If people watching is in your nature, you owe it to yourself to try some street photography. It can be addicting, and the fleeting moments you can capture will be one of a kind. It is a genre of photography similar to fishing. The more you enjoy the process, and the more you cast your reel out there (is this correct fishing terminology?), the more you will catch.
Time and experience trump everything due to the difficulty, and while perseverance is the only way to do street photography well, there are some important tips and strategies that can set you off in the right direction. Here are some of my favorites.
Travel light and with minimal gear
Many of you will have a DSLR and a mid-range zoom lens. While it is fine to shoot street photography with this equipment and many do (and even more start out this way), lightening your load will make a huge difference. You will have more energy, your coordination will be better, and you will be faster and more willing to explore. You will also be able to photograph in situations where you would not want to bring a large camera.
Not only are micro-4/3rds and mirrorless camera systems lighter, but they look less intimidating to the people you are photographing. If you have a DSLR, consider using a 35 or 50mm prime, or a pancake lens for these reasons. Fortunately, you do not need the fastest versions of these lenses, so it will not be quite as expensive. A 35mm f/2 is usually about half the size of a 35mm f/1.4, and Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 is both small and only $125.
Prime lenses will restrict you to a specific focal length, but this limitation can actually be quite freeing. By sticking to a focal length such as 35mm or 50mm (the two favorite lenses for most street photographers), you will learn to see how the lens sees.
You may miss out on certain moments by not having a zoom, but at the same time, you will be able to capture more quality images within the ideal distance for the lens that you are using. You will be quicker and more spontaneous with your camera. You will even start to think more about your perspective and framing without having the luxury of the zoom, and as the old saying goes, you will begin to zoom with your feet.