Gear Offer Blog
Gear Offer Blog

The official Gear Offer Blog: For the love of photography.

I'm a software developer and photography enthusiast. I'm into street and documentary photography mostly. I'm also a co-founder of Gear Offer:


Gear Offer Blog

3 Subjects to Avoid in Street Photography

Don FitzsimmonsDon Fitzsimmons

'Ya know what's great about street photography? It's free-form. There are few rules and even the existing "rules" are subjective. That's one of the things that makes street photography fun. But, we all want to get better at street photography because learning and improving is also really fun.

Since joining several new Facebook groups centered around street photography, I have noticed a lot of shots posted that are sub-par. Not very good. Look, I take some terrible street shots on a regular basis. I don't post them online though. But, when you first start out, you'll do certain things that we all do when starting out, like shooting images behind people. Nobody wants to see people's backs. It's just not interesting.

Among the typical things a beginner street photographer will do is shooting the wrong subjects. I'm so guilty of this myself. After getting some experience under my belt, I now know what to shoot and what not to shoot when it comes to subjects. So what are the 3 subjects you should avoid shooting in street photography?

Homeless People

Anyone new to street photography will do this. Shooting images of homeless people on the street. I get it too. They're interesting and more importantly, they are usually stationary and easy to shoot. But that's the problem. It's too easy. So easy that anyone can do it and that makes these images boring. Not to mention, it's a bit cruel to walk around shooting images of people who have fallen on hard times.

There are images of homeless people that are great and some photographers have made projects out of shooting images of the homeless to their benefit. This isn't a hard and fast rule or anything. Just know, images of homeless people aren't typically compelling. Now, a homeless person doing something interesting, that can make a great image. But a guy laying on the ground sleeping, not so much.

Street Performers

Again, super easy because they're right there and they won't object to you pointing your camera at them in most cases (although they might try to swindle you out of some cash). Street performers are often interesting on their own but when you look at an image, it's usually not interesting because it's just too easy and anyone can do it.

People Staring at Phones

This is the one that bugs me the most of the 3. Again, we do it because it's easy and that makes a boring photo. An image of a person staring down at a device takes little skill. There are times when it can be interesting, like when the light coming off of the phone, shinning into the subject's face, is interesting, but those moments are few and far between.


I'm not saying these are concrete rules. They're my own personal rules. I do think that avoiding these 3 subjects will make your street images more interesting because you'll avoid the dull, common things that anyone can shoot. That's also not to say that all street photos should be difficult, but they should require some skill and thought.

I'm a software developer and photography enthusiast. I'm into street and documentary photography mostly. I'm also a co-founder of Gear Offer: