How to start Street Photography

Taking photos with a smartphone is like Nespresso. It’s okay, looks like espresso and has caffeine. Photos with a smartphone are mostly, well -okay-ish photos and are practical and easy to take.

But like a real Italian espresso machine, taking photos with a real camera is more fun and the results are more satisfying in the long run.

In this video, you’ll learn how to get started in the world of street photography with a “real” camera. 

And you’ll find out more, for example why you can save yourself feedback on street photography from „certain“ people. And the  – in my opinion – best 5 books about Street Photography for your book shelf.


Welcome to „How to start Street Photography“

At first, you need a camera. I know, it sounds a bit dull, but you want me to talk facts in this video, right?   So – If you want a “real” camera instead of a smartphone – I think that’s a good decision! 

I would recommend to buy a cheap, older camera first, for example the Sony RX100 Mark2 – if you sell it after a few weeks or so, it’s not a big loss.

If you sell a new, more expensive camera – even after just a short period of use – you can expect a loss of 20 – 30 percent compared to the original price.

Or you can invest in a very specific camera that is currently in extremely high demand, such as the Leica Q3 or the Fuji x100vi, where you can assume that you will still be able to sell it on at a good price.

In any case, it should be a small, inconspicuous camera that you can always carry in your pocket to be ready to shoot. 

And to put it back into your pocket, if you don’t want others to see that you are walking around with a camera, for example in less safer areas.

Then off you go:

Shoot in automatic mode at the beginning. 

The goal is to learn to get over yourself to take photos in public and get closer to strangers.

It’s not about results, it’s all about practice when you start doing street photography.

The great photographers started just like you and then stuck with it for years, so don’t compare yourself to other photographers who have been practicing for so long! Instead, compare your photos today to the photos you’ve made 3 months ago and be happy about the progress you’ve made.

Be aware that becoming a good photographer takes time.

Visit photo exhibitions, once every week, most cities have dozens of interesting exhibitions by amazing photographers. Have the courage to have a small chat with the photographer during the opening event of the exhibition., if he or she is there.

Ask them how they took a photo you find interesting, which camera they used and what their general approach to photography is.

Or write to him or her via Instagram, most of them are happy when you give them positive feedback about the exhibition and don’t mind if you ask them questions. 

Exhibitions inspire much more than scrolling through Instagram – you’ll see, when you come out of the exhibition you’ll just want to start taking photos! So don’t forget your camera.

Get some photo books, browse through them regularly, try to recreate the photos you like. What you see here are my top 5 recommendations when it comes to great Street Photography. Try to learn certain thing by studying them, for example, about the art of layering, composition or how to create beautiful minimalist black and white photographs. 

Don’t be discouraged by the results and give yourself time. All great photographers started out by copying their idols an made really bad photos in the beginning. Tons of bad photos, when I think of me some years ago. If you have just one photo in the first months you are proud of, that’s a great success.

Try to go photographing at least once a week and set yourself a small task each week. For example “Photographing at a street food market” 

“A day photographing in black and white” or 

“Photographing in the subway while commuting” 

– this way you will quickly realize what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy about street photography.

Once you feel confident taking photos on the street with your camera, try to move away from automatic mode and shoot with aperture priority or completely manually.

This is the only way you really improve your skills and achieve in most cases better results than the camera in automatic mode.

Maybe now it’s also time for a higher-end camera if you started with a cheap one – for me the 3 best cameras for street photography are still the Ricoh GR3, the Fuji x100 series and the Leica Q3. If you buy one of these cameras, you can’t go wrong.

But street photography is not about gear, it’s about people and interacting.

So – Meet up with other photographers who may already have more experience than you. This gives you the opportunity to learn and by linking photography to positive social contacts, you have further motivation to continue doing this beautiful thing called street photography.

Ask these photographers for their opinion on your photographs. 

You’ll usually get more helpful criticism from other photographers than from your family or close friends – simply because your loved ones want to be nice, but don’t know anything about photography.

It could also be the opposite case i´ve once heard of: the wife thinks that the husband spends too much time on photography and doesn’t care enough about her and therefore wants to talk him out of his passion.

So get feedback from experienced photographers, this could also be at a street photography workshop – I am offering street photography coaching in Munich from time to time, by the way – where you can learn a lot of new things in a short periods of time and improve your ability to take good photos on the street.

I’m sure that if you take all these steps, you’ll soon see your good success. See you in the next video!

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