3 Ways To Improve Your Street Photography

Street photography is almost a sport to some photographers, picking out the right moments with the sun light just so and with the right amount of emotion. It’s a fun challenge for sure. But how can you use these elements and how to look for them?

Read on and I’ll give you 3 sure fire ways to improve your street photography.

Finding Opposites

Ying and Yang, Up and Down, all are opposite and always used in the same sentence and street photography is no different when it comes to people.

So the objective or brief here is to look for something which contradicts the other, in the image below you will see the man asleep obviously enjoying his little sleep while the hassle and bustle of New York goes on around him during rush hour. While in the background the grumpy sad faces of commuters in the summer heat getting the trample on their mood.

Such a great moment to photograph and capture.

I love looking for this kind of thing and it really brings in a story all of its own.

Another way to look at the “opposite” edge is don’t ‘just’ focus on people add the environment too, start looking for things that offer reflective surfaces bouncing back the image your looking at for example.

Improve Your Street Photography

Seasonal Peaks

New York has some very distinct seasons, the winter is always cold and snow like, the summer brings blistering heat. Using these seasons to capture and photograph life as it happens feels like a moving target, it’s always changing. Don’t be afraid to take the camera out when super cold for example, just bundle up and know your limits. The streets are normally empty with little or no traffic when snow storms hit and the aftermath is awesome.

The photograph below made it feel like it was one mans war with snow and he was heading off to shovel all of it single handed. I restrained myself from turn this back and white too, as I enjoyed the way the man popped against the background and nasty weather that preceded him.

The second picture is the blustery feel of spring as two ladies enjoy the feel of the wind during a “catch up” at Coney island, complete with laughter and fun emotions.


Improve Your Street Photography
Improve Your Street Photography


Finding natural light to hit as a certain time of day is very rewarding. May be the light only hits a few hours a day in that spot that draws out the highlight you want to show some interest in a passage or alley in a bust city center or off the beaten path.

You may need some research and quite a few visits before you get it right, but the experience will get you looking for these situations wherever you are.

I was in Innsbruck, Austria and found this alleyway with the light at the end of the pathway creating a feeling on curiosity. The light really made the color of the houses pop too. While there are no people in this shot and we could argue about what is and isn’t street photography, you could apply this lighting rule to almost any situation with people in shot.

Improve Your Street Photography

You can read more about how to improve your street photography in my book Creative Photography : The Professional Edge available worldwide.


  • Newman Zee
    Posted February 22, 2020

    nice article ! would you recommend a camera and lens ?

    • Dan M Lee
      Posted March 7, 2020

      I think any prime 20mm to 35mm lens is perfect, camera doesn’t really matter as long as you know how to use it 🙂

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