Street photography can be many things, from beautiful to ugly and everything in between. According to how we understand the concept, it can take on many appearances and is heavily dependent on the style of the photographer.
In this article, we’re going to talk about four different types of street photography. We will examine what defines each type and explain more from the photographer’s perspective. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the different styles and maybe even find out what yours is most similar to.
Without further ado, let’s get started! Here are four types of street photography amateur photographers should experiment with:
Raw street photography
This type of street photography refers to photos that have a raw, observatory, or documentary quality to them. It has a photojournalistic style where life’s events, stories, and characters involved are recorded candidly on film—sometimes for historical reasons.
In raw street photography, there is a balance between the different elements. The people in the photo, the environment, and the context of the shot are all equally important. For this reason, photographers who practice this style try to remain unnoticed while shooting. This allows for an accurate telling of how life has unfolded.
This is the type of photography that Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau used to practice. They were able to capture beautiful photos of important moments in history.
Fine art street photography
Much like paint on a canvas, photography has the magical ability to create images that are not only pleasing to look at but also capable of moving the viewer in powerful ways. This emotional quality is key to the concept of fine art street photography.
Through the careful intermingling of light, shadows, colour, and subject, a fine art street photographer is able to produce art that tells a narrative and even evokes a feeling in the viewer. The goal in this type of photography is to produce works of art worthy of any wall, to be appreciated by whoever takes the time to appreciate it.
Architectural street photography
This type of street photography has been around for a while, but it flourished after the 1960s with the rise of modern architecture and its bold designs.
In this type of street photography, the photographer focuses mainly on shapes and lines created by architecture and other design elements. Light and shadows play a huge role, too, as they can add sharp contrast and drama to otherwise inorganic scenes. Humans, while typically not the main characters in this type of photography, are occasionally included to enhance the image.
A photographer who focuses on geometric street photography sometimes has to wait hours until all the elements aligned for the perfect shot. Henri Cartier Bresson, who perfected this type of photography, was a master at this.
Candid street photography
This type of street photography is one of the hardest to master. It’s also one of the trickier ones to define. The idea behind it is to capture decisive moments in everyday life. These are events that occur in the background, spontaneous and invisible to most people. A candid street photographer aims to preserve the essence of these moments on film.
To be an effective candid street photographer, one must be quick with their camera and always ready to shoot. They must also keep a constant eye out for every opportunity—always in search of that perfect moment. One of the masters of this type of photography was Garry Winogrand, a prolific artist who captured some of the most amazing moments with his camera.
Street photography is a fun hobby that can turn into an exciting career. If you’re still finding your niche, be sure to give these four types of street photography a try. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll fall in love with a certain style until it becomes your own!
If you’re looking for a photography workshop in London to help you sharpen your photography skills, get in touch with us to see how we can help.
Kav Dadfar is a travel photographer and author of almost 400 articles on photography. He has years of experience shooting assignments and his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.
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