The Art of Street Photography

The art of street photography is about capturing the essence of your surroundings, capturing images of strangers and their surroundings in everyday life and documenting unique moments.

Camera & lens

For street photography, I use my Nikon Z fc with a 50mm f/1.2 lens. If I’m shooting on tight, or narrow streets, I will then use the 26mm f1.2. The Nikon Z fc system is a great street camera for me – it’s light and touchscreen, making for quick setting and focus changes..

Shutter speed and ISO

Normally, I’d have my ISO at 100 or 200, but with street photography you need to be quick to react to your surroundings. Set your shutter speed to 1/500 sec and ISO at 400, although on wet days, try ISO 800 and shutter speed of 1/750 sec or 1/1000 sec.


Aperture will depend on light conditions and time of day

  • f/16 for bright sunlight
  • f/11 for the sun with clouds
  • f/8 – f5.6 for overcast or shooting in shade
  • f/4 for evening or sunrise.


If you’re not confident with manually focusing on your subject, set the focus to auto and face tracking.  If your camera is has a touch screen, make sure you turn on the ability to “tap to focus.”

Get out and about

I love to walk the streets, looking for subjects to capture images of. My favourite is sitting at an outdoor table of a coffee shop, camera resting on the table, capturing images in an unassuming way or waiting for my subject to walk into frame.

If you want to learn the art of street photography then register for one of our workshops, beginners, advanced multi-day and artistic.

About Lesley Whyte

This article is written by Lesley Whyte, New Zealand’s only female street photography mentor and founder of Women in Photography.  Lesley  is a passionate photographer specialising in street and storytelling photography and a member of Australian Society of Street Photographers (ASSPI).