Make Street Photography Easier By Chasing The Light

Street photography is tough…  There really isn’t a harder genre of photography out there.  Well, perhaps portraits of kids, trying to take a kids portrait is like trying to keep cat litter from getting tracked through your house…  Impossible.  Considering how difficult street photography can be for even the most seasoned photographer it stands to reason that if you can find a way to make it easier you would, right?  Chase the light.


Instead of walking slowly up and down each street or setting up in front of something interesting, follow the light from block to block, looking for interesting backdrops to create interesting photographs.  It won’t take long to find an interesting shadow or light pattern.

To take the shot above I was actually standing on the road between where the cars drove and where the bike path was (I almost caused a pile up of bikes because a nice person slowed down to avoid messing up my shot, not realizing someone was right behind him).  This is a spot I’ll revisit in the future.


If you know where the sun is in the sky you can continually move in a way that sets you up for interesting street shots.  By putting your subjects between you and the sun you can create silhouettes.  Interestingly, you don’t even need to have the sun behind them, the light reflecting off of a building is bright enough (see image below).

JMB_9337Next time you’re looking for great street shots pay attention to where the sun is and move to areas where it casts strong shadows or lays light down in interesting ways.  By chasing the light like this you ensure that you walk away with far more keepers and overall more interesting images.

Side Note:  When I shoot landscape I sometimes take my bike so I can cover more ground and chase the light rather than set up in one place and take shot after shot in the same area.  I’ve done the same with street photography. 

Do you chase the light?  Feel free to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.  You can share your images with other DecisiveShot readers in the DecisiveShot Flickr Group.