From a general point of view we encompasses in street photography:
(1) the photograph about urban landscapes or street elements, such as buildings, textures of facades, architecture, urban signage, etc.
(2) the humanist, the most representative aspect focuses on scenes of life; crowds, private moments, moments of everyday life... This category includes the biggest names of the pioneers of street photography: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Izis, Willy Ronis, Vivian Maier, Robert Doisneau, to name a few.
For Henri Cartier Bresson, is put online, head, eye, heart and capture the decisive moment. But for all, the goal remains the same; street photography is to get a look at society through shots that could seem trite, to document, to tell a part of history. It's the personal perspective on our humanity. From this point of view, street photography is a small cousin of Photojournalism.
The first is to buy good shoes, then learn to not use them to "stand and wait". " Finally, it is a question of attitude: to photograph the streets be "stealth" and "positive"!
Stealth, by your body language and your behavior: the street photographer must pass unnoticed, better still: it must be forgotten.
Sudden movements, the endless frames, are obviously banned. Be natural, comfortable in your movements, anonymous in how act and you will become invisible. I have a 5D housing that is not really discreet and works most of the time with the 24mm, one or two meters far from my target in 95% of cases and yet the trigger goes unnoticed.
Positive in your attitude: you respect and empathy with your subject.

If when you photograph someone you feel like violating his privacy, the individual will notice and feel assaulted. However, if you don't hide and shoot everything, smiling and having fun, people all around you will feel it, and the 5% that will notice you are shooting them will say it with a smile.

Well, you are stealthy and positive ;) Here you are in the street with a focal length between 24 and 85 mm, ideally 35. Even if the temptation of the shy is to work remotely with a zoom, using a wide angle will give your images the impression of being in action.
Your settings should be almost ready: in Hyperfocal and a fast shutter speed to freeze the moment or a break at 1/30 sec to give lines of movement on pedestrians, etc. The moment you seek for will be fast gone and you won't have the time to focus, adjust the light and compose your frame.
The best is to anticipate, so don't turn into a hysterical walker, observe quietly, trying to guess what might happen. Take the time to get closer to your subject to make the image more readable and obvious. "street photography" is hunting?

(1) to the approach
It is probably the most difficult but the most captivating; you simply walk and observe, watch, or anticipate the moment might happen and be fast enough to grab it when it's there. Often you return empty-handed, but when rare moments or expressive scenes of life occur... In less than a second, pick the angle and fire!

(2) on the lookout
Have you spotted a particularly graphic urban landscape, a poster that would lend itself to... Your publication is ready; you just wait for the (character (s) in line with your context. It's probably easier but with a notorious drawback for the street photographer practicing the snapshot: it takes time and patience.

(3) hunting with hounds
In this case, the character does the action: be it tapered legs of a pretty girl or the unlikely look of a passer-by, you have identified your subject and must then follow him until he does a narrative action or wait for him to pass near a photogenic backdrop.

Finally, as for hunting, you will also manage the frustration of possibly return with an empty wallet. Unfortunately, magic moments cannot be ordered and even if you come across, there is no guarantee that you will be able to catch them.


In France, (and many other countries) with the exception of crowds images, you are not allowed to broadcast pictures of an individual without his consent. Otherwise nothing forbids you to photograph people in public places but the private spaces (garden, subway, car…) are still banned. In practice, is the freedom of artistic expression more important than the right to a personal image? If it is not commercial, artistic, not degrading to the person photographed, judges tend to think so. However, if a person specifically asks you to delete the photo that you did, do it.