7 Steps to Improve Street Photography – Step 1: Have a Plan

Hello. It’s been a while, but the blog is back. And to mark the occasion, I thought I’d start with a little series – how to improve your street photography.

So what do I know about street photography? And why should you even listen to my advice? Well, all I can do is draw on my own experience over the past few years of shooting street on a regular basis. When I think about my shooting style just a couple of years ago – compared to now – I feel that I’ve moved on a long way. Maybe what has worked for me will work for you too.

And this is what my ‘7 steps’ series is all about. I won’t go into technical detail too much, but I will concentrate on changes to overall approach that have, for me, resulted in improving my street photography. And not only that, but have also resulted in more enjoyable – and far more productive – street photography sessions.

So, step 1: Have a Plan!

Sure, it’s easy to get up and simply go – but for better street photography still, it helps to have a solid idea about what photographs you’re looking to take.

This could be photographing at a certain location, or concentrating on a particular type of shot – reflections, shop windows at night, motion using a slow shutter speed – anything really. Like in many areas of life, it’s helpful to have a target to aim towards as opposed to simply drifting and hoping. Setting a target gives you the drive to get somewhere, instead of aimlessly wandering.

But it’s just as important to be flexible with our plans as well. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve stumbled upon the best shot of the day quite unexpectedly. I could have spent half my afternoon in some grand location or other, and when I get home I realise my best shot was taken in front of a parked bus in a nondescript back road I passed through on the way. So whilst ‘having a plan’ is today’s food for thought, keeping an open mind is still a central part of those plans.

The shot below was taken because I’d set myself a challenge in relation to the ‘rule of thirds’. I wanted to take photographs that disobeyed this rule and were still effective – and if I hadn’t been thinking along those lines, I probably would never have taken this photograph. At least, not in the style you see it now. I still remember this day’s shooting, even though it was more than a year ago now – and it was all because I set myself a very specific objective for the day, that made me think a little bit differently than usual.

Street Photography by Chris Silk

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