It’s a law of physics that the act of observing something changes it, which makes the key to street photos the ability to be unseen – great photojournalism comes from blending seamlessly into your surroundings and capturing scenes of life unaware, without altering the situation by your presence. With this in mind, there has never been a camera so conducive for street photographers as the cell phone. With practice, you can use it to take street pictures without your subjects knowing; with a good poker face, anyone who might look at you would think you’re innocently texting or playing a game. To achieve such an inconspicuous profile, and to get great street shots, these are a few simple street photography tips to keep in mind.
Step 1. Turn your shutter sound off.
This option will be in your settings, and will keep you from drawing attention to yourself with a camera click.
Step 2. Set your scene mode to “sports” and increase the ISO.
This will give you the fastest shutter speed possible for quicker hand motions without blur. Of course, if you’re using a manually-controlled camera, you’d probably use shutter-priority mode at a fast shutter speed.
Step 3. Be quick.
Don’t linger with your phone pointed at someone. Frame it, snap it, move on. Be mobile and light on your feet.
Step 4. Stay out of the way.
Keep to walls, corners, and other immovable objects where you won’t find yourself getting in anyone’s way. Tripping passers-by is a great way to call attention to yourself.
Step 5. Don’t look at your subjects for more than a glance.
Everyone has felt that odd sensation when someone is staring at them. Even if they don’t look around or see you, you may still influence their behaviour.
Step 6. Use your peripheral vision.
Practice observing out of the corners of your eyes, without fixing your focus on what you’re watching.
Step 7. Hold your phone low.
With a hand on either edge and your thumbs in front, you can have complete camera control and steadiness while pretending to play Fruit Ninja. Don’t bring the phone way up in front of your face to take a shot – take it from down lower; this will also provide you with a more interesting angle.
Step 8. Wait for the right shot.
There’s nothing wrong with sitting a while and waiting for something to happen; they say if you sit still long enough, the whole world will pass by you. If something interesting is starting to happen, sit back with your camera ready and take the perfect shot when you see it.
Step 9. Try black and white mode.
Urban photography has traditionally been a black-and-white art. There are a few reasons for this; because you can’t use flash, high ISOs are necessary and monochrome renders grain and noise with a gritty look, instead of just looking low-quality. On top of that, black-and-white takes the viewer out of the everyday. If you see a coloured street photo, it might seem too familiar, and lack true intrigue. When you turn an image greyscale, the light, forms, and textures are accentuated and it’s easier for the viewer to appreciate the photo’s unique qualities.
Step 10. Enhance the images in PicsArt.
If you don’t shoot in monochrome in-camera, you can always make the change in post-processing using the PicsArt editing app. Alternatively, you can add any number of artistic filters. Play with the brightness and contrast to deepen shadows or bring up highlights for a more dramatic effect. Consider adding film negative edges for that classic look, or experiment with a vignette. Then, upload them to the PicsArt community so we can all appreciate your creation!