Fear of Street Photography

I think you’ll agree that it can be quite disconcerting to be spotted whilst trying to capture that decisive moment. Does the person look angry? are they smiling? Should you take evasive action?

More often than not I never actually realise i’ve been spotted until I get home and check my shots. I never look whilst out and about for fear of missing something else that’s going on. I obviously do get spotted. The pictures on this page are proof of that.

Here’s the deal –

I’ve never been challenged for taking someone’s photograph. I like to think that it’s down to good judgement and tact on my part but who knows? I currently use a 20mm lens so I get very close.

If I am spotted I usually just smile and slowly walk away. It is after all perfectly legal in the UK to take pictures in a public place. If they want to know what i’m doing i’ll happily stop and explain. Normally the whole thing’s over pretty quickly either way.

If you get angry and confrontational the whole thing can escalate and no one wants that. Unless of course you’re Bruce Gilden.

fear of street photography being spotted


Your choice of camera will also have a bearing on your ability to blend in. Nothing says – Hello look at me,  more than a big ass DSLR with a 70-200 bolted on the front. Try starting with something smaller. With a small point and shoot you will be surprised at how quickly you blend in and become just another tourist. It’s no coincidence how popular mirrorless cameras have become with street photographers.

After a while you become immune and your camera size becomes of no consequence.

My weapon of choice at the time of writing this article for street photography is the Fuji Xpro-1. It’s quite small, discreet and has a near silent shutter. The Fuji X100 range also have leaf shutters so are completely silent.

Obviously it also helps if you don’t pick what looks like a complete psycho to photograph. A dead chicken stapled to the forehead is high on my avoid list!

girl photographed oxford street london


There is nothing worse than a creepy looking person skulking behind a tree or lurking in a shadowy doorway. This will immediately put your subject on edge.

I pretty much guarantee you that if you act like a  ***t  your subject will most likely treat you the same.

Walk around like you own the street. Learn to exude positive energy. If you look nervous and evade eye contact then your subject will have no confidence in you or your ability and most probably wonder why you are so nervous in the first place? Smile, be open honest and you will be fine.

It takes a while to build confidence so start slowly, take your time and don’t loose site of your goal.

fear of candid street photography

Street photography tips

You might want to check out my Street Shooting Tips (part 1)  and (part 2) pages as they will also assist you in gaining confidence.

Remember it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable not scary and frought with danger ♥




  • Hi Dave, Having read your article I have certainly gained more confidence whilst out shooting street. And as a result my pictures have got better as well.
    I will looking forward be reading your other blog posts hoping to gain even more insight into how to take better pictures.
    Good luck, Nick 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Nick. I’m glad my blog post was helpful. The more you do it the easier it gets 🙂 🙂

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