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So you want to take some street photos that have an edgy look to them, oh and you want to have some models in the shot.  Simple right? Not so fast, taking street photos with models is something that takes planning and a lot of communication.  As a beginner street photographer it’s important to know your own limitations and that of your models.  Let’s face it those amazing street fashion shots aren’t done by first time photographers.  So what are the best street photography tips you need to know for your first modeling shoot.

Let’s start off with some ground rules if you will. Where are you going to post these pictures?  Are you using these to help learn how to take better Instagram photos or is this for your portfolio?  Are you paying the models or is this a time for print gig that they are going to use for their modeling portfolio.  Will you need help to take these pictures like having an assistant.  The logistics to take street photos is an important thing to consider.  It’s not all fly by the seat of your pants and hope it works out. The more thought you put in to how the whole day is going to flow the better your shots will be.

The location or more often than not the locations for street photography are the most important consideration.  First can you setup and take pictures there, what type of activities go on in the area, what type of businesses are there, type of people etc…  All things to consider when picking a location.  Don’t under estimate your surroundings and how that will affect the comfort of the models and yours too.  Most of your shots will pick up only small elements of the area you’re taking pictures in so don’t get to hung up on the perfect location.

Do you have a photography style?  Do you know it like the back of your hand?  Knowing your style is essential in controlling the flow.  When on location taking street photos it’s important to understand your own working style and the style of photos you’re looking for.  Time is essential when taking street photos, very much like taking nature pictures.  You may even want to read these nature photography tips to better master your skills and be ready for the day.

Practice your craft and learn various techniques to shooting models and apply them to taking street photos.

That’s a great question, what lens should you use?  This is partly answered by your style and if you’re going to have any help the day of your street photo shoot.  My recommendation is to stick with a prime lens such as a 50mm.  This will cover 2 very important requirements when taking street photos.  First you’ll take pictures that have focal lengths similar to how we see the world, so it will be pleasing.  The second is that most primes have great shallow depths of field and solid bokeh.  This will help to blur out things on the street that you might not want in your photo.  Again street photography is about creating a look and feel.

Your model is going to be standing out in the open striking a pose.  This is going to cause some commotion in the street and in turn apply more pressure to the model.  Your model can quickly become self-conscience if not prepared.  It’s like taking prom graduation pictures and trying to get your subject, model, at ease.

Take some time to talk with your model before the shoot and make sure she has the right outfits easily at hand.  You can’t and don’t want to slow the process down with wardrobe changes or last minute makeup issues.

Taking street photographs with models can be very rewarding.  The look you get is something you simply can’t replicate in studio or Photoshop.  Taking your time to plan out the shoot with location scouting, getting the right model and knowing your style will go a long way.  Try as many different techniques for taking pictures before you head out that day.  If you’re shooting in the winter know what camera settings work in winter and make sure you have nailed that before going out.


Recently I purchased the Fujifilm X-T30 specifically for street photography. With only a few weeks shooting on the streets I have to say that this is an amazing camera for urban photography.  It might just be the best Fuji street camera out there.  Now granted I haven’t used all the cameras but when I listen to reviews of this body versus the X-T3 and others I have to assume that this is reall one of the best cameras they make for street photography.

Have a question? I’d like to hear your feedback on what you’ve learned when taking street photos with or without models.  We can all learn something new.

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