Street Photography Quick Tip (7)

1/5 sec @ f/9 and ISO 200
1/5 sec @ f/9 and ISO 200

Street Photography Quick Tip 7 – Work the Scene 

Sunday is here and time for another of my Street Photography Quick Tips. One of those short, easy to read and easy to use tips that I think could help you while shooting in the streets. Today’s post is about maximizing an interesting street scene. Don’t just walk away when you took one interesting shot. Working the scene from different angles just might pay off. If you want to find out more, continue reading after the jump…

1/10 sec @ f/4.5 and ISO 200
1/10 sec @ f/4.5 and ISO 200

While roaming through Portland the other night a brightly lit storefront of a H&M shop caught my eye, with headshots of models looking out on the dark streets. From experience I was sure that this could make a good backdrop for some street photography, so I placed myself on the opposite sidewalk and waited for people to pass in front of the lit windows. The thing was, it was way past 9pm (happens when you work all day and evening on a business trip) and the Yamhill Street near Pioneer Square was pretty much deserted. Finally a couple walked by and I squeezed of a first shot with 1/10 sec to get blurred silhouettes.

And here is where the tip comes in. Don’t just walk away once you get your first shot. Look if you can vary it or if you can take a photo from a different angle or different shooting specs.

1/5 sec @ f/9 and ISO 200
1/5 sec @ f/9 and ISO 200

Portland MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) Light Rail Trains are passing through Yamhill Street. So I thought I try to shoot the models through the windows of a passing train. Using a low shutter speed of just 1/5 sec I knew the models faces would be visible behind the motion blurred train car that would be just visible as phantom streaks (the title image is another version of this variant).

1/80 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 400
1/80 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 400

But I was still not done. On the opposite side of Yamhill street was a big Microsoft store. And the H&M model posters reflected beautifully over the MS laptops. So this was another variant of the original scene.

1/80 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 400
1/80 sec @ f/2.8 and ISO 400

My last shot of the scene was similar to the first one. Pedestrians in front of the store windows. Only I wanted to have them sharp (hence 1/80 sec shutter speed) and I photographed them leaving the frame, as the intended story is their ignorance towards the advertisement.

So you see, plenty options for one setting. Make sure you really “work” the scene next time you are out in the streets and find an interesting backdrop.

All photos taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the mZuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro Zoom.

Have a great Sunday!


Related Posts:

Street Photography Quick Tip (6)

Street Photography Quick Tip (5)

Street Photography Quick Tip (4)

Street Photography Quick Tip (3)

Street Photography Quick Tip (1)

Street Photography Quick Tip (2)


32 thoughts on “Street Photography Quick Tip (7)

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  1. Wow, I discovered your Posts far too late.
    I have no talent for fotography at all, but for my Page I am now forced to learn it.
    And I am also enjoying it.

    Your pictures are amazing. I am anxious to learn more. Thanks a lot!

  2. Great work. Representation of black and white pictures is so beautiful. As an Photographer i can understand your efforts and even i started writing tips to help new photographers to make career in photography, you can see my work at and also let me know if there is something to add-on.

  3. Ach was soll ich sagen, ich finds mal wieder richtig grandios! GErade die erste Szene mit den vorbeigehenden Fussgängern… Soooo gut. Ein Motiv, das ich auf jeden Fall auch auf dem Schrim gehabt hätte (glaube/hoffe ich) wenn ich dort die Kamera zur Hand haben würde. Klasse!

  4. Thanks Marcus! Great images and idea. I appreciate your tips… always rekindles my sense of adventure out there. 🙂

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