By Steve Huff
I have always been intrigued by street photography. It was not until I bought my first Leica M, an M7, that I started to shoot people going about their daily routine. These days, so many photographers gear up and hit the streets to capture a daily slice of life. Many street shooters believe in NO interaction with the subjects. I mix it up a bit and sometimes I may give some eye contact, a nod or even have a chat before taking the photos. It all depends on the person and surroundings. The #1 thing with street shooting is you have to drop your fear of shooting people in public. Just take a stroll, camera in hand, and don’t be afraid to capture the world around you.
I am no expert on street, far from it but if you want to shoot and capture life as it happens all you have to do is “DO IT”. If the is something that you want to do, shoot every day and every day push yourself further and further untie your courage and confidence is up. I have not had any bad experiences and I have shot in the USA and many other countries. Confidence is key!
A video with my narration on some of the photos you will see below..
All shots below were captured with my camera of choice, the Leica M9. Also, some later photos were also captured with the wonderful Fuji X100, Leica Monochrom and Leica M 240.
Tallinn Estonia 2011
Pula Croatia 2011
The next two shots were taken in Scottsdale AZ in December of 2010 with a Ricoh GXR
St. Petersburg Russia 2011 – M9 and 35 Summicron
Hi, Steve. I come from he future. The year is 2020 and you still rock.
Some really timeless classics in there
Amazing work!! I’ve just opened a brand new photo studio in Los Angeles with amazing backgrounds, natural light and tons of props. Feel free to come and shoot here next time you are in Downtown Los Angeles! It’s called LAvish Studios http://www.LAvishPhotoStudios.com
All the best,
I wonder which lenses you use. Many seem about 35mm, but e.g. the first of Pula seems to be light tele. Would you share the info about focal length?
For these they range from 35mm to 50mm. That’s it.
Next time you’re in NYC, email. We’ll stand on 57th, and 5th, where Garry stood. Then have a chat with Laurence Miller, who hung with Winogrand.
People in collectivist countries like China don’t give a flying fuck if you photograph them, or even their children.
The best bit of advice I was given by Roger Hicks, regarding Street Photography, was: don’t act as if you are doing anything wrong! Likewise, I wait until interesting people walk towards me, camera goes up to my eye and click. I carry on walking. Few seem to notice my little camera, it’s a Leica model 111 made in 1935 with a 3.5cm f3.5 Summaron lens on it. Although the built-in viewfinder is for 5th, I find the 3.5cm lens gives greater coverage as well as improved depth of field. The camera is very discrete in use, I made a wrist strap out of cord and the camera fits in my hand. You can currently pick bodies up in Blighty for as little as £199.
Brilliant photos , NYC one’s are my favourite – that city would have to be the epicentre of the world for street photographers!!!
that’s not street photography that’s air-hostess photography mate.
LEICAs ARE NOT SEEN! My own experiences prove it. Using a pair of black M4-P bodies with 28/35/50 lenses set to Hyperfocal distance settings on the first two, nobody takes any notice of me, here in Britain. Using my ancient black Nikon F and a 35 and it attracts attention. However, I also have a chrome F with waist level finder. It was put together as part of a Nikon F travel outfit, leaving a Photomic head at home and swapping Photomic head with WLF when film ran out. Good weight saver. I decided to try street shooting with the F + WLF by looking down into the camera rather than holding it up to my eye. Again, few if anyone took any notice of me. I agree entirely about confidence. I had decided that if anyone gave me grief when out with my black F, I’d simply hit them in the face with it. This never happened. I’m not big, 5′ 9″ and 42, but I do not take crap from ne-er do well Chav thicko’s. Although in this country you have to bear in mind that there are a lot of what the USA calls welfare. We call them benefit claimants. Our system is that if you can claim to be seriously I’ll, or seriously disabled, you get loads of cash for doing nothing. Often, all it takes is filling in a lot of forms. Plenty of opportunity for telling lots of lies. However, the Government Department that is responsibility for administering this system does get suspicions and anonymous tip-offs! So the benefit fraud investigators follow people, watch them and take photographs as evidence. For example, Peter Dudley (false name) says he cannot walk. He is seen jogging around the park. If he sees a street shooter in action, he thinks he is being spied upon. These scenarios have to be borne in mind.
Your Pictures leave me wondering why you are not sympathetic to the subjects. I would suggest taking pictures away from areas of heavy tourism. But being from south central Illionois that my be difficult. Good luck.
Great ‘street’! It’s the only genre I’m interested in these days – either my own or images from other photographers like those above.
I say only one word: INSPIRATION 🙂
Beautiful Streets. A pleasure to look.
Great images, thanks! Very inspiring.
Like your images, Steve.
very nice pics
I liked the B/W much more
Hello, Steve! Could you let me when to use which camera? I mean: You have several cameras. When do you decide to use Leica and when to use Fuji? I have several cameras, too. And sometimes it is hard for me to decide upon the choice of one to use.
I love street photography more than any other photographic genre. I guess for me it is because I’m a nosey person with an insatiable desire to see what’s happening at the point of focus and want to know what’s just around the corner also. When I read the cartoon comics as a child I was always curious about life beyond the current action and wanted to peep over the garden fence, look through an open window, or scale the high brick wall and take a look. I guess if your not a curious person street photography can be boring. But there are lots of people with iPhones and the like who are doing it and are placed well to take this kind of imagery. Long may it reign!
Because of your insights and your body of work, I have ditched my heavy DLSR and re-acquired my love for the Leica M. Got the M9, with the 35 and 50 summicrons even! Now looking forward to traveling with the M, this time with a renewed sense of creativity. Thanks Steve. Hope you get to drop by Manila.
Awesome!! It will inspire you, this I know for a fact. Enjoy it and let me know how it goes!
Your photos are absolutely amazing! I am so fascinated by your style of photography.
Well thank you!
I have been a street photographer since the 1950s and have edited down to just a few representative images. I have had my work exhibited in a good number of places but find that a page on ‘axisweb.org’ has produced many opportunities. I have found that it is better to have a page on a widely promoted website than have your own site and all the effort which that entails. Once you know how to use it, ‘saatchionline’ is also a good free site that will open your work up on a global level. Saatchi promotes some of the world’s best known artists.
Hi Steve! My name’s Eugene & I from Uzbekistan. Your street pics I really liked. Photo is my hobby. I use Panasonic G1 w kit 14-45, 45-200mm. Welcom to my blog & I will be glad yours comments
Highly inspiring collection of photographs. Really in tact with my photography philosophy,
Inspires me to run outside and just be where life happens, and click the pause-button when something triggers my heart, awesome!
Great pics Steve. But I wanna know how you manage not getting robbed in the streets of Rio?
Well, i was lucky I guess 🙂 Was a little hectic but very rewarding.
Awesome. Street shooting is what i love to do most. Just hitting the pavement and getting down and dirty with the elements, people and neon haze of the night. I def agree with your assessment that a 50mm is perfect for street shooting. It requires more interaction, planning and brain power a lot of the time. You actually have to… THINK!
Great set of shots. And really cool to see Seal is a photo-bug.
Hi Steve , Great photos ! there’s one in this category I think is the middle of page looks like you lend some in the streets used your Leica M9 ?
It’s Seal the musician… Steve’s buddy, he has his own M9 plus the titanium m9 also.
Great set of pictures. Nice balance between b&w and colour. Glad to see you freely mix them. How do you decide if the picture should be one or the other? Do you prefer b&w but if colour works then go with it? Thanks for the inspiration.
They’re all special, but i espacially like the one with the orange garbage bins & man emptying bags…the orange on the blue background is stark..its an evocative image of life which is always beating even in the early hours of the morning when most of us are oblivious & still in bed…
Steve… you’ve always inspired and amazed me with your Leica…. this site is the main reason I started to ditch my Canon collections and started a whole new life with M8, and hope to save some money for the M9-P… 🙂 so keep up the good work and I will come back more and more to learn a lot from you….
Steve, I admire your photos! I from Russia. You do postprocessing of pictures? What for you the most important thing?
Steve, I admire your photos! I from Russia. Whether you do postprocessing of the pictures?
Nice shots Steve, I use both 35 and 50 for street, though I find tele less intrusive. I once tried to shoot a store keeper and he walked away when he saw my camera. I felt embarrassed.
Very Nice Street pictures!
It’s nice to be teleported to another time and place – great work Steve.
Very nice pictures . I just discoved this site by googling on the new fuji X100 . Steve , you really make me feel that I will sell my leica M7 ,my mamiya7II+50mm+80mm , my D700+24-70f2.8+105+85f1.4+50f1.4 to get leica M9 and use the 50 suicron that I have .Why carry so much weight when such a small and leight can do the same or even better .
I am curious to know if you had model releases for the photos?
You do not need model releases when shooting on the street in public.
Thanks for the reply!
Curious to know if you have model releases for all the images?
Love Love Love!! I’ve been following your blog for just over a year and can always count on you to inspire me to take photos! Thank you for inspiring LIFE.
Even the valuable information you share through your website can’t overshadow this: you’re a gifted photographer. Making beautiful images is the goal. Thanks for reminding us with your work.
Great pictures and great tips for street photography
The Penn Station pic from the Noct is one of my fav photos of the last ten years. Kick butt job!! 🙂
Wow, thank you!
lovely shots and great use of the leica M9
For me the girls with the guitar still stands out. There is so much joy in that photo…
Just curious, about what is your favorite focal length to street shooting ?
Like 34 street penn station
and the one of Stella Artois, tough i think i know why you shoot that one 😉
Fave focal length for street is 50. I also use 35 but 50 is a bit better for me. Thank you!
Super Like! ^^
Although I saw most of them from other posts of yours, Steve, it still inspries me. Thanks again.
Amazing pictures ! very inspiring work for this difficult job of street photography !
Very strong set of streetphotos. Inspired me to look for different things and angles next time I go for a walk with my camera.
Second one has unhealthy amount of awesome sauce in it.
incredible emotive stuff. love it.
My favorite is still that 34th and Penn station one. The man rising from the ground makes you anticipate him coming into full view, which never happens.
Stunning Steve. I always wonder if you do less post processing when you use the M9 than other equipment?
Thank you! The shots here had MINIMAL PP. All of it was done during raw conversion. Just exposure, contrast, color, etc. I used to do more PP but have gotten away from that a bit.
very inspiring steve
i find it funny how Seal is taking pictures of people when people usually take pictures of Seal!
Where can I click “Like”!