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FuelBooks Urban and Street Photography Tip: Be at the Right Place at the Right Time

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John Batdorff, author of Street Photography: A Guide to Finding and Capturing Authentic Portraits and Streetscapes, explains that knowing the best times and locations to find interesting people for street photography are critical.

Fuel Books

From the book

Keep in mind that people like routines (especially yours truly), even though we hate to admit it. We have schedules that we keep, hours that we work, places that we go… thus knowing the best times and locations to find interesting people for street photography are critical.

Early morning (5am to 7am) is a great time to photograph a city as it wakes up slowly. Drivers will be making deliveries and late-night shifts will be ending. The subways are filled with travelers headed to the airport or revelers coming home from a big night out. There are also quiet moments that can be found as storeowners enjoy their last cup of coffee before customers reach their steps.

Rush hour (7am to 10am) is an ideal time to photograph people scrambling to their destinations with the distractions of the day’s events filling their heads.

Lunch hour (12pm to 2pm) is a great time to capture moments of pause and laughter as co-workers and friends take a minute to discuss the day’s events. In some countries these extended siestas can provide great opportunities for image seekers.

Saturdays are some of my favorite days to photograph because they are crammed full of events that bring new people into the community, which means new faces and photographic opportunities. This is great day to pick an easy location by heading to nearby festivals, parades, markets, or events and enjoy the art of people watching with a warm cup of coffee and the camera in tow.

Sundays can be quiet and filled with people heading to church or enjoying a book and a moment of pause. It’s a great time to be on the lookout for young couples and families walking in the park. Sunday nights are some of my favorite to shoot on the street at night because most people are resting from the weekend and preparing to go to work the next morning. It’s a time to look for images that otherwise might be filled with chaos but now offer a quieter time to reflect.

For photographing people, nothing beats a Saturday in New York City’s Central Park.

ISO 125, 50mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec.

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