How to photograph the street: Use camera presets to photograph on the fly 

  • © Sean Cayton / All Rights Reserved
Sometimes life comes at you fast. In street photography, that’s doubly true.

On my trip to NYC, I decided to photograph some of the goings on in SOHO and around the FlatIron District. It was the weekend and there were thousands of people roaming the streets of New York.

It’s not alway easy to make compelling street photographs by just standing and waiting for something to happen. Sometimes you need to be prepared to move quickly.

In cases like this, I like to preset my camera and take pictures on the fly.

I pick a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action ideally 1/250th or fast and an fstop of f4 or higher that allows me enough depth of field that I can take a photograph knowing that it will be in focus.

Finally, I pick a distance for my focus and I try and keep that focal distance the same as I walk around.

Doing this allows me great freedom. I can snap away without looking through my viewfinder. As I see a moment develop in front of me I can point and press the shutter.

Sometimes on the street my instinct kicks in and I just take a picture without thinking too much about it. Other times, I carefully compose the image and go from there.

When I go back to look through the images, I can choose the ones that I like best. Because this is street photography, I'm never worried about funky shots that break all of the official rules of composition. That's what makes it so much fun!
Here are some examples of street photography on the fly. Let me know what you think and if you’d like to include a link to some of your own street photographs, I will stop by and leave a comment.

Happy Shooting!

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.


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