Street photography is photography conducted for art that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. "The (street) photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world picturesque..." (acc. to Susan Sontag). Framing and timing can be key aspects of the craft with the aim of some street photography being to create images at a decisive or poignant moment.
Street photography does focus on people and their behavior in public. This motivation entails having also to navigate or negotiate changing expectations and laws of privacy, security and property. In this respect the street photographer is similar to social documentary photographers or photojournalists who also work in public places, but with the aim of capturing newsworthy events.
There are two different types of street portraits, (i) interactive (aka "posed") street portraits, and (ii) so-called candid (aka "natural") street portraits (read more: Making Decisions in Tamil Nadu). Both types of street portraiture are interesting in my opinion and can produce awesome results. However, I prefer interactive street portraits.
Some ideas for shooting interactive street portraits:
- Find adequate background and good lighting.
- Be selective and be patient.
- Be yourself and be congruent.
- Get involved, build rapport and talk to people.
- Get consent for both (i) the image and (ii) the internet.
- Stay with the subject matter.
- Look for contrasts and contradictions.
- Take simple photographs.
- Vary views and angles.
- Get in closer.
- Make the subject feel comfortable.
- Reduce camera shake and shoot 1/250s or shorter.
- Shoot in aperture-priority mode or in manual mode.
- Use single-point auto focus and aim on the eye which is closest to you.
- Offer your email address and the URL of your website.
Anyway, street photographers who take candid photographs are fair game; candid photographs of them are the exceptions that proves my rule of taking interactive aka posed street portraits...
More portrait photographs with complete exif data, geotags and other specs in Matt Hahnewald's
Recommended books for street photographers: