Hello aspiring street photographer. I’ve noticed there are so many blogs with tips on street photography while you’re already out shooting. Instead, let me share my experiences, (bias) opinion, and advice before you even hit up the streets.
Do your research
Research the location you’ll be shooting in. What’s the environment like? Is it a residential area? Low income, high income population? Tourist, locals, or both? Does the area have a reputation for being a rough part of town. These are questions you’ll need to ask yourself before heading to out. You’ll need to prepare yourself mentally if you know you’re going into an area where your chances of getting mugged or stink eye. Your social skills and how you communicate with others may play a higher factor in these areas. Being able to blend in with the community takes a certain person and specific skills.
Research the forecast of the day. Is it going to be sunny. Overcast, rainy, or all of the above. Mother nature can be unpredictable at times, so you may need to pack an umbrella or a sweater. The weather will affect your shooting for the day and how long you intend on staying out.
Research if there’s restaurants or bathrooms. If you’re out shooting for an entire day, I can assure you that you’ll need to use the restroom a few times, and you’ll want to take a break and grab a bite to re-energize.
If you’re going to shoot in a touristy area, there will probably be a lot of restaurants, hotels, and public parks with available restrooms. Now if you were shooting in a more residential area, public restrooms will probably be scarce and restaurants may be miles apart. ***You can always knock on someone’s door and ask if you can use their restroom and have a quick bite.
2. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes
Whether you’ll only be out shooting for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, or 10 hours, it helps to have a nice pair of shoes. You don’t want your feet to slow you down or stress you out while you’re shooting. And you definitely don’t want soreness after your adventure.
Similar to having comfortable shoes, you’ll have to have a meal before you head out. Sometimes the only available times I have to shoot within the week is during my lunch break. A lot of times I go hungry (saving money, cut back on calories) before shooting which I highly don’t recommend. I’ve learned my lesson on many unsuccessful photowalks during my lunchbreak. HAVE A MEAL! Eat SOMETHING!
It’s like going to the gym on an empty stomach…you need food as a source of energy to carry you through the workout process or in this case photowalk. Also, you want to keep any stresses to a minimal when you’re out shooting.
4. Forget about your daily duties and stresses
You don’t want to think about your chores, bills, debt, or what you need to finish up at work while on your photo-walk. Put those thoughts on the side and just zone out. Be in the moment in your photo-walk location and absorb all that’s around you. Look up, look down, look down 20-30 feet and anticipate what’s to come. Street photography is my therapy or meditative tool to get away from my reality and create my own illusion through images.
5. Last but not least…pack as lightly as possible
Stop bringing more than one camera (unless you’re traveling abroad). Do not bring more than one lens! Keep it simple. All the extra gear will weigh on you, having more options such as a wide lens, a tele-photo lens on hand doesn’t give you more options. It gives you more stress. You shoot street photography to be stress free right?
Again, these tips are from my own experience and my own opinion. I hope you found these tips insightful. Keep shooting.