The most important thing….

….in Street Photography you ask?

140318 - Olympus Trip 35 - 5
Olympus XA2

Well, that’s a difficult question! There’s lots of important things in Street Photography (notice how I capitalise the words!).

There’s obviously the camera! Must be a Leica! Sure about that… or not?

Must be at least a rangefinder… weeeelllll, not so sure about that one either! An SLR will do nicely, thank you… or perhaps some compact camera.

The lens? No question, a 50mm! No, make that a 35… or a 28…

160721 - Kodak Tri-X - Leica IIIa - 024
Leica IIIa – Jupiter 8 50mm lens

Of course, it must be Film! Certain about that one!

Or digital perhaps?

But anyways, you must have a black camera!

Stealthy as hell, silent too! So you won’t be noticed! That’s a given! Or not? But a  silver camera will make you look like some tourist, they won’t take you seriously! Yes, that must be the secret of Street photography!

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Olympus Trip 35

But what was it again?

Rangefinder or SLR?

Leica or some other crap?

Black or silver?

Film or digital?

Canon AE-1 – 50mm f:1.8

Want me to tell you something, a secret! Come close, no, closer! Let me whisper it in your ear, just between us:

The secret to Street Photography is….. (looking around if nobody is eavesdropping)…. your bloody MIND!

Canon AE-1 – 50mm f:1.8

Yes, your mind! Simple as that!

Your mind has to be clean, calm, open. You must love people, love seeing them perform their daily rituals, going to work, shopping, being happy, being tired, being pissed off….

And you must be able to see the Defining (not decisive) Moment that makes the photo!

You must love human nature!

Olympus XA2

If you don’t, just stay at home! If you’re preoccupied, angry, troubled…. save your time and stay at home! Listen to some music, read a good book, go out for dinner… do something else!

But don’t try Street Photography!

If your mind is not open to the people you want to make photographs of, it’s no use trying. If you’re caught in your personal troubles, it won’t work! You must be open to the world, you must be in communion with your subjects.

iPhone 5s

And when you’re in communion with the world, your gear is the least of your preoccupations.

You’ll think Street Photography, you’ll feel Street Photography, you’ll live it!

Canon AE-1 – 50mm f:1.8

So in fact there’s no secret, really…… But wait, yes, there is one! I nearly forgot about it! I nearly forgot the most important thing in Street Photography:

Y O U R    S M I L E

Smile for all it’s worth, even if you have to force yourself.


Engage people, be unobtrusive by smiling, not by being furtive like some spook.

Because that smile will earn you your best photographs…. and it will make you feel good too!

Canon AE-1 – 50mm f:1.8

Just my opinion….

Thanks for visiting!

10 thoughts on “The most important thing….

Add yours

  1. A very good post, Frank! Agree with you almost 100% 😉
    I try to shoot street even if I’m troubled by life. It may be a way of escaping or reflecting or even relaxing. Otherwise, you are on spot! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good and honest post Frank. Openness plays a big role. I do think though that getting out there no matter what and trying capturing your feelings and views on the world is important. And a smile goes a long way of course

    Liked by 1 person

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