Street photography is one of those practices that is very tough to get right technically at first. Everything happens so quickly, hand-eye coordination is so important, and of course, there’s the fear involved in capturing people in candid moments without their approval. While it may seem like you just have to wait for the right moments to occur and get lucky, the reality is very far from that.
Gaining the confidence to take photos of strangers is something you’ll have to find within yourself, but in this tutorial you will find the best camera settings to give you every advantage you need when you’re out on the city streets. Here is how I approach my camera settings so I can about them and shoot.
The first step
The first step always involves the light. You cannot figure out how to set your camera if you don’t first understand the light. How strong is the light? Is it a sunny day or a cloudy day? Is it evening? Are you in New York where tall buildings will create dark shadows no matter how bright it is or are you in an area with much smaller structures? Get in the habit of looking at the light when you first walk out to shoot and don’t stop noticing it.
A couple quick thoughts
To freeze motion in people, I like to use 1/250th of a second as a base number for the shutter speed. That number or faster and there will be no motion blur in people. You can go down to 1/160th or 1/125th at dusk or night if you need to and you should be okay, but slower than that and you risk motion blur (unless you want motion blur of course).