Ten Tips to Ignore

Bit of a fun article here. Don’t take these ideas too seriously. Hopefully the points made will make you think a little differently from everyone else. This post is inspired by my current thinking, which is that we have to do something different to stand out. If we all follow the same ‘rules’ then everything will look the same…

#9 Asking permission would have ruined this image.

1. Leave your tripod at home.

Tripods are a pain in the bum to carry around, but they have their place. Throw one in the bag and you have a chance to capture some slow exposure photos. No other street photographers carry tripods, so you stand a chance of grabbing something a little different.

2. Use a fixed focal length lens.

Get used to using a 28mm, 35mm or 50mm fixed lens. As you get more accustomed to using one lens you will intuitively know how the photo will be framed. This is a fine idea, and I love heading out with my 35mm for a days photography. However, learning how lenses work at different focal lengths is going to make you a better photographer. The notion that we should ‘zoom with our feet’ is a little misguiding. Zooming in on a subject will produce a very different image to a photo where you are ‘up close and personal.’

Using a zoom lens can help frame an image just the way you want it.

3. Use small discreet camera.

This is actually good advice. However, a small camera is not a cloak of invisibility. New flash – people can see you! A big DSLR will probably have a decent battery life as well, so you can keep going all day. However, your neck may ache at the end of it.

4. Never delete photos

I have just read this tip in FStoppers. Are they joking? If I kept half of my bad photos I would need a hard drive the size of a small truck. Secondly, it would take me a lifetime to find the good photos. Delete, delete and delete some more – get your photo collection down to the greats!

5. Wear black to blend in

Blend in where, a coal mine? Just wear normal clothing. On the other hand, dressing as a clown and wearing stilts is likely to help capture some interesting expressions. Sometimes blending in can mean wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and looking like just another tourist.

6. Wait for the decisive moment

For how long, and what are you missing that is just round the corner? If you are wearing black you probably look like a bad undercover policeman. If there are policeman about, then you probably look like a drug dealer. On a serious note, this is can be great advice. However, I’m not the most patient of photographers.

7. Take breaks to post in Instagram

Another tip I found on FStoppers. An odd one this, as I am sure your ‘fans’ and followers can wait until the day is over, and the photos have been edited. A better idea is to wait a month before posting an image, then you will have had time to think about how good a shot it actually is.

8. Street Photography should be black and white

I love a good black and white photo. However, it is not the 60’s any more. Learn to shoot in colour and you have another layer to your photo.

Shoot in colour. Who wants a grey tomato?

9. Always ask/ don’t ask permission

This is an interesting ‘rule’.  There are those who argue that permission should always be sought. Others state that a photo is not ‘Street’ if you have asked if you can take it. In reality you should do whichever one you feel like, and it is probably a sensible idea to be able to operate in both situations. However, be aware that each style of photography will create a different style of photo.

10. Find your own style

OK, this is good advice. We all want to be unique. In reality, the style you are trying to achieve will already have been nailed by someone else. Sometimes is is good to study the work of experts. Here are three of my favourites that may inspire you.

Alex Webb

Steve McCurry

Marc Riboud


Advice is always well intended. What ever you do, don’t take mine. Tripods are a pain in the bum, small cameras are great, fixed lenses capture the best images, and waiting for the decisive moment appeared to help Cartier-Bresson!

That all from me folks. Happy shooting,


2 Comments on “Ten Tips to Ignore

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