Street Photography

Wednesday May 1, 2019

By: Sylvia Zamora


It is defined as: “photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places. … Street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment.”

The basic question is, HOW do you do it?

First of all, it is definitely not a daunting task BUT it requires a QUICK EYE, a QUICK MIND & a QUICK DRAW to capture that moment. It is putting your artistic mind into OVERDRIVE, because you may lose that “Kodak Moment” in a flash.

FIRST rule of thumb is: DO NOT HESITATE! NEVER HESITATE! This is always my frame of mind when I’m out walking in the streets, because once you do then you lose it forever. I kick myself in the butt later on, for losing that trophy shot, simply because I waited and lost it. REMEMBER, in street photography/portraiture, there is NO second chance. Random people portraiture you will never meet again, never see again, never capture again. So, my motto is, as Nike would say: “JUST DO IT”!!!


SECOND rule is ALWAYS being AWARE of your surroundings.

Look people straight in the eye, hover and observe (like a stalker hahahaha!) AND anticipate people’s actions. By doing so, you almost KNOW what they would do next and there you are, camera on hand ready to capture that moment.

THIRD rule is: LOOK UP! You’ll be surprised how the world looks shooting up!

Street Photography’s biggest hindrance is being SHY and holding oneself back because of it. If you are this person, get over it! Being shy will really get you nowhere! Keep in mind that you are shooting CANDID shots, thus, they don’t actually see you YET. And when they do see you and there is that angry face building up, Walk away or RUN is all I can say!!!

People shots are most interesting in their moments of vulnerability. This is when you capture the true emotions of man. You see creases of stress in their faces, or that unabated pure joy and happy smiles, or you can actually hear their minds wrangling with everyday mundane decisions going on in their brains, or you can vividly see the pain of those troubled hearts and sad lives.

In Street Portraiture, specially with CHILDREN, it can be a very touchy situation. In shooting children, who are always accompanied by their parents, I will ALWAYS ask permission first and introduce myself as a photographer. I then ask for their cell numbers and send them the photos immediately after. This is just to validate that you’re not a pervert or kidnapper and a hundred percent of the time, they profusely thank you for the beautiful photos. That, to me is instant gratification that always warms my heart.

With ADULTS, they’re actually harder to shoot when it’s a face to face shot. More often than not, I shoot without them knowing. But once discovered that the lens is facing their way, I either ask, put on that sweet smile or simply walk away. Most times when discovered, I walk away because I’ve lost the moment anyway.

We all know the best people photos are those that are candid. The best photos are those that attracted your attention to it in the first place, that split second photo in your head is what you want captured on film. Thus… Be quick to the draw, BEFORE they can even react. Long before I start clicking away, that image has already been captured in my head. So in short, asking an adult for a photo is not always a good shot in the end.

Luckily I live in New York, where ART is the heart and soul of this City, where people are too hectic and preoccupied to even notice a camera facing them. New Yorkers are hardly self conscious – they just go about doing their business and don’t care what’s going on around them. NYC the FASHION ICON, is where people dress up as they please, which makes shooting the weirdest of the weird or best of the best, is in abundance and always a pleasure to the artistic eyes.

STREET PORTRAITURE, as I call it, is where: you shoot people living their everyday mundane lives. Where you capture the “locals” of a city in their own abode and business. Where you see and feel the vibe of the streets from a fresh perspective and be that person out of the box. Where there are no restrictions unless you impose it upon yourself.

YOU are THE tool. The camera is only a thing, an instrument, an object wrapped around your fingertips. Your eyes and your vision are what create art. Get into peoples heart and soul and your photo will exude what others have never seen. THAT, for me is the GIST and the TRUE definition of STREET PHOTOGRAPHY!

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