Street Photography is a subject that fascinates me. I’m in complete awe of the work that many of today’s mobile photographers put out there on a daily basis. However, although street photography is something that has captured my imagination, I have to admit, it is an area that I feel doesn’t come naturally to me. It is an area I need to work on. Maybe I’m not bold enough, maybe I’m too passive in my approach or need to slow down and observe more.

Whatever it is I thought that on my quest to push and develop my mobile street photography it would be good to ask a selection of my favourite photographers for their views and opinions on what makes a good street photographer and what their top mobile street photography tips would be… This is what they had to say.

Thomas Kakareko

Thomas Kakareko is a mobile street photographer from Berlin. He is a prominent figure in the mobile photography communnity who started taking mobile photos shortly after Instagram was launched without having had any previous background in photography.

“In the very beginning I was taking photos of almost everything that crossed my lens before I discovered my love for street photography. When I take candid photos of strangers it’s all about capturing emotions. I don’t care if they seem to be good or bad they just have to be real. This is also the main reason for me to take photos with a mobile device. If I would use a proper camera people would be aware of the fact that I’m taking their photo and probably act differently. Shooting mobile gives me the ability to take photos without being noticed and this is crucial for my approach on streetphotography. “

mobile street photography by Thomas Kakareko

What do you think makes a good street photographer?

For me it’s most important to keep my eyes open. It might sound easy but it takes a lot of practice and patience. So when I’m on my way I always have my iPhone in my hand and try to find and capture those moments that most people just don’t see because they are too busy with everyday life. A good street photographer should never publish photos of people in unflattering situations. He should try to develop a consistent style and still be able to go beyond his routine every now and then. He must always be ready to take this one special shot.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. You should always keep your lens clean. I had to delete so many great photos because of this issue.
  2. Also you should always carry an additional battery pack with you. You will regret it so much when you find an interesting moment and your phone just dies.
  3. But mainly you should just try to enjoy the whole process of taking street photos. Even after almost three years of shooting in Berlin I still keep finding places that I’ve never been to before.
  4. Keep smiling and shoot away.

Connect with Thomas Kakareko

Instagram | Eyeem | Flickr | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin | Kakareko.me | Visumate.com

mobile street photography by Thomas Kakareko

Lee Thatcher

Lee Thatcher lives in Peterborough, a small city in the UK about an hour or so from London and has made a name for himself as a mobile photographer who constantly produces some striking and gritty black and white photography.

“I enjoy street photography as there is no shortage of material, if you run out of subjects to shoot just wait a few moments and its all new again. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was that kept me going back to the streets time after time to shoot strangers until i read something recently and it just clicked. It’s about that moment of truth. The split second of someone reacting or just being. That second if you catch it is like seeing the person as they really are. Thats what i like, the moment of truth.”

mobile street photography by Lee Thatcher

What do you think makes a good street photographer?

Passion. You’ve got to love what you do. Look forward to it, plan for it, get excited about it and then lose yourself in it.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. Be ready. The moment you want to catch may be so fleeting, don’t leave it to chance by not having your camera ready.
  2. Be calm. Relax and smile, enjoy the time you have out on the streets. When you’re relaxed you see things differently, and people behave differently towards you. You will get closer to your subject and i engaging with people is your thing then that will be easier if you have a smile and you sound enthusiastic and excited about what your are doing.
  3. Slow down. I used to rush everywhere when I walked, like getting around the streets was the end goal. It wasn’t until i realised that it was all about the journey, it was the experience of the walk itself. By slowing down i gave myself time to see things, to compose shots better and get into a position that was advantageous for both light and background so the distractions were removed or became part of the shot.
  4. Don’t worry about the camera, whether you shoot with an iPhone, a Samsung, a Nokia or even an old iPod Touch, just go shoot. Use the constraints of the device to your advantage, if it’s low resolution get close, if it doesn’t handle light properly, think about how to get every bit of light you can on the subject or embrace the limitation and go grainy and gritty.
  5. Go look at photography. Be it traditional photography or mobile photography, its all just photography. Enjoy it all.

Connect with Lee Thatcher

Leethatcher.com | Instagram | Eyeem | Flickr | Google+

mobile street photography by Lee Thatcher

Brad Puet

Brad Puet or BP as many know him, lives in Seattle, WA and runs the wearejuxt.com website and mobile community that surrounds it. Outside of shooting street (which he admits he hasn’t done in quite a while this summer) he also runs a domestic violence program for 2 counties.

“I’ve always had my hand in the arts but am fairly new to the visual arts. I’ve been a long time spoken word poet and used to teach spoken word and hip hop in local high schools. My brother and many of my friends are the visual storytellers and so I knew what I liked and disliked based on what they expose me too.

I found my own visual side once a friend shared with me what he was doing with his first gen iPhone. I remember getting my first iPhone and downloading Tiltgen and Camerakit. Both we’re my fave at the time.

My approach is really based on what I have in my head. Writing poetry I had a lot of shit in my head. Getting it out on paper was therapeutic. Now that I’m shooting with a camera, the poetry is kind of in my head and now it translates in how I capture people. Like most street shooters, I try to capture the mundane and normal and have that translate to a story in my photos. I love the candid shots and I also love doing the photojournalistic and documentary style photography. So not only do I try to translate the poetry in my head, but I try to document what’s happening on the streets.”

Drive By by Brad Puet

‘Drive By’ by Brad Puet

What do you think makes a good street photographer?

Bold and fearless. Insightful and charismatic.

For me I believe that these things make a great street shooter. Someone who can see a shot, foresee the next moment and then capture that moment. The charisma comes from being able to talk to people. You can literally talk to them or (as I see in street) we are already communicating and having internal conversations with our subjects.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. Be ready. Be ready. Be ready.
  2. Always look for that moment/story.
  3. Admire it, learn from others, practice.
  4. Enjoy it.
Orange by Brad Puet

Orange by Brad Puet

Connect with Brad Puet

Twitter | Instagram | Starmatic | EyeEm | Backspaces | Facebook | Wearejuxt.com

Maurice by Brad Puet

Maurice by Brad Puet

Dilsahd Corleone

Dilshad Corleone lives in London and even though he has only been a mobile photographer for a short time he has became known for his unique style of street photography and insightful writing on websites such as We Are Juxt and Theappwhisper.

“Albeit I am in love with the old 35mm format, I consider myself to be a true iPhoneographer, or better a mobile-photographer, for I still do not have a big camera, never had one, actually. I started photographing just a year ago and I can’t stop! I had my work exhibited internationally and recently I was flown to Barcelona to shoot a video promoting mobile photography. My style, or better, my approach is that of shoot first and don’t ask later. I constantly keep looking and scanning the streets when I am out and about and if I see something that I fall in love with, that happens quite often, I just have to capture it. Sometimes, however, I will stop and talk to the people that I have photographed and this has allowed me to get to know incredible characters and their amazing life stories, stories that are truly compelling. “

mobile street photography by Dilshad Corleone

What makes a good street photographer?

Ah! This is a question that I’ve been trying to answer myself, and I keep asking all the time! I would think that you have to have an innate curiosity, that you never stop looking and that you always keep experimenting and never stop learning.

What are your top street photography tips?

Please bear in mind, I am no expert and there are some truly great photographers around that can tell you a lot more than me.

Based on this I would definitely recommend you to find your favorite street photographer and look at his/her photographs, spend some serious time just looking and analyzing and absorbing what the great ones have done! They are always a true source of inspiration!

  1. Don’t be afraid, nor be timid! Get as close to your subject as possible! You are not doing anything wrong! And try different angles, bend on your knees, stand higher… try it all!
  2. Keep looking, observe and take your time to do this, all the time, there are so many opportunities that one can miss by just switching off, so be always alert.
  3. Find what you like, shoot when you feel, there are moments that you will just say: “I’ll do it later or I cannot reach my phone/camera just now”, well, then you may have just missed some great photos. So shoot, shoot and shoot and do it with your heart and your gut!
  4. Look for the light, play with it and create silhouettes of people! And when you see a character that you want to snap, be creative, or just be honest and ask permission. If you are timid, however, fake a phone call, talk louder so that he/she can hear you, and keep getting closer, once you are close enough tell your imaginative friend that you are checking your messages and will put him on hold for one second – at that point you can start snapping to your heart’s content! Done!
  5. Have fun and let me know how you get on!

Connect with Dilshad Corleone

Instagram | EyEem | BackSpaces | Flickr | www.italianbrother.com | Youtube

mobile street photography by Dilshad Corleone

Mark T Simmons

Mark T Simmons lives in London and when not working in the heart of this vibrant city he is out shooting the streets and characters on it. Although he is another new face to the mobile photography scene he has very quickly attracted a lot of attention and is regularly featured on several leading websites. He is also a columnist here on Mobiography where he asks photographers what photo they are most proud of.

“My mobile photography is predominantly based in London. It is this city that has most strongly affected my approach to street photography. Here, people move quickly with very little care for others around them and in a city with such a large number of cctv surveillance cameras, most people do not like being caught on film (or the digital equivalent). As someone aiming to capture a scene or a specific moment, if you are not quick enough and do not display the necessary amount of confidence, you will be eaten up in this place.”

The Blue Pill by Mark T Simmons

The Blue Pill by Mark T Simmons

What makes a good street photographer?

For me, a good street photographer is someone who captures a scene that resonates on an emotional level with the viewer.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. Let the photo tell the story. Although there are those who are great at providing detailed descriptions and background information to their work, I believe images are best left open to interpretation and being allowed to speak for themselves. I once posted an image on Flickr called “There Are Moments When We Are Ultimately Alone” and because I was concerned that it could be perceived as me taking advantage of someone’s distress, I posted a description about what was actually taking place in the shot. Looking back, I wished I hadn’t done that. If people don’t like it, don’t look at it.
  2. Don’t post everything you shoot. I post constantly on Flickr, but I still won’t put up more than one image a day. I see a lot of people post 3, 4, 5 images almost everyday. I have never seen a photographer post that amount of images on a constant basis and not have some weaker images within them. Once a weaker image makes its way into your stream, you lose the affect those really great ones can have.
  3. Find a great backdrop. Once you have that, the rest takes care of itself.

Connect with Mark T Simmons

Flickr | Twitter

There Are Moments When We Are Ultimately Alone by Mark T Simmons

There Are Moments When We Are Ultimately Alone by Mark T Simmons

Tracey Renehan

Tracey Renehan is an Austrailian living in Stockholm, Sweden and has only been shooting street photography for approximately one year.

“I am very interested in people and have always enjoyed watching them. Shooting street photography seems like a natural extension of my interest in people. I enjoy other genres of photography, however street photography is absolutely the most thrilling. I love the kick of finding interesting subjects and the excitement of trying to get a great shot. “

Mobile Street photography by Tracey Renehan

What do you think makes a good street photographer?

I think a good street photographer captures images that evoke emotions or grabs your attention leaving you wanting to know more. Images they take might: tell a story, document an event, capture the essence of where they are shooting, capture interesting candid expressions or interactions between people. Street photographers are present to fleeting moments of life and preserve them. They have trained their eye to observe and capture life on the streets as it happens. It doesn’t just stop there, a good street photographer also considers other elements, such as composition, perspective, light and shadow, post-processing, and how these elements can enhance the images he or she takes.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. Ask yourself what it is you like about street photography and why you want to shoot it. Put yourself on the street and scout out the types of images you like to look at.
  2. Shoot often and shoot more than one shot. Work the scene. Recently I got “the” shot after I thought I was done shooting the subject. Luckily I turned around to see the subject peeking around a corner at a beautiful young woman.
  3. Learn from mistakes and shoot to improve your skills not just with the technical aspects of photography, but also in recognising what makes a good image.
  4. Train your observation skills, take your time and be patient. Recently I asked @BrainyArtist on EyeEm how he managed to get his timing so perfect. He has an uncanny ability to shoot at the most perfect moment. He told me to observe, have patience and these moments will present themselves. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this, but his images certainly drove home the importance of not just quickly shooting one shot before dashing off to find the next subject. If I’m honest I have a tendency to shoot fast and leave and it is something I’m currently working on to change.

Connect with Tracey Renehan

Eyeem | Flickr | iPhoneart.com | Google+

Mobile Street photography by Tracey Renehan

Rob Pearson-Wright

Rob Pearson-Wright lives in London, UK and works for his family’s architectural ironmongery business. When not taking or editing pictures, he admits his other pleasures in life are playing Ultimate Frisbee, going inline street skating, writing stories or producing music.

“I got into mobile photography seriously in June 2012 and have been addicted since then. I think I was naturally drawn to street photography because of where I live. London offers such scope for material to draw from. Its’ bustling streets, the diversity of the population, the architecture all make it easy to find characters and locations to tell or suggest stories in a single shot.

I like to shoot candidly and capture people going about their lives. I try to take shots that show all levels of emotion, from elation to depression and the full range of life’s experiences from the quirky to the mundane. “

The Shame by Rob Pearson-Wright

The Shame by Rob Pearson-Wright

What do you think makes a good street photographer?

A good street photographer should possess an insatiable curiosity for the world around them and a keen sense of observation. An opportunity for an image might be about to unfold so judging situations and their possible outcomes is vital.

They have both the patience to wait the shot out as well as quick wits to capture the fleeting moment. Having a calm disposition and the ability to blend in and seem invisible are also useful. They should be bold without being aggressive and not be afraid to take pictures of any subject.

Above all they should be storytellers who can make us relate to something in the picture on an emotional level. I think that knowing the history of street photography and studying the images of past and present great street photographers has given me a solid grounding to define my own style.

What are your top street photography tips?

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. This can’t be overstated. You’ll need them!
  2. Make sure that your flash is off and that any shutter sound is muted. If you’re shooting candidly you don’t want either of them to go off and give the game away.
  3. Try to tell a story. The old adage of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ very much applies. Aim to capture a scene that will trigger an emotional reaction in the viewer.
  4. Get in close to your subject. Real close. However, respect their personal space. You want to capture the emotion or the details of their expressions to help tell the story. I use the trick of pretending to make a phone call, sidle right up to my subject, take enough shots for coverage using my volume button as a trigger and then walk off muttering something about why my imaginary friend isn’t answering my call.
  5. Always be observant and always be ready. Have your phone primed and ready to go. Have enough spare memory on your phone to reduce shutter lag. Pick your chosen camera app and leave it open. That way if your phone goes into sleep mode you can wake it up and get your shot quickly. The decisive moment won’t wait for you.
  6. Play with light. Bathe your subject in it or use it to silhouette them. Find the angles for interesting shadows or just highlight one area of the image. Experiment.

Connect with Rob Pearson-Wright

Flickr | EyeEm | iphoneart.com | Instagram | Facebook

Just a bit to the left by Rob Pearson-Wright

Just a bit to the left by Rob Pearson-Wright

What are your top tips?

I think you’ll agree there are a lot of useful tips and advice contained above, all backed up with some fantastic street photography. The main takeaway for me would be slow down, observe, look for the light and shadows and enjoy yourself.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below along with any of your own top mobile street photography tips that have helped improve the quality of your own street work.

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