Best Free Street Photography Course

Start learning!

Do you want to learn street photography but you don’t know where to start from? Welcome to the best Free Street Photography course on the internet.

In this course you will learn all you need to know to start your own street photography project in an efficient way.

Starting from 0, we will learn the basics of photography, speak about the most useful techniques and how should we approach light and composition.

Finally, we will overview how a photograph should be edited and we will finish defining and starting our own street photography project.

Are you ready for the challenge?

1. Introduction

The photography course starts focusing on the understanding of the art.

Firstly, we will discuss the definition, analyse the most influential photographers of the last hundred years and start introducing ourselves to the topic, understanding what focal length means and which one is the most recommended one to make our first moves.

As in every module I will ask you to do some homework, we will start defining 3 subjects that will be the main characters of our photographic project’s start.

1.1. What is Street Photography?

It is a genre of photography that happens in public places, usually in urban areas, being the spontaneousness and improvisation the base elements of the craft. Along with this, how the photographer manages the framing and timing will make the biggest impact in the style.

The term of Street Photography was created at the beginning of the 20th century, when photographers used to walk the streets with their heavy cameras and people would ask them to take their photos.

However, as cameras were improved and become available for non-professionals; this way the practice evolved until today and it is in our hands to keep this process alive.

1.2. Influential photographers

It is always good to develop our own style, but it is also very enriching to analyse other artist’s portfolios to understand where do we come from.

To continue, let me mention only three photographers that I find very fascinating:

  • Robert Capa: Greatest war and adventure photographer, developed his most notable work in the Spanish civil war.

  • Vivian Maier: Her genuine passion for photography and the mystery about her live does not overshadow her impressive work.

  • Alan Schaller: Nowadays, one of the most inspiring black and white street photographers in my opinion.

From these or many others we can learn and find inspiration in order to stay creative. The point it is not to copy their style, but to create the foundations to develop our own one.

1.3. Focal Length for Street Photography

We will start off from the premise that any camera (even your phone’s) should be enough to start your street photography project.

However, let’s have clear what Focal Length means:

It defines the magnification of the object you photograph. The longer, the bigger the magnification.

As a reference, we could follow these ranges:

  • Landscape: 12 to 24mm
  • Street Photography: 35 to 85mm (50mm is my preferred)
  • Portrait: 50 to 100mm

Commonly, 35mm and 50mm are the most common focal lengths for Street Photography. I like it best the 50mm, but this is just a personal taste.

As a conclusion, If you have a camera with anything between 24 to 100mm you are good to go. There is always time to improve equipment or adjust our preferences.

1.4. Define your 3 subjects

I think it is important to have some specific topics or themes to focus on while we practice photography. This does not mean we cannot photograph anything, but will help us to stay focused and avoid distractions while we shoot.

For me, the 3 main subjects I like to photograph, are:

  • People
  • Actions
  • Shadows/Contrasts

At the beginning I thought about starting to photograph bikes on the street, but later I found it boring.

Also, many people likes photographing buildings or empty streets – for me this kind of photographs miss the uniqueness and singularity that the humans give to a shot.

Animals are also an option, but I find it much more challenging to photograph people; dogs will not complain, humans, may.

Those building and streets will be there forever, and if I come next year could repeat the same picture again; however, if you include human activity in your pictures, those situation will be unique forever, and that’s what I like to seek in my artwork.

How do you like the street photography course?. Any question so far?

    2. Basics of Photography

    In this part of the free street photography course we will dive into the foundations of photography. We will understand the basic functionalities of a camera in order to be able to have everything under control.

    Once we have achieved this knowledge we will only have to practice and improve our technique as everything else will be in some way related to these foundations.

    2.1 How photography works: ISO, Aperture and Speed

    To put it simply, there are 3 parameters that rule over the rest:

    • Shutter Speed: How much time our sensor is exposed to the light

    • Aperture: How is the opening through which the light passes.

    • ISO: How sensitive our sensor is to the light.

    The starting point to understand how these three parameters are related is to imagine a well exposed photograph. This is, a picture that is not too dark nor too bright.

    Try to understand the following diagram:
    Iso aperture explanation. How to expose a photograph.

    Find below a simple explanation about how each of the parameters work:

    It is measured in seconds and defines how much time our sensor will be open to the light. This is, how much time it takes to the shutter to open and close once.

    1/250 means 0,004 seconds, which is a quite fast shutter speed.

    As you go slowing down (1/125, 1/60…), it is more probable that your subject, if it is moving, to be blurred.

    If your shutter speed is very high, there is no much time for the light to come in, so unless you change other parameters, your photograph is likely to be dark or underexposed.

    Usually called F within the camera, defines how big is the opening that allows the light to come in into the sensor.

    • The smaller the F number, the bigger is the opening.
    • The bigger the F number, the smaller is the opening.

    At this point you could think that it is always better to shoot in smaller Fs (big apertures) because there is more light coming in.

    There is a trade-off, though:

    • If our F is small, the Depth Of Field (DOF) will also be small.
    • If our F is big, our DOF will also be larger.

    The sensor will deliver the highest quiality in the lowest ISO.

    The ISO determines how sensible our sensor will be to the light.

    As we start increasing the ISO, the camera will behave as if more light was coming into the sensor, but this will imply a lower image quality.

    Alright, so, we understood what each parameter does, but what’s the…

    What is exposure in photography?

    It is important to have a clear understanding of this definition and it could not be skipped on a good street photography course.

    In photography, exposure is the amount of light which reaches our camera’s sensor.

    If a photograph is over-exposed, it means that the sensor captured too much light so many areas of it will be burnt (will be too bright).

    When we say a photograph is under-exposed, we are saying that there was no enough light on the scene; therefore, some areas of the picture will be too dark or will be black pixels.

    We will speak about the dynamic range in photography in an advanced post:

    Relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

    As you already expect, these three parameters are connected.

    If you increase one, you will have to adjust another to keep the same exposure level. Let’s understand all this with some examples.

    Speed Aperture ISO Exposure

    The idea behind this table is to try to understand what happens with the exposure when one of the parameters is modified.

    Speed means faster shutter speed: 1/250, 1/500… (actually, smaller exposure times)

    Aperture means bigger F: F16, F22… (so less light)

    ISO means bigger ISO: 400, 600, 800…

    So, for example, in the first row, if we increase the Shutter Speed (1/bigger) and keep Aperture and ISO constant, our picture will be darker, “less exposed”.

    Wait, i have a question

    2.2 Shooting Modes

    Camera modes define how the camera will behave in relation to Speed, Aperture and ISO.

    In other words, in each mode the photographer controls one of the parameters and the others are calculated by the camera.

    Let’s see how they work:

    • Automatic (Auto): The camera is in charge of calculating all the parameters.
    • Speed (S): You set the Shutter Speed and the camera calculates the F and ISO.
    • Aperture (A): You set the Aperture and the camera calculates the S and ISO.
    • Manual (M): You set manually S, A and ISO.

    So, if we set our camera to Mode A, we will be able to adjust the F value.

    For example, if we want to portrait someone and we want the background to be blurred, we will select a small F so the camera automatically calculates the required Shutter Speed.

    Or, if we are doing landscape photography, we will select something like F11, as our lens will deliver the highest image quality and our DOF will also be large.

    Using each of these modes has is advantages and are very useful in specific street photography scenarios.

    Best Free Street Photography Course

    Shooting Modes for Street Photography

    To continue with the free course, let’s analyse most common shooting situations in Street Photography and define some basic recommendations.

    *These are setups that I learnt from practicing and that work for me. Feel free to comment or contact me in case you have any question

    Preferred Mode = Aperture (A)

    If it is bright, I usually set the ISO to 100 and define a quite open aperture (F 2-4).

    I don’t care much about depth of field as I am usually focusing on 1 subject in my pictures. Most of the time it is okay if the backgrounds are a little bit blurred.

    I prefer this than closing more the diaphragm (bigger F) and risking a too slow shutter speed in shadows or darker spaces.

    Even the Shutter Speed can go quite high if it’s a sunny day that’s fine. Iit will make sure the moving subjects are frozen.

    Preferred Mode = Manual (M)

    When shooting at night I use a setup that I call semi-automatic.

    I put the camera in M mode and define Speed and Aperture; usually:

    • Speed = 1/125 – 1/160
    • Aperture = F1.8 – F2.2

    This means a speed fast enough to shoot handheld with no issues and the brightest or one step above the brightest aperture – we need as much light as possible.

    And here is the trick: I set the ISO to automatic.

    This way I know that the maximum of the light that my lens can capture is coming in, and I know that the shutter speed will be fast enough to avoid blurry images.

    The trade-off is that many times the ISO can go very high, but there is nothing we can do but to walk to better ilu

    Preferred Mode = Speed (S)

    This is an advanced technique that we will cover in the 3rd module.

    2.3 Metering Modes

    This parameter sets how your camera measures the incoming light into the sensor in order to correctly calculate the exposure. There are three main metering modes:

    • Spot Metering: The camera reads the light in a small spot of the sensor (usually in the center of it).
    • Center-weighted: Only the central part of the sensor is used to calculate the exposure.
    • Matrix Metering: The full sensor is read in order to analyse the incoming light and calculate the correct exposure.

    Depending on the style of photography we want to do or how our pictures we want to look like we can change between these metering modes.


    2.4 Exercises

    Download the Street Photography Activity Book in order to practice the topics we have learnt about.

    3. Advanced techniques

    We have covered a lot of ground already. If you are confident with the relation between Aperture, Speed and ISO, and you know how and when to use the different shooting and metering modes, you can already say you are a photographer.

    Now you have a very good base and you are ready to understand and learn the advanced photographic techniques explained in our free street photography course.

    3.1 Exposure and Histogram

    As you may have realised, all the parameters photography is based on are aimed to properly expose a photograph; but, how do we know the camera is reading the light properly?

    The light meter of a camera is no more than an algorithm that analyses the light coming into the sensor and calculates the correct exposure.

    However, it is good to know that we have some tools to make sure the camera is doing well (and many times, is not).

    To this end, we can make us of the Histogram.

    Histogram in photography

    The histogram is the graphical representation of the tonal values of a photograph.

    In order words, shows how much of bright areas (on the right) and dark areas (on the left) there are.

    If we analyse this photograph, we could say that the bright and dark parts are well compensated.

    This is, there are no too dark nor too bright parts, and therefore, the histogram is populated in the central parts of the graph.

    Because mainly the photograph is composed by mid-tones.

    However, on this one, the contrasts are much higher.

    That’s why we see quite a lot of tones on the left (because of the very dark parts of the picture), but there are also very bright parts in the sky (see the very right side of the histogram that is up to the top).

    3.2 ETTR: Exposing To The Right

    The ETTR is a technique used in photography to calculate or adjust the exposure based on the histogram.

    The theory says that we should try to use all the dynamic range of our sensor, in other words, try to capture as much bright and dark areas without burning or underexposing them.

    So, how should I read the histogram in order to ETTR? Let’s see a couple of examples:

    Under-exposed histogram


    In this example you can see how the right part of the histogram has no information. Remember that the right part represents the bright areas.

    This means there are no bright pixels in the photograph, so we could have exposed it more capturing more information of the highlights.

    Over-exposed histogram


    Now, the right side of the histogram is clearly sturated. There was too much light in the scene, and the camera was not able to get all the details from the bright areas.

    The result of this is having pure white pixels with no information, loosing textures and details in the photograph.

    These two histograms belong to these pictures. Would you know who is who?



    3.3 AEL: Auto Exposure Lock

    The AEL functionality is one that I use a lot during the long Street Photography walks. It is one of the most useful tricks to use along with the spot or center-weighted metering modes.

    It means Auto Exposure Lock, and is a functions that allows us to block the light metering in order to re-frame.

    If you are using, for example, the Aperture (A) mode and have a specific aperture, you camera will continuously measure the light and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.

    If you frame a very bright scene, your camera will set a very high shutter speed so the photograph gets correctly exposed.

    The AEL allows us to have a little bit more control over this dynamic auto-exposure, allowing us to block a certain Aperture/Shutter/ISO calculation.

    Following the previous example, if you are framing a very bright area and while you do so you hit the AEL button, hold it pressed, and reframe to a darker zone, your A/S/ISO parameters will be blocked, this is, they will no longer be recalculated.

    As you expect, your re-framed photograph will be over exposed, because the A/S/ISO values that the camera calculated where for the bright scene, not the dark one.

    How and when to use AEL

    When we are looking for high contrast photographs, usually the matrix metering does not work very well, as the images we get are normally quite balanced (as the light is measured all over the sensor, the camera tries to expose all of it properly).

    However, in some situations, due to the such a high difference between the lights and the shadows this is not possible.

    In this scenario, we will have to decide if we want to sacrifice the dark or the bright side of the picture, and the AEL allows us to do so in a controlled way.

    If you choose the spot metering, remember that the light will be read in a small spot. Then, if you target your camera to a very bright subject, the automatic exposure algorithm will set the parameters so this small area is properly exposed.

    Now, if you press and hold the AEL at this point, the A/S/ISO parameters will be locked, and you will be able to re-frame, so even the bright subject is not in the center it will still be well exposed, as the parameters will not change.

    The consequence of this is that the shadows of the photograph will be under-exposed, but that’s fine, as we are looking for a high contrast picture.

    An example of AEL usage

    To shoot this picture I used this exact technique. I set the spot metering mode and aimed to the bright spot on the floor, using the AEL over there. Then, I re-framed and waited for a while until some interesting subject crossed under the light.

    The illuminated building o the left was perfect to compensate the composition and give some context to the skater.

    ¿How do you find the free street photography course so far? Any feedback will be very much appreciated!

    3.4 Long Exposure

    To be honest, and even though you can get impressive photographs using long exposure techniques, it is not one of my preferred ones.

    Usually, in this kind of pictures we loose the human factor or it is very difficult to represent it. I have the feeling that it is easier to get an image which is more impacting at first sight, but that most of the times lack emotions.

    In any case, it is a very good resource to use here and there, or to shoot long exposure when you are not willing to front face the extra psychological effort that requieres to shoot people.

    How to shoot long exposure in Street Photography?

    First thing you need to know is that you will need a tripod.

    Using long exposure means that the sensor will be exposed for a “long time”, so any movement would make our photograph blurry.

    In order to set our camera, we can follow these recommendations:

    • Tripod: Set the camera in the tripod or a stable place and frame.

    • ISO: Set it to the minimum. We want the highest quality and slow shutter speeds.

    • Aperture Mode (A): Set the biggest F (smaller apperture) and see what shutter speed is calculated by the camera.

      • If it is too slow (maybe 30″+ seconds), open F a little bit (to F16/F14…) so more light comes in.
      • When too fast (1″ or less, like 1/10, 1/15…) there is too much light.

    If there is too much light, you have two options: Use a ND filter or wait until it is darker.

    Pro tip: Use the self-timer to avoid vibrations in your camera. Set it at least in 2 seconds, so there is some time between the moment you press the shutter and the picture is taken, so any vibration you may have generated will  be gone.




    Best Free Street Photography Course

    3.5 Shutter Speed for handheld photography

    There is a rule to calculate the minimum shutter speed to shoot handheld photographs.

    It is based in the Focal Length, so, the longer the focal length, the higher the shutter speed will have to be.

    The formula is very simple:

    Shutter Speed = 1/Focal Length

    So, if you are using a 50mm lense, your minimum shutter speed should be 1/50.

    This should be a reference and to be on the safe side it is always better to set the shutter speed a little bit higher than the calculation.

    In any case, it is very good to know that being below this value it is very likely that your photographs will be blurred.

    3.5 Panning Technique

    Panning is one of the most difficult photography techniques because it combines different photography skills, but we’ll analyse it in our photography course. Let’s go!

    It involves a very precise camera setup and a highly skilled cameraman shooting handheld.

    Moreover, the subject’s speed, behavior, brightness and shape will also be conditioning the shot.

    All these make panning technique a new world to discover in street photography.

    How does Panning work?

    The idea behind this technique is to follow a moving subject with our camera, so it would always be in the center of our frame.

    If this happens, the subject would be motionless in relation to our sensor, so a slow shutter speed could be used to freeze it.

    However, all the other elements in the frame (background, other subjects, foreground elements…) will be moving in relation to the center of our frame, so a higher shutter speed would be needed to freeze these.

    This combination of circumstances give as a result those impacting panning photographs.

    I personally love this one by @milekzola:

    The subject, the bus, is frozen in the middle of the frame, and in this case both the background and foreground are blurred, accentuating the speed sensation. Great shot!

    Camera setup for Panning photography

    To get this kind of photographs we’ll need to understand what’s the ideal setup to shoot panning photographs.

    We will have to set the camera to Shutter Priority (S) mode. If you remember, this mode allows us to set a specific shutter speed while the camera will determine the other parameters.

    Here comes the tricky part: What shutter speed should I use?

    Between 1/80 and 1/160 for a 55mm lens

    The parameters will depend on many things as the focal length you are using, your skills to tightly follow the subject or how much light there is.

    If you use a wider lense, for example a 35mm, you can probably go for a lower shutter speed.

    I have practiced quite a lot though, and you can take those values as a reference. They work for me, using a 55mm lens. Here as a reference one of my preferred panning photographs, taken in New York:

    And we reached the end of the tutorial in relation to camera setup and parametrizations.

    Any questions? Any technique or setup you miss? Let me know so I can improve the street photography course!

      4. Light and Composition

      All we have covered so far has been related to technical stuff.

      Do I need to know all those setups and parameters in order to take good pictures?

      The honest answer is NO.

      All these knowledge will provide us tools and abilities to capture with our camera the pictures that somehow we imagine in our minds.

      So often I see photographs on the internet that I know require such advanced skills, but on the contrary, they strikingly fall short on the emotional side of photography.

      In my opinion, Street Photography is more about feelings and emotions than about equipment quality and technical stuff, so let’s discover what resources we can use to improve our photography in these areas.

      4.1 Composition Rules

      Composition rules in photography are the basic guidelines any photography should follow in order to consider it a good photograph.

      Of course, the first rule I will mention is the one that says:

      Rule Nº1: Rules are to be broken

      But they are to be broken on purpose, on a meaningful way. That’s why it is so important we know and understand them, so we can break them and create some original artwork.

      Let’s continue the course, then, analysing the most basic rules in photography:

      Straight horizon

      Unless o purpose, a photograph’s horizon must be straight.

      There are things that we don’t need to see to know how they are: the sky is blue, the trees green, and the horizon, straight.

      Now you know it, let me know what’s your feeling the next time you see a photograph with a tilted horizon.

      This is me: 😱

      So, this is the first rule you must know and you promise you will never break (unless on purpose).

        Rule of the Thirds

        The rule of the thirds is a very simple but powerful rule used in design, films, paintings and of course, photography.

        It’s a guideline about where we should place the subject of our photograph in order to achieve photographs that generate a bigger impact for the human eye.

        In order to apply it, you only need to draw two horizontal and two vertical lines, dividing the frame in 3 equal sections on each direction.

        These lines, and specially the intersections are supposed to be the places where the eye will look for important stuff; and there’s where you should place your subject.

        Of course the rules can be combined. Now, answer to this question:

        In which part of your picture would you place the horizon in a landscape photography?

        You are right, in one of the thirds. And yes, absolutely straight.

        If your sky is colorful and powerful, you can place it in the lower thirds.

        On the contrary, if your land-field has beautiful textures and patterns and your sky is flat, place it on the upper one.

        Portrait rules

        Depending on your style, portraying could be a very important part or directly the base of your street photography project.

        I find this one of the most challenging ways of approaching street photography, as portraying unknown people without their permission or even asking for a picture to a stranger are situations not easy to handle.

        Only the most audacious street photographers will dare to do so, but, if you are one of those, you need to know the two basic rules of portrait photography:

        • Focus en the eye: If you are taking a clear picture of the face of someone, the focus must be on his/her eyes, otherwise it will feel weird. This is the first place where the human eye will look and you want it to be in focus.
        • Don’t cut limbs at joint: Try not to cut someone’s arms or legs right in the joint, it creates an awkward visual effect. Also, avoid cutting little appendages like fingers, toes or ears if possible. – Best Free Street Photography Course

        4.2 Composition Techniques

        If we want to approach photography from creativity, it is always good to have in mind some tricks, hints or ideas that will help us develop this path.

        In the following lines we will analyse the basic composition techniques we can apply in street photography, that combined with the rules above give us a very solid base from where we can start practicing.


        The human eye will naturally tend to follow the lines in a photography.

        These lines, if lead the viewer towards something, towards the subject, will become very powerful composition enhancers.

        The lines will guide the eye through the photograph, showing where the important things of are and helping us understand it.

        It also provide some kind of movement to the picture, as when you see one of these photographs you have the feeling that you are being transported from one point to the other.

        The lines are specially more powerful when start or end at the corners of the frame as they can be longer and the sensations are incremented.

        Roads, buildings, bridges and similar constructions are many times very good elements to create lines.

        Symmetry & Patterns

        If our composition contains structures that create visual rhythm or harmony we will be giving it a special character.

        This effect can be specially achieved using the subjects in our frame to build symmetries and patterns that our minds will easily identify.

        The symmetry sensation is mostly generated by images that are very similar in both sides (horizontally or vertically). Reflections or the horizon are many times used as dividers.

        The patterns can be based on colors, textures, subjects, form or any other type of elements that are repeated in some characteristic way.

        This image is a very good one to be analysed in this section, as it is vertically symmetrical and the frames hanging on the wall follow some kind of pattern also. What do you think?


        Even a photograph is a 2 dimensional representation of the reality, there are many techniques that allow the artist to generate a depth sensation in the watcher.

        One of the most effective ones is to have points of interest in different “depths” of the photograph; so, ideally, there should be things that catch our eye in the foreground, mid-range and back of the photograph.

        Of course, using lines to follow this imaginary path through the subjects is a very good way of combining these composition techniques.

        Example analysis:

        In this example, the line on the ground takes our eye from the bottom of the picture to the two guys on the right first, and later the eye follows to the end of the street, where more fireworks are being thrown by the “correfocs” (this is a very popular festivity in Barcelona).

        Even though he is not a street photographer – but a creative photographer – I’d like to mention here a master using depth in order to create high impact photograph. Here one of his pictures, but please go ahead and have a look to his Instagram account: @jordi.koalitic

        Ver esta publicación en Instagram

        Una publicación compartida de Jordi Koalitic 🐨📸 (@jordi.koalitic) el

        Negative Space

        In photography, negative space refers to a wide unoccupied area around the main subject. It generates an emptiness sensation and puts all the focus in the subject, as it stands out much more.

        Negative space is usually generated by flat surfaces with no or very smooth textures. One of the easiest elements to start practicing negative space photographs could be the sky.

        Moreover, specially in high contrast black and white photography the effects achieved with this technique can be very impressive.

        I cannot finish this section without mentioning one of my preferred street photographers, @alan_schaller, who is one of the most skilled photographers I know using negative spaces:

        Ver esta publicación en Instagram

        Una publicación compartida de Alan Schaller (@alan_schaller) el

        Ver esta publicación en Instagram

        Una publicación compartida de Alan Schaller (@alan_schaller) el

        According to his comments, capturing white negative space is the most difficult one. Have you tried yourself?

        I have, and it is fun:

        Ver esta publicación en Instagram

        Una publicación compartida de Barcelona Street Photography (@bcn50mm) el

        4.3 Break the rules: Dramatisation

        Now that we know the basic photography rules, we have analysed the main composition techniques and we have a better understanding of the light around us, we are able to break them.

        This is the part I like the best, the most creative one and the one that I more enjoy looking for when walking the streets.

        Actually, when I was looking among my pictures looking for examples to illustrate the sections above, I have realized that most of the my pictures do not follow the rules and guidelines we learnt.

        Are, therefore, my pictures not good?

        Breaking these rules, or better, playing with them is the most enjoyable part of photography, don’t you think?

        Here some examples where these rules were broken to create original photographs:

        Straight horizon?

        Thirds rule?

        Focus on eye?

        4.4 Light in photography

        Depending on the lighting situation we find out there, we can change our style or at least the type of photographs we will look for.

        In order to know what should we focus in, it is good to understand the most common types of lighting we can find in an urban area.

        From my experience, I realised there are four main lighting situations in street photography:

        • Dawn / Dusk: The sun comes diagonally.
        • Sunny daylight: Strong shadows, from top.

        • Cloudy day: Shadows are very soft.

        • Night: Dark and artificial light.

        Photography at Dawn / Dusk

        The first and latest hours of the day are awesome times to practice street photography. The sun beats from a lower position, generating long and diagonal shadows, which are an extra element we can use in our compositions.

        Also, as the light is softer and due to the diagonal direction, it is a very good time to put attention into patterns and textures which can be enhanced during this time.

        One more interesting composition technique we can use is backlighting, as having the sun low will allow us to place it behind the subjects easily, creating very high contrast situation from which we can take advantage.

        Photography at Sunny daylight:

        The central hours of a day are known not to be good for photography. This is said because mainly when we think about photography, we think about landscape photography.

        However, this has not to be true for every photography style. Indeed, if we are looking for very high contrast street photography this could be our best time.

        At noon the shadows will not be as long and wide as in the morning, but by contrast they will be much stronger. This is the perfect scenario to practice the Spot Metering + AEL technique we spoke about in chapter 3.3 AEL: Auto Exposure Lock.

        Also, if we are skilled enough, we will be able to apply Negative Space composition techniques. The fact that contrasts between bright and dark areas will be so high makes it easier to get this kind of photographs.

        By – Best Free Street Photography Course

        Photography at cloudy days:

        As I love high contrast street photography, I find cloudy days challenging with regards to getting photographs I actually like.

        The light is much softer than in other situations and there are almost no shadows; the contrast is almost inexistent and the pictures we’ll get will usually be quite flat (from an illumination point of view).

        In this scenario, our focus should be more about the story of the situation we are photographing or in practicing other composition techniques as reflections, symmetry and patterns.

        We will be able to create compositions where all the details are visible for the viewer (unlike in high contrast photography, where big areas of the frame are too dark or too bright so the attention is very focused), so we’ll have to take advantage of this to tell more about the story behind our subjects.

        We should be careful with what we include in the frame, as including too many things in our compositions may lead to pictures where there’s no a clear main subject or attention point guiding the viewers eye.

        Street Photography Academy background

        Night Photography

        In order to be able to practice photography during the night, it is mandatory you to understand and perfectly manage the Three Basic Photography Parameters .

        During the night the main sources of illumination will be the street lights, the cars and the lights coming from the many commerce, bars and shops in the streets.

        We will be forced to shoot with a very high aperture, so we’ll have to bear in mind that our depth of field will be reduced to the minimum. This can be used to your advantage if taken as a composition technique instead of as a limitation.

        Night time is a very good opportunity to also practice panning or long exposure techniques as we have seen before.

        Dark negative spaces, shadows, contrasts, silhouettes… opportunities are out there, you just have to go and practice!

        5. Post Processing

        Many people think that image post-processing is something new, something that was invented among with the digital photography.

        They are completely wrong. Don’t you remember taking your photo reel to the shop and waiting for the pictures to be developed? What actually was happening behind the scenes was just that, post-processing.

        Well yes, nowadays, the tools, options and the precision with which we can edit a photograph is infinitely greater than before, but it is in our hands how far we want to go with the retouching.

        From my point of view, we should apply the least post-processing effects to achieve the wanted result.

        Check this interesting article from for more information: How Photos Where Edited in the Darkroom Days .

        Source: and Magnum Photos

        In any case, nowadays it is pretty much a must to edit your photos, and this is also true for Street Photography.

        We can think about the .raw file from our camera as the negative, and the result after the post-processing as the developed result.

        In this section we will overview the main post-processing parameters that we can adjust in order to improve our photographs.

        5.1 Transform

        Even though we should try to frame following all the rules we have learnt (or breaking them on purpose), sometimes the rush or the small viewfinder prevents us of framing properly.

        For these cases, we can adjust the photograph to look better.

        Crop & Straighten a photography

        The first step in the editing process is to crop and straighten (if necessary) the photograph.

        This can help us to adjust the framing, place the subject in the positions designated by the thirds rules and set the horizon straight.

        In this example cropping was not necessary as the subject is in one of the thirds and the software only suggest a slight straightening (clicking the Auto button on the right).

        In these cases I rather keep the original shot (not straightening) as it would be imperceptible.

        This was a quite good shot from a framing perspective. Let’s continue the editing process:

        5.2 Basic post-procesing for a photograph

        Under the Basic menu, we can adjust the overall parameters that mainly affect to the colours and exposure of the picture.

        At this point we’ll have to decide if we want our picture to be in colour or black and white.

        Personally, I love black and white photography, so we will edit this picture like that.

        It is usually easier to process a bnw photograph than one in color; one more advantage that allow us to spend more time taking pictures than editing in front of the computer.

        White balance

        The white balance determines how our camera reads the white color on the scene.

        When the human eye sees a white wall, even the light is yellowish, you know the wall is white.

        However, this is not like that with camera sensors and they usually need a little bit of help.

        The color temperature of the light can vary as explained below:

        • Cold light: When the light is white, like when you are in the snow or like the light coming from a led lamp.
        • Warm light: The reddish light of a sunset or the one of an old filament lamp.

        So, adjusting the White Balance, we can make that what in reality was white, we see as white in the picture.

        How to adjust the White Balance

        To get some help, we can use the White Balance Selector tool. After selecting it, we should click on an area of the picture that is supposed to be neutral.

        Select the tool and look in the image for a neutral area. You will know it is neutral when the 3 values (R, G and B) are pretty much the same.

        As you can see, the light looks much more natural now, it was too warm (yellowish) before.

        As we want this picture to be in black and white, now we can switch to the bnw mode, clicking on the top right corner of the Basic module.

        Click and see how the white balance is adjusted. You can always modify it manually using the Temp bar.

        Tone & Presence

        Under the Tone submenu, basically we will be able to adjust the exposure of the image.

        We can do it in a general way, using the Exposure bar; or we can do it affecting only the four basic luminance ranges: Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks.

        As from what we can see in the histogram, the pictures has well compensated bright and dark areas, therefore, we will leave the exposure as it is.

        We will use the four bars below to generate contrast, darkening the blacks and brightening the whites.

        Texture, Clarity and Dehaze are also very powerful tools that generate impact specially in black and white post-processing.

        Use them cheerfully, but it is never recommended to go to the extreme values of any parameters, as the quality loss would be noticeable.

        5.3 Detail & Noise Reduction

        Current post-processing software include tools to apply some sharpening to photographs. These are always a good last step before finishing our developed photographs.

        This effect is probably applied by the camera when we shoot in JPG, but if we edit from the .RAW (which is highly recommendable), we need to apply it manually.

        Similarly, Noise Reduction effects can be used to reduce the grain generated by the sensor, specially for those pictures shot using high ISO values.

        If you apply too much Sharpening, more noise will appear in smooth areas; on the other hand, if you set too much Noise Reduction, some details may be lost.

        As always never use extreme values and use the zoom to check the results until you find something you are happy with.

        Street Photography Academy background

        This is our final edit. Do you like it?

        As you have seen, just using some basic adjustments manages to bring it off.

        6. Personal Project

        As I said at the beginning, the most important thing to start learning photography is to start your own project.

        It can be a small amount of time you will be putting on this, but if you have some kind of goal or challenge, it will make much more sense to you to take your camera and to go out.

        To continue, I would suggest to carry out the first exercise I suggested about defining your 3 objective subjects. Have an idea of what kind of photographs you want to get and start practicing.

        At the beginning it may feel frustrating. But as soon as you start understanding your camera, understanding how the people behaves on the streets and loosing the fear of photographing strangers you will find your way.

        In the end, my idea is to keep updating and improving this course, so if something is not clear, feel free to contact me.

        I hope you enjoyed the time reading it and hopefully learnt something.

        See you in the streets.


        Who am I?

        My name is Enaitz and even I started practicing photography from childhood, I engaged this art in an enthusiastic way in summer of 2018. While in New York, I found out that there were photographs on the streets that “I could see”, and it was when I decided that was the time to come back.

        Since then, I have visited lots of cities and practiced street photography all over the world.

        Discover my images

        I invite you to find out more in my photographic project’s web:

        Discover my images

        I invite you to find out more in my photographic project’s web: