When using a DSLR on the streets and your subjects are human (not architecture), leave those multi-focus long telephoto lenses at home. Prime, single focus lenses 35 to 50 mm, 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8’s rule on the streets! They’re small and unobtrusive and focus fast when you don’t want to make a fuss in some tight urban situations.

Remember, fast aperture lenses provide great background blur and isolation, making your subjects pop when those amazing street moments with mankind happen!

Get your camera ready for the action before it happens. I always like to take a few quick test shots at a random object to get my exposure and focus right, a light post or street sign will do at about the same height or distance I expect my subjects to be. The odds are good I’m walking the same street where building shadows and sunlight will be in the same place for at least a city block, and something interesting in the human flow of life might happen!

Having your exposure set in advance really helps. This simple preparation will go a long way in helping you nail that epic street capture. Many magic moments are lost while fumbling around with camera settings, not observing the streets, and not being aware how the light might affect your potential subjects.

Prepare a little in advance and have a great time!

All the best,
Mark Jansen