It may for many come as a surprise but there’s a lot more to shooting street photography than just heading out with a camera and shoot.
Here’s a check-list of some of the things you ought to make sure you have before you head out.
1 – The right camera for street photography
It's often said the camera is just a tool or that the best camera is the one you use, etc...
Well my personal choice of camera for street photography is one that’s not too big as firstly it’ll be less intimidating to people I shoot and also after a few hours, any excess weight will be felt and your back and shoulders will suffer. For that purpose many photographers seem to favour mirrorless cameras for street photography such as Olympus' OMD, Fuji X100s, Sony A7, etc...
2 – The right camera strap
I didn’t think that mattered so much until I bought an “A7” leather camera strap. The leather is softer than a baby’s bottom, and they are wide so the weight of your camera won’t cut through your shoulders or neck. The weight distribution seems just perfect. Try different ones until you find the one that works for you. Some prefer a wrist strap for street photography, I personally enjoy the strap so I can shoot from the hip, more discretely. Also, not having Canon or Nikon or such written all over you is a little more discreet.
3 – The right lens or lenses
This is a personal choice. Some like a telephoto some like a normal lens for street photography. I try and force myself to avoid the telephoto route, just because it’s in my opinion a little too easy to shoot people from a distance. After all we have feet so lets use them. Having said that, I don’t like shoving my camera in some strangers face if I can avoid it. Once again, whatever your choice, make sure you don’t carry lenses you don’t need. No point taking all your gear with you, travel light, a couple lenses will suffice.
I use two prime lenses (fixed focal length): a 35mm equivalent and a 50mm equivalent. This to me is well enough.
4 – The right camera bag
Your gear is important. It’s worth a lot of money…so look after it. People are always impressed, when I sell my cameras after a couple of years of heavy use, at how well I look after them. They look just like new. Take your time to find what works for you, do some research, read reviews and try for comfort. A small’ish bag, well padded, with individual pouches for your lenses and plenty of side pockets is key. Also one that you can open and close easily for quick access. The last thing you want is to miss a shot because your bag is as tightly locked as a Swiss bank. I have two bags. A large Lowepro Pro Messenger 200 AW which holds all/most of my gear, but I only take it on photo shoots. The other is a smaller “Domke” camera bag. They offer a large range and after two years of heavy use, my bag is still there looking after my gear. Plus it’s fairly weather proof, very important in London! (Why not check what's in my camera bag on Shotkit.com?)
5 – The right shoes
Be prepared to walk miles and miles. A bad pair of shoes can cut short the most promising street photography walk in London.
6 – The right amount of clothes
That one is a tricky one in London. You head out on a cold morning with a thick jacket that quickly becomes a burden as you spend time on the tube and walking around. You will get warm as you walk so keep that in mind. I personally try to take warm clothes but as thin as possible in case I have to carry them.
Also pick comfy clothes, avoid super skinny jeans when you bend all day and adopt funny positions.
What do YOU always need on your street photography walks?
Let us know if we missed anything by leaving a comment!