Exploring Street Photography

Popcrn Team

Exploring Street Photography

Street Photography captures life in public areas in the most candid way. It is the kind of photography that features unplanned encounters and random happenings. Street photography unlike its name doesn't have to be only done on the streets. You can do it in any public place. For instance, a panoramic shot without a single human in view can be considered a street photograph. You can imagine a street photographer as a person who tells raw stories through photographs. Their captures range from newsworthy events to pictures capable of attracting the attention of their target audience. In this article, we'll explore different types of street photography, the ethics and how you can make money from street photography.

Types of Street Photography 


A photographer that is unobtrusive respects the personal space of their subjects. They probably took the photographs unnoticed. They tend to capture more of the scene and the surroundings since they're likely to be steps away from their subjects. These photos are observatory in style — a documentary style. They reflect life unfolding itself in front of the camera. Since the Photographer isn’t noticed most of the time, the results are usually beautiful candid shots. They have a photojournalistic style, worthy of preservation for research and historical reasons. It is simply a beautiful recording of people's lives: their struggles, feelings and experiences.


Intrusive photographers are just that, intrusive! As their name implies, they're aggressive and totally “in your face”. This kind of Street Photographer takes their shots with guts. You can call them brave or declare them just crazy! They're "in your face" because they hope for a reaction that they can capture. The results these photographers get are stunning, especially the priceless and unique expressions invoked from their subjects. This kind of street photography is less documentary because the photographer influences the subject.


Here, ethical and moral boundaries are ignored. The focus here, is to shoot the subject as it is, where it is, without considering the emotions of the subject(s) about being photographed. Homeless that live in shambles, crippled, desperate people in real pain, the destitute and the abused, drug addicts, drunks and even assassinated people. Photojournalism may come to mind in this instance, but this isn't it. These photos are shot as eye-openers. They're shot to jerk to reality those that don’t live in these situations or those parts of the world. It is the kind of street photography that seeks to remind us that life isn’t as it seems. This type of Street Photography shoots reality in its hardest. Photographers making these types of photos usually have to handle the heat of unhappy people.


Geometric Street Photography has been around for a while. It flourished with the evolution of modern architecture in cities around the world. It focuses on geometric shapes, lines etc., created by structures, parallels, stairs, doors and anything architectural. Photographers find the perfect building, the best possible spot around it that has the most amazing line of light. They wait for a person to walk into the scene, to give the photograph a human element. People aren’t the main focus in this type of Street Photography; they're to indicate that people exist in such areas.


Portrait Street Photography deals with shooting portraits of people in an uncontrolled environment. The environment can be a street, park, a restaurant, etc.  Portrait Street Photography captures people's faces and each unique look. This is because even the most identical faces have slight differences. The setting may differ as highlighted above, but the focus is on the person.

Ethics of Street Photography

There are ethics a street photographer can ensure are in place to make their work easier and more productive. Below are some of the things a street photographer may consider doing before going out and shooting:

Ask for Permission

While street photographers take pictures without asking permission, getting permission indicates the photographer's respect for the subject's right to privacy.

Make a Connection 

Making a connection is by no means abstract. You can connect with a smile to indicate your positive motive. A subject that catches you taking their picture will likely stare at you. Responding with a genuine smile is likely to unnerve them, make them smile at you and carry on with their day.

Respect Your Subject's Wishes

You really shouldn't shoot an unwilling subject. It's a reflection of how mature and people-centred you are as a photographer. The paradox here is that, for every refusal you get, many other people will like you to take their pictures.

How To Make Money from Street Photography 

Making money from street photography is very possible once you get good at the art. You can do the following to monetize your skillset:

  1. Teach street photography. Also, record the teachings and sell them online to people who want to learn your kind of street photography.

  1. Land street photography projects with fashion, lifestyle and product companies. Research to uncover where your services as a street photographer may be needed and reach out to them, indicating how your skill can help them achieve their goals.

  1. Create information digital products about street photography, build an audience and sell them the products.

Street photography is an art in itself — an alluring one at that. Are you a street photographer, but not sure of your niche? Then try different kinds of street photography. Soon, you'll be able to find the type of street photography that best suits you.