2. Use a lightweight prime lens
What about lenses? My personal favorite is a small prime lens. As well as being light and compact, lenses of this type tend to have a very fast maximum aperture so they let in lots of light and give you control over how much of your image appears in sharp focus. If you’re new to street photography it may seem more intuitive to pick a zoom lens. However, in this fast moving genre, too much choice can actually slow you down as you try to figure out which focal length to use.
Talking of focal lengths, I would suggest starting off with a 50mm prime. You can buy a basic 50mm f1.8 prime pretty cheaply – even more so if you pick one up second hand. The 50mm lens’s field of view is similar to what we see with our own eyes so it will feel natural to use. Its focal length will also give you options to get up close and personal with people or to take a wider view and include some of the backgrounds. Another classic focal length for street photography is 35mm, although this will require you to get closer to your subject and that may seem a little too scary if you’re taking your first steps! It may seem tempting to pick a longer focal length if you’re just starting out. However, this means you’ll be photographing people from further away and it can make your pictures feel less intimate and more detached.
3. Blend in
If you’re new to street photography and are feeling nervous, a good place to start is to shoot somewhere touristy. This means there will be lots of other people around with cameras and you will feel less self-conscious. If you’re surrounded by tourists, a good strategy is to try and blend in. Carrying a bulky camera bag, with loads of heavy gear will immediately mark you out as a serious photographer and make people more aware of your presence. Try using just a small bag, or simply sling the camera over your shoulder on a strap and pop a spare battery in your pocket. If you want to go for the full tourist look, you can always wear a baseball cap and sunglasses!
So you’ve got the look – now you need the techniques…