How to Shoot Street Photography on a DSLR

I started to shoot street photography on a small digital point-and-shoot camera, then graduated later to a DSLR (because that is what all “pro” photographers used). I found it to be a blessing and also a curse.

There are a lot of benefits of shooting street photography on a DSLR. Here are some:

  • More responsive
  • “What you see is what you get” (what you look through the viewfinder is accurate)
  • Easy to change settings quickly

Some downsides of shooting with a DSLR:

  • Bulk, weight, cumbersomeness
  • Loud
  • Stands out like sore thumb

Yet if you shoot street photography on a DSLR, here are some tips I’ll give you:

1. Make your camera as small as possible

Santa Monica, 2009 / Canon 5D

It is true the bigger your camera, the more you will stick out. However you have control to make your DSLR as small as possible.

That means removing your tripod mount, removing your battery grip, and not using huge zoom (or even big prime) lenses.

I generally recommend investing in “pancake” lenses (very small and compact lenses) for DSLR’s. The aperture tends to be quite fast— most of them are at least f/2.8 (which is more than enough for street photography).

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