Behind the glass

Banker sitting in a bank working
1/30 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

While roaming the streets of a city shooting street life, it is worth also looking at what’s happening behind the glass of shops and businesses. Especially when you are new to street photography, this unobtrusive way of taking pictures of strangers might be a good way to slowly extend your comfort zone, as your subjects tend not to notice you.

Woman reading a book in the window of a book store
1/125 sec – f/5 – ISO 200 – 31mm

When you shoot through storefront windows, don’t be afraid for reflections of street life happening behind you, as this can add interest to the image. That said, you can obviously use a polarizing filter to suppress glare in the glass of the windows.

Woman reading a nook in the window of Powells Books Portland
1/400 sec – f/5.6 – ISO 200 – 100mm
Girl reading a book in a coffee shop
1/200 sec -f/4 – ISO 320 – 100 mm
Woman driving a car while talking into a cell phone
1/200 sec – f/4 – ISO 1600 – 100mm

Also, capturing people in their cars stopped at traffic lights can be fun.

Man typing in a cell phone in the window of a coffee shop
1/200 sec – f/4 – ISO 800 – 100mm

So the next time you roam your city to shoot street photography, take a look at what’s happening behind the glass.  You are welcome to post links to your photos in the comment section.

For more of my tips and inspirations around photography head over to my free Learning Center!

Have a great Sunday!

Marcus

Related Posts:

Street Photography Quick Tip 6 – Shoot in a station

I conquered my fears

Street Photography Quick Tip 8 – Capturing Gesture

Street Photography Quick Tip 13 – Shoot in a Coffee Shop

23 thoughts on “Behind the glass

Add yours

  1. I love that many of your subjects are smiling, Marcus — it makes one want to wander over and ask what’s making them smile, to share in the moment. It’s interesting that a couple of your readers found these images invasive, though. I think you always strive to be respectful, and none of these photos seems invasive or exploitative to me. But it’s a good reminder to be careful of our boundaries when doing street photography, and to be ready to delete and image if someone objects. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

    1. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words, Heide, they mean so much! I always try to be respectful in my photography. I would never shoot someone in a situation where I myself wouldn’t be comfortable of someone else shooting a street photo of me. Wish you a fabulous weekend! Marcus

      1. Once again you’ve hit the nail on the head, Marcus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Have a fabulous weekend as well!

  2. Nice captures of life as it happens! The reflection do add an interesting element as well Marcus! Hope your week is going well. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Amy, really appreciated! I barely made it into my weekend, it was a rough week. And next week brings another Portland trip. Well, at least my life isn’t boring! Have a great weekend! Marcus

      1. No, it surely doesn’t seem boring! Sorry to hear it was a rough week. I hope that next week treats you better!

  3. Hee hee. I was in a cafe downtown yesterday and was snapping pics of the street action and…..there was my son’s teacher and her husband. Yes, Oslo is a small town but I found it bizarre that I was capturing someone I know – and without their knowledge. I’m pretty shy about street photography. It’s hard….

    1. (I typically prefer to snap pics of people from the back or in a way where it’s not apparent who they are. Oh, and dogs. I like taking pics of dogs. But it’s hard for me to expose people in such a raw way if they haven’t consented.)

    2. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this, highly appreciated! Street Photography is a special genre, capturing and documenting street life as it happens. As a street photographer, the most important thing is to be respectful. I always try to be respectful in my photography. I would never shoot someone in a situation where I myself wouldn’t be comfortable of someone else shooting a street photo of me. I don’t do photos of homeless or junkies. I don’t take photos of couples that are recognizable (unless they consent). And you need to be conscious of the local laws. In the EU, privacy laws are very prohibitive to Street Photography, while in the US there are basically no limitations for photography and publication as long as you shoot outside in the public domain. But there is so much fun in interacting with the subjects and obtaining their consent, there is no reason to be shy….Marcus

    1. Thanks for commenting, Lisa, so much appreciated! As long as you are respectful and not exploitative and as long as you shoot people in the public domain and not in their homes there should be no problem. While in the US you are fine as a street photographer adhering to this criteria, the EU privacy laws are much more prohibitive and make street photography rather challenging. That said, a fun part of my street photography is the interaction with my subjects. You wouldn’t believe how open most people are if you ask them for permission to publish their portraits on a blog. I had so many fun dialogues coming from this. Marcus

  4. Marcus, I like every photograph in this post. That is a great way to get some compelling photos and very spontaneous. Shooting through the glass you created a surreal look in some of your photos. Great experience and wonderful photographs!
    Wish you a peaceful and nice week!

  5. Marcus, I like every photograph in this post. That is a great way to get some compelling photos and very spontaneous. Shooting through the glass you created a surreal look in some of your photos. Great experience and wonderful photos!
    Wish you a peaceful and nice week!

  6. Hm… I wouldn’t be all to happy to be photographed in this way. Borders on spying! 😉 I know they are there for everybody to see but still. I know, everybody has their own boundaries.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Manja. That’s the discussion around street photography in general. I want to capture street life as it happens, so my grand kids will one day be able to look at how life was before they were born. Just as I loved to look at the books and photos of my grand parents that showed how life looked like when they were young, about 90 years ago. Marcus

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: