Street photography doesn’t just mean urban – it’s as much an attitude and style as a location…
1) You’ll get more authentic results shooting from the heart of the action rather than from a distance with a conspicuous telephoto zoom, so go for a small, discreet wide-angle lens, such as the AF-S 24mm f/1.8G ED and f/1.4G ED, the AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G, AF 35mm f/2D, AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED, AF 28mm f/2.8D, AF-S 28mm f/1.8G and the glorious new AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED. A wide-angle’s sweeping field of view means you’re able to include more of the scene with it, too, making it less obvious if you are trying to capture someone without them realising, and it will also draw the viewer into the frame.
2) The golden rule of taking great pictures is to have your camera with you, which is another reason to use a small, compact lens – the easier it is to carry your camera around, the more likely you are to go out and about with it.
3) Be ready to shoot when the action happens, because it won’t wait for you. So you don’t have to waste valuable seconds fiddling with controls and menus when an interesting scene presents itself, keep your kit to hand, switched on and ready to use – battery fully charged, plenty of space on the memory card, lens cap off, ISO and shooting mode already set.
4) Try shooting from the hip; hold your camera at waist-height, tilt it upwards and press the shutter. It won’t look like you’re taking photographs, so people will tend to ignore you. Granted, your hit rate will be more like 5% than 50% with this method, but you’ll tend to achieve a more intimate feel, due to the lower shooting angle.
5) Take a different look at what’s going on around you. Change your shooting angles, try photographing early or late in the day for softer light, get close up to capture the text of walls, pavements, gardens, windows and perhaps create a more abstract image. Choose an intriguing backdrop, such as a graffitied wall or a bizarre shop-window display, then capture it with a single person in the frame. This approach works well when shooting from a distance, as it gives a sense of scale to the background; furthermore, juxtaposing people and their environment in an off-beat composition is a great way to convey a mood and get your viewers thinking.