Street Photography to Me by Steve Huff (Video)

Street Photography to Me

by Steve Huff 


Many have asked me about doing a video on my thoughts about Street Photography. While I am FAR from an expert on shooting Street, I do in fact enjoy it and I enjoy the interaction with the subjects as well. Not everyone shoots the same way, and me, I prefer to go about it in a couple of different ways. So enjoy the video below as everything is explained there 🙂


  1. The crux of this video, as I look at it, has little to do with defining street shooting. What it is saying to me is, “This is the way I approach it”. Too much emphasis is often placed on the “decisive moment”, a la Cartier-Bresson.This is often misleading in such a way as to do harm to the creative process. In fact, Bresson would many times work the scene while later selecting his ‘decisive moment’ from a series of shots. Sometimes from an entire contact sheet of the same “moment”. See Eric Kim’s article, “Debunking the “Myth of the Decisive Moment” :
    The name of this post is “Street Photography To Me”. I think it’s quite clear to anyone that Steve, in this presentation, offers little or no attempt to impose his definition on anyone else. I didn’t get the sense that he was offering what he felt to be the definitive position, thus opening it up for a wasteful and impossible debate.
    He demonstrates products the same way. “This is why *I* like the Pen F!”
    “Are you saying it’s better than the Sony Alpha a7R II??”
    “No. I’m saying this is why I like this camera”
    At the end of the day it’s not about PenF or Sony. It’s not about street portrait, street photography, or decisive moment. It is, in fact, about enjoying the experience, responding to what catches your eye and taking the shot. After that, it’s where all roads eventually lead – – “Okay, spread ’em out! Let’s see what you got!”

  2. At last street photography is much more that what you intend.
    Despite the fact of posing (Diane Arbus used it for instance), it requires many skills and intelligence. Some on the part of visual education and others on the one of camera and situation handling.
    It can be expertised, as any other thing.
    The pity is that it’s become a kind of “everythingfitsinhere/whatIdoisart”.
    …whenever it’s still possible in that times

  3. I didn’t know that you ran one of those websites, I mistook here for a place where one could make an honest comment, I have to wonder how many other people have pointed out that what you’re doing here isn’t street photography but rather street portraits only then to have their comments deleted, I’m sure that you will delete this comment too but at lest you read it, I’m not a troll or a hater I just don’t think people shoulld claim they shoot street when they clearly don’t and then say that there is so much crap street photos being taken

    • I do not delete comments unless they have a personal attack. I guess you DID NOT watch or listen to the entire video. I say quite clearly that there are different types of shooting on the street. Different approaches and methods including what you are referring to as “street”. The funny thing is, there really is no definition of STREET photography. It started from Bresson wanna be’s who tried to copy his style (and still do today) and coined that term. Street Photography is anything you want it to be. It can include waiting for that special light and moment to capture. It can mean finding strangers to chat with and shoot, it can also mean having fun with it and interacting with the scene and crowd. It can mean different things to different people. I choose to shoot in two different ways, one, waiting for the moment and two, integrating with my surrounding and meeting new people..having fun with it. Street Photography IS NOT only about the “moment”. There are also no experts at it and most who say they are produce some pretty abysmal work that is boring to look at. There are only a couple people whose work I enjoy in this field. Vivian Maier shot in a couple of different styles herself. One, waiting for that decisive moment and two, interacting with her subjects and at times, even posing them (something I do not do). She is world famous now for her “street photography” yet she used many techniques of getting her image and many are indeed street portraits. You are not an expert, I am not an expert, no one is an expert. 99% of people doing this are just trying to copy the old style. I say “be original”

      • As I said there is nothing wrong with street portraits but it really is a world away from street photography, personally I see the thing to strive for is your own style as the isn’t much in the way of originality left, I’m pretty sure that not every photograph that Vivian Maier took was “street” much the same as many other well know street photographers.

        This isn’t a personally attack but street photography is unposed

  4. Thanks to all for the kind words. My styles my not be for everyone but remember, do what YOU like as that is what is most important 😉 Get out there and shoot, have fun and the more you do it, the more you learn and also the more confidence comes your way.

  5. Inspiring approach to street photography. Your photos and video taught me a thing or two. No matter how long one does photography there is no end for learning. Thank You.

  6. Nice to watch your video.
    Your approach and attitude is correct.
    That, and one’s eye, is what basicly matters.
    The decisive is not doing what others did, but instead express yourself.

  7. Every thing you said is right, Steve! Had a great time watching your feeling about street photography! A couple at St.Pb and a guy from Penn Station at NYC are the best!

  8. I loved this one! I want to see more of your photography, especially your streetphotography and I love to hear you out on your thoughts on approaching your subjects.
    Gimmie more!

    /David, sweden

  9. Really nice video! You are calm, interesting in your comment, give good insights, a bit laid back, what else to say, the Steve that I discovered 4 years ago!

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Excellent stuff Steve, too often Street Photography is seen as a “smash and grab” exercise, great to see a more symbiotic and respectful relationship, empathy for your subjects.
    Nice to see this vid getting some love on other blogs too!

    • If you think what Steve described as “the decisive moment”-street photography is just a smash and grab exersice you’re very much wrong. The much cited Henri Cartier Bresson, who even coined the term “the decisive moment”, would look at the geometry or objects of a scene, found the right framing and light and waited for the right subject. My take on “street” is that it’s all about telling the story of a place, and both the interactive method and the decisive moment method have their way of telling that story. It’s not wrong to take a picture through framing and waiting. It’s not wrong to take portraits. Hell, even smash and grab isn’t bad if you do it the right way.

      The only thing you should really do in street photography is letting it all come by the moment. Find the right scene under the right light. Sometimes you’ll see something and take a picture, at other times you’ll get in a conversation with someone and take their picture.

      • What I said was that most do it wrong. Id say 95% of “street” shooters do not wait for that moment, do not wait for the light and do not do anything special. This is why there are so many awful street photos out there today. Most indeed do “smash and grab” and that is the problem with it today. But there are many ways and approaches to street, and there is no one set in stone way to do it as we all have our own styles.

  11. I like that you engage your subjects.

    It is a transaction, the person is getting something in trade for that photo. It might be a kind word, a laugh, or just a bit of your attention.

  12. Very much enjoyed your take on street photography…..I had little interest in that form, yet was inspired by your midnight kiss in Russia

  13. Great video. Really enjoyed the stories. Maybe instead of street photography we could call it “social photography”? It really is about being in the moment, enjoying the experience, sharing with those around you and capturing it.

    • Great idea! I shoot ‘strangers’ in public places. Some of it is attempts at classic street photography some of it is something else. So I’m never quite sure what to label it. I do know it is frequently very social, and very fun and satisfying in a social way.

  14. Very honest and enjoyable evaluation of your own work.Some great photos.I loved this,your ideas and opinion without the accompanying BS.

  15. Cool vid Steve. I just got back from NYC and shot both digital and film. Just got the film developed. Waiting for the wife to get home so we can look at them together. Nervous about how they came out!! :)))


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.