Street style

Photography Guide

Want to improve your street style photography & break into the scene? Marcs have put together a guide covering shooting, lighting and editing to help lift your game

Aussie bloggers Steph Kramer of Watermelon Crush, Dana Sherwood of Running in Platforms, Ally Hayward of Substance Blog and street style snapper Karen Woo have lent their wisdom below.

Let’s take a look at the foundations of great street style photography.

Take a look
#1 The gear
The Gear

Using the right gear can make a big difference when shooting street style photography. A DSLR camera with the right lens combination will always give you the best results, but it’s not vital. There are a lot of great alternatives out there with many DIY bloggers and street style experts using compact digital cameras or even smartphones to capture images.

If easy and instant access to social media is important to you, you can have the best of both worlds. Canon, Nikon and Samsung all have camera’s that are wi-fi enabled or facilitate social sharing, though a mobile-friendly USB cable will also do the trick.

"Every photographer has their unique style of shooting, so it depends on the style of imagery you want to create for Street Style photography. Yeah we tend to debate between the Canon and Nikon camera brands as well. As for me, I've chosen to use Nikon camera gear because I'm after sharp and vivid colour. However, I used to shoot in Canon and I do like the softness it creates. Definitely invest in a reliable DSLR camera, maybe two (always have a backup camera) and I switch between using portrait lens like 85mm because I don't like to distort my images or use zoom lens 70-200mm so I can quickly zoom in and out. These are my most used lens."


#2 Choosing the right location
Choosing the right location

Once you’ve decided what gear you’re using, you need to choose the right locations; this is key to the overall look and feel of the images.

Always have the background at the forefront of your mind. Make sure you keep an eye out for any objects that are creeping into your shot such as bins or street lights, and try to avoid any patterned backgrounds as they’ll take focus away from your models. Popular locations for street style photography include parks, pedestrianised streets and squares.

"I believe there is no recipe to determine good street style photography, rather it occurs when style is captured in its natural environment. Keep it light-hearted and casual, where you can draw inspiration from the ambience around you. Head to creative places, such as a music festival, outside a fashion event or marketplace, where you are bound to find a vast array of individuality. Outfit, location and individual flair combine to form the overall aesthetics of an image and this shouldn't be confined to a particular street or coloured wall. If you’re ever lacking ideas for your own street style, I recommend scrolling through Tommy Ton’s collections - his work is truly inspiring!"


"I like to mix up my locations a lot. My locations are based on where I am that day. I love a plain, yet interesting wall. I love a beautiful beach setting and I always like including people in the background to if it’s an “out and about” type image. When in doubt a simple white wall or on the street always works.

Always make sure you’re shooting later in the day for softer light!"


#3 Lighting

If there's one thing that'll really make your photos stand out from the crowd, it's getting the lighting right.

Generally, some of the best results can be achieved by shooting either earlier or later in the day. Midday sun when it’s at its highest point can create harsh shadows or overexposed images. If you are shooting in bright sunlight, try and pick a neutral background to avoid light hitting anything behind your setup and causing overexposure.

"Lighting is extremely important to me. I'm always looking for pockets of light or where the light is facing or hitting the subject. I don't mind shooting at night too for a bit of moodiness, just use available street light. Having said that, shooting street style is best in daylight.

The best time to shoot is morning, 9-11am, and late afternoon 4-7pm... Depending on the season. Perhaps checking the weather forecast to determine where the sun will be facing. Never shoot in harsh light because the highlights on the images will blow out, especially a white shirt or sequined top! If that's the case, try turning the subject around so the light is behind the subject, it makes beautiful backlit images."


#4 Perfecting your shots
Perfecting your shots

When you’re taking street style photos, it’s important to spend some time setting them up. Since this type of photography is all about showing off your model's outfit, try and make sure you frame your shot correctly, so you don't crop out any important parts of the look. Try using a vertical frame rather than horizontal, avoid cutting off the head or feet, and try not to use high or low angles as this will distort the proportions.

Get your models to act naturally throughout the shoot. Move away from any forced poses and use some action shots like crossing a road or taking a call. It’s unlikely you’ll get the perfect shot straight away so be prepared to keep shooting for as long as you possibly can.

Last but not least, have a think about what your photo is trying to communicate.

"Make something in the photo your focus, or red thread, so to speak. It might be a colour, a shape or a mood that you want to portray - and make that the key to your composition. Storytelling is everything with photography, tell it loud and tell it well."


#5 Smartphone Street Style Photography
Smartphone Street Style Photography

One of the benefits of shooting on a smartphone is that it’s always with you. If you spot the right model or location, it’s easy to pull out your phone and capture a great image.

However, camera phones won’t take a picture the instant you press the button. While the delay is only a fraction of a second, when trying to catch something quickly it’ll make a big difference. Try using the burst feature on your smartphone so you can take multiple pictures and choose the best ones later on.

"We’re lucky to carry around our own personal photography companions on a daily basis. The smartphone will absolutely suffice for close detail shots and on-the-go images, however, if you are after a wider and more complete street style look, I would recommend utilising the depth of image quality that a camera provides!"


#6 Retouching

Taking a picture is just the beginning. To give your pictures that high quality, glossy feel, you’ll need to edit them before posting to Instagram or uploading to your blog.

With street style photography, you don’t usually have a huge amount of time to compose a shot, so retouching the contrast and lighting later on will make all the difference. There are some fantastic pieces of software out there such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as Apple’s Aperture, with tutorials easily found on YouTube.

If you’re taking street style photography on your smartphone, consider using the VSCO Cam app to retouch your photos. With a whole host of filters and tools that are far superior to those on your phone and Instagram, you can make your photos look like they’re magazine-ready with ease.

"I shoot most of my Instagram images on my Fuji x100 or JD’s Canon. If I do have to use my iPhone I always take it into an app like Snapseed or VSCO to make adjustments.

General rule of thumb for me is to never use iPhone images for IG at night - they don’t respond well to low-light situations and tend to be really grainy."


However, confidence and comfort are as important to your photography as they are to your personal style.

"Use something that you're comfortable with. If that's just whacking a filter on through Instagram, or playing around with it in VSCO Cam, or going the full distance and taking it through a Photoshop session - then so be it. Photography is about sharing little pieces of you and what you see, so let that shine through your editing."