A Guide to Mobile Street Photography


Mobile devices have been used to capture images that touch people’s curiosity. Oliver Lang, co-founder of Mobile Photography Network said, “I believe that mobile photography is an incredibly personal journey, shared by millions of people around the world.” Street photography can make that shared connection more powerful. A good mobile street photographer can give valuable insights to lives, evoke emotions and give the viewers a perspective on the human condition.

Mobile Street Photography 1

Photo credit: Ed Sweeney

What Makes a Good Mobile Street Photographer?

There are so many mobile devices to choose from. It would certainly help if you have the newest device. We have read about the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel camera, which is the largest in the mobile market so far. It would certainly produce clear and sharp images when taking snaps on the street.

Now that you have your photography gear set up, it’s time to go out and find a subject. It is best that you set one of your phone’s shortcuts to camera after unlocking it. This would lessen the time that you spend fiddling with the menu of your phone to turn the camera on. Keep your applications on the front menu as well.

Mobile Street Photography 2

Photo credit: Jesus Leon

Keep it quiet. Discretion is very important in the streets, especially if you are planning to take candid photos. Keeping things in low profile sets the mood of a more natural looking photograph. It allows you to capture real emotions as they happen. Along with being discreet comes respect. Do not take photographs of people just because you can do so without being noticed. Think of the message that you want to send across.

Another basic but important thing that you have to remember is having enough power. Charge your battery before you go out for a shoot. Don’t forget to bring extra ones if you think that you will be out for a long time. Looking for a place to charge your battery takes out precious time and you might miss out on great opportunities.

One of the golden rules in street photography is quality over quantity. Remember that not every shot is worth sharing. Follow your instincts. Opportunities and street moments happen randomly and fleetingly. If you feel like taking a shot, take it. You can delete unusable photos at a later time. You can also choose to be patient and wait for the right moment. Observe people and what they are doing. Look at the surroundings and see if you can incorporate the things around you to tell a story.

The Good and the Exceptional

There is nothing wrong about taking photographs of common things that you find interesting. Make your images stand out by showing passion, creativity and social relevance. Composition is the key to creating powerful images. Let your photos transport your audience to the world that you presented to them.

Mobile Street Photography 3

Photo credit: Geraint Rowland

Are you new to street photography or are you experiencing some creative block? Try hunting for some of these items to help you take that phone out of your pocket and start shooting again.

  • Look for items that cast interesting shadows
  • Reflections
  • Children playing
  • People waiting for a bus
  • Train station
  • Feet
  • Looking outside the frame
  • Heads turned back
  • Traffic
  • Empty streets

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