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Some Tips on Taking Street Snap Shots

For years, I have gone from here to there on foot, with a camera on my hand, collecting stories of everyday happenstance. Here are some lessons the streets have taught me.

In my three years of shooting in analogue, it is not uncommon to find myself on the streets, taking photos of just about everything. Much like most of us, I feel inadequate going without bringing a camera or two. In retrospect, I wish to share some of the things the streets have taught me about taking snap shots.

Be a keen observant. With all the hustle and bustle of our city streets, it is easy to get lost in all the craziness. It is important that you are able to take some time to slow down and see the world as it passes by. You’d never know; an interesting subject may have been under your nose all along.

Look up and look down. When we walk, we usually have our heads fixed at eye level. From time to time, it is good to change perspective. Tilt your head upwards and downwards, and you’ll see what I mean.

Document cultural peculiarities. In today’s world, we inevitably communicate to an international audience. So put some special attention on the things that are unique about your culture; a mode of transportation, street foods, or unusual celebrations. I am sure people from other countries are curious about places they have never been to.

Be Bold. Do not let minor setbacks, such as a gloomy weather stop you from going out for a shoot. Some of the more interesting things to capture are present during unusual days.

Imagine what other people might be thinking. Look at the people around you. What are they thinking? What are their stories? Are they in despair? Are they excited? Surprised? Capture these fascinating emotions.

Get inspiration from old photos of your city. Try to search for old photos of your city, and create your own version of it. Put them side by side, and amaze yourself of how much has changes, and how much remained the same.

Walk back to where you came from. When you are walking on the streets, you only see half of the story, as you are facing only in one direction. After reaching a certain point, walk back to where you came from and see the other half you just missed. Truly, going west is so much different from going east. The same goes for North and South.

Take photos of those which will be gone soon. Nothing lasts forever. Every day, buildings are leveled, streets are paved anew, and bridges are replaced. After that, things will never be the same again. If you know that an old house is up for demolition, pay special attention to it; so that you can immortalize them in your photographs.

How about you? What lessons have the streets taught you?

written by renenob

25 comments

  1. kamiraze

    kamiraze

    Excellent article! You've written in the style I think :P
    I recently made a night shoot of a street that is getting some major changes. I hope to be able to shoot the differences and show my friends who live in that street the pictures after 5 years. they will have forgotten what it looked like :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. maxwellmaxen

    maxwellmaxen

    great tips! makes my "already shot everything"-city worth a few rolls more :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. susielomovitz

    susielomovitz

    Love all these tips!!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. nural

    nural

    Amazing article!!! Indeep great tips!!! I hope I can take this to practice!!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. willyboy

    willyboy

    Great article. Simple yet effective tips and some good photos to boot. If I had a big boot I'd give you one as a reward. Alas, I have tiny feet.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. eukanooba

    eukanooba

    saludo ako syo tol. mlpit lng me nkatira dyan quiapo/escolta pero hnd me nangahas magdala ng camera dyan. mdami holdaper/snatcher dyan.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. awesomesther

    awesomesther

    this is a GREAT article, and I love that photo of the couple (?) through the bus window !! It's epic. :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. renenob

    renenob

    Wow! I am overwhelmed by your appreciation! Thank you!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. raniedib

    damn fine article sir. :) It's easier for me to take street photos using analog cams because they are none obtrusive compared to SLRs. Tamang tama mga payo mo. :)
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. myloft

    myloft

    great insight and tips for the lomo learning community, i'm finding this super useful and will try some of your tips the next time i shoot!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. jadebriony

    thanks for the great tips! I shall definately take these into consideration next time i'm walking the streets.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. bravopires

    bravopires

    great article and great shots!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. cfib

    cfib

    wow... great photos & great article!
    My opinion is... some kinds of modern buildings make cities look all the same... its the run-down, old, abandoned buildings and places which make the difference... at least here in vienna I expierence it like this

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. illestb666

    illestb666

    awesome article! i find myself doing the same thing when i travel or even in my home town. people tend to forget to open their eyes and actually LOOK at what's around you.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. nigelk

    nigelk

    Fantastic advice!!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. deepfried_goodness

    deepfried_goodness

    A very good read.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. icuresick

    icuresick

    Very great Tips! Hindi ko naisip yung East-West chorva! Pag pabalik kasi madalas pagod na or ubos na ang films! hehe

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. renenob

    renenob

    @erik - pwede ka namang lumingon na lang from time to time, hehe!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. icuresick

    icuresick

    Kaso parang iba parin pag naglakad pabalik. Na-try ko kaya yung tumatalikod lang, kaso nagpapanic ako kasi nawawala bigla ang mga kasama ko hahaha

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. olive-tea

    olive-tea

    well written, i'll try to keep these tips in mind next time i shoot :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  21. j0any

    j0any

    I <3 this article! Na-miss ko tuloy ang Cebu.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  22. sayekerink

    sayekerink

    Thanks for the tips! Will apply it soon. Can't wait!! hehe ;]

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  23. icuresick

    icuresick

    Grabe! Andaming likes tapos may mga translations pa :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  24. renenob

    renenob

    Thank you for those who translated my article! Gracias!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  25. sreaser

    Fantastic! Thank you for your pictures and insights.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: ภาษาไทย, Spanish, Deutsch & 日本語.