, dreamy, and has minimal shade.
Here are some high key street photography ideas:
Entering a street tunnel and taking a photo is a great way to accentuate the light at the end of the tunnel effect. This effect results in a photo with dim lighting on everything except the objects at the end of the tunnel where the light is.
Corner shops also make for some great ideas for high key street photography. Catching someone in action at a corner shop can give viewers a glimpse into the everyday lives of ordinary people. With the soft views of this photography technique, actions feel magnified.
Walking down sidewalks.
Simply capturing subjects walking down a street is another valuable idea for high key street photography. This works especially well if the subjects in the photo walk in the direction where the sun is shining.
If you can find a white backdrop on your street photography journeys, try capturing a subject in front of the backdrop. White backdrops are a great way to eliminate any lingering shadows that might otherwise be seen.
Go to the Park.
With high key photography, the brighter the day is, the better your chances are of capturing the shot. For this reason, parks are a good and open spot to take your photos due to the open atmosphere that allows the sun to shine in.
Night street photography.
Night street photography is the art of capturing city life at night. It’s a challenging and rewarding genre that requires a lot of patience, but if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing shots.
Night street photography is also known as urban night photography or urban landscape photography.
Night street photography is one of the most popular genres in the world of photography. It has a large and passionate fan base, and numerous websites, blogs, and forums are dedicated solely to night street photography.
The popularity of night street photography is understandable when you consider how much it differs from what most people think of as “traditional” photography.
Most people associate traditional photography with landscapes, nature shots, portraits, and other more or less stationary subjects. Night street photographers shoot moving objects in low light scenarios.
There are many different styles of night street photography, but most have the following three things in common:
- They use long exposures
- They focus on moving objects
- They capture cityscapes at night
Night street photography is a very different discipline from day street photography. There are various challenges and opportunities, so understanding their differences is essential.
The most significant difference is that you have to make your own light or move to areas with light. Street lights are relatively dim, so if you want to use them for light painting or other effects, you need to bring your own light source.
This sometimes means carrying around extra gear, but it also means you have more control over the lighting in your images — which is why some street photographers prefer night photography over day photography.
Another significant difference is that people are less likely to notice your camera at night. If you’re shooting during the day, everyone knows they have an audience, and they may act differently.
At night, not only do people not expect anyone around them, but many of them don’t even see you until they’re right next to you — which makes it easier to get shots without looking like a creep or creeping people out with your camera pointed their way.
But this also means that while there are fewer distractions during the day (like traffic), there are also fewer distractions at night (like people).
Street photography poses.
In street photography, you generally don’t have much control over where your subjects are going to be. This can make it challenging to get the exact shot you want. But it doesn’t mean you can’t work with what’s available.
There are various street photograph poses you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re out doing your work.
Street photography poses for males.
Street photography poses for males, or those identifying as a male, might take some patience while your subjects get into position. Consider these ideas while you’re snapping your shots:
The glance is a common street photography pose where you take a photo of someone who glances at you. This is a great way to approach people and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. It’s also one of the most candid street photography poses to do with kids.
Hands in pockets.
Another standard street photography pose for males is the hands in the pockets pose. Most males feel a tad awkward when their hands are just sitting restlessly by their sides. With the hands in their pockets, it gives them something to do and makes them appear more relaxed.
Leaning on something.
Another popular street photography pose is the male subject leaning on something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wall, a dumpster, or a food truck stand. The photo will appear more relaxed and comfortable when a male leans on something.
Street photography poses female.
While getting the right street photography poses for females or those who identify as female might take patience and exploration, you’ll know when you’ve found the right subjects to capture.
Here are a couple of ideas for street photography poses for females:
Capturing a pose of a woman sitting down somewhere along the street shouldn’t be too difficult. When a woman sits comfortably, the photo will also exhibit that comfort. Sometimes a nice element is capturing the photo of a woman sitting near a busy street.
Woman laying down.
Another useful idea for street photography is capturing images of women lying down. This might be a little more difficult to capture from a street photography perspective, but if you wander near a park on a warm, sunny day, you should be able to find a subject that will work.
Hands in the air.
The hands-in-the-air pose is one of those fun poses that instantly draws attention. It’s an easy pose to capture when it’s set up, but it might be a little more difficult to capture on the street. Consider heading to areas of the city where people might be watching a concert, attending a nearby parade, or waving down a friend.
Couple street photography.
Couple street photography is made a little easier if you head out to the busiest parts of the city where people are doing the most walking. You’ll also find your chances for couple street photography are better if you head closer to the parks or nice city landmarks that have a view.
Go where the music is. If you know of an area of the city where street music is regularly played with people dancing, that’s your opportunity to capture a shot of couples dancing. This type of photo can be full of motion and energy, or timeless and elegant.
Nothing shows romance more than a couple simply holding hands while walking together. Getting a shot like this without being noticed is a little tough to accomplish without being noticed, and using a handheld is recommended.
Looking at the stars.
Capturing a couple looking up at the stars is another difficult shot that might seem impossible to take without being noticed, but that’s what makes it so good. This is another shot with a soft and dreamy feel that seizes the essence of romance.
Street model photography.
Street model photography is a style of photography that involves taking photos of models in public places. It can be done with or without a professional-quality camera and lens, though many photographers use specialized equipment to help them capture their shots.
Street fashion photography poses.
Some street fashion photography poses work better than others, and you’ll want to keep these in mind.
Leaning forward on a chair.
Capturing a subject leaning forward on a chair shouldn’t be too tricky, but it’s a shot that can make a bold statement. You can capture the shot with the subject’s hands clasped together or with their elbow sitting on their leg for a more dramatic effect.
Head in hands.
The head in hands shot is another shot that often conveys a sense of sadness or despair. It’s a shot that hides the exact facial expressions of the subject subtly. For a more pronounced effect, try capturing various shots while the subject is shuffling around with their hands.
Hands on hips.
The hands on hips shot is a shot that can convey a sense of professionalism. It’s a widely used shot for people in business, but it’s also trendy throughout the fashion industry. The elbows pushed forward or backward can change the tone of the picture.
Poses that include any type of playing with the hair are considered very natural shots that highlight the features of a subject’s face very well. Subjects can also hold the hair in front of the face to create a more concealed effect.
Glancing over the shoulder.
The glancing over the shoulder shot is a shot that the majority of people have seen. Capturing this shot in the street works especially well if you can capture what the subject is glancing over at. Consider playing with close-ups (if you can get them) and long shots with this idea.
Having additional street photography ideas at your fingertips is a good way to overcome the creative block that can sometimes occur.
Consider trying out some of these ideas throughout your next street photography session.
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