Street Photography Quick Tip (19)

back of three prom girls

Street Photography Quick Tip 19 – Shoot their backs

Here is the nineteenth edition of my Street Photography Quick Tips. Some 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 shooting the backs of your subjects

Looking Down

There are quite a few serious street photographers who will tell you (and everyone else) that you don’t shoot people’s backs. That photographs showing the back side of people just aren’t serious street images.

But what if it is just the shot from behind that is telling the story of the photograph? Or if the lighting is just gorgeous and the image has this cinematic air to it, as in the title photo of this post?

For sure there are photographers that want to shoot in the streets and who aren’t (at least not yet) brave enough to point their camera into the direction of people’s faces and making eye contact before they press the shutter. To get your feet wet in street photography it is perfectly fine to start shooting inconspicuously from behind.

Playing a guitar for himself

And there are some street photographers who don’t want to post images that show recognizable faces of people due to privacy laws. And so they don’t even bother taking photos from up front.

Photograph of a couple standing in front of an art installation providing life advice

Whatever the reason, it is perfectly fine to shoot street photos showing only people’s back sides. But if you do it, make sure you still shoot a strong and interesting image. Let your photograph tell an interesting story, or show your viewers great composition and lighting. Avoid those boring shots of people just walking down a street. Because these all be just that…boring images that no one will care to look at.

Fireworks at Berlin Pyronale
Travel Love

So take your cam, hit the streets and look for scenes where you deliberately want to shoot the backs of your subjects. And have fun with it!

If you are looking for more tips and inspirations around street photography, head to my free Learning Center.

Wish you a great Monday, and stay safe!


Related Posts:

Street Photography Quick Tip 7 – Work the Scene

Street Photography Quick Tip 14 – Shoot upwards and tilted for more dynamic street portraits

Instant Inspiration (11) – Change of Perspective

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

28 thoughts on “Street Photography Quick Tip (19)

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  1. I’m currently binge-reading your tips and I’m planning to apply them to my street photography adventures here in the Philippines. Specifically, yes, I have tons of street photos shooting backs of people. 🙂

  2. What a great idea! I’ve never really considered the impact of these shots of backs, but it makes the subject (what’s in front) seem even more important. My fave this time is the one of the people in front of the lighted words.

  3. I have always enjoyed the “back” perespective. Not that I don’t from the front but in the previous case, the story is even more compelling because the surroundings are in focus.

  4. Great advice Marcus. I think the key is to make photos with intent – back shots or even front shots should add to the picture – as your excellent examples show.

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