5 tips for taking great streetstyle shots
In 2015, you can think of streetstyle as a whole new photographic genre. Since its beginnings in Japan in 1997, with shots taken by Shoichi Aoki for Fruits Magazine (stoic and minimalist poses), up to more recent photos taken on the fly right outside fashion shows by Yvan, the Facehunter, or Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist, along with the countless numbers of fashion bloggers, the world of streetstyle photography is as vast as it is inspiring.
And if you want to capture your day-wear, don’t forget some valuable tips which will make your pictures more harmonious.
1 – choose your equipment carefully
Blogging is turning into a real profession. Today, unlike when it all started about ten years ago, you can no longer post photographs that are of poor quality, photos you’ve taken with your smartphone (well, really, you can do anything you want, but that’s not how to be successful). So the right camera is THE tool to have. You’ll want to go with a well-known brand of camera (Canon, Nikon…) and you’ll have to choose the camera you can afford depending on your budget. You won’t necessarily have to invest in a reflex. Some hybrids will truly be more than up to the challenge! Personally, I use a Canon 1100D to take my photos. It’s an entry-level camera for photography amateurs. I’m very happy with it!
2 – take your shots with the right lens
You’ll quickly realize that you’ll get a totally different effect photographing the same subject according to the lens you’re using. If you want to showcase the decor in which you’re shooting, you’ll want to choose a wide angle lens (or why not even use a fish eye, for a more playful and retro quality?). If you want to take some really beautiful portrait photographs, a 50mm lens will be the perfect choice. For portraits, here’s a little tip: you’re better off moving away from your subject and then zooming in, rather than moving very close to take the shot. That way, the face’s contours and traits will be more harmonious. Try it out and you’ll see for yourself!
For the photo on the left side, the photographer took the picture from very close in. This makes my nose and cheekbones more prominent. The photo on the right was taken from farther away by zooming in. The contours of my face are less pronounced and more balanced.
3 – find decor that will be worth photographing
No. Your messy bedroom won’t work at all. A beautiful backdrop will be invaluable for showcasing the fashion. Wander around your home. You’ll be sure to find some places that are worth being captured in photograph. Anything can happen! A colored wall or one made of old stones, a charming street, a mysterious wood…there are so many possibilities out there! Try to be coherent: you can better conceive of a working girl’s outfit in an urban setting as opposed to a seascape…
4 – opt for natural light
In winter, it rains a lot and night falls early. So it’s difficult to find the perfect moment to immortalize your outfit. But shooting in artificial light just isn’t an option… unless you’re a pro!
Try shooting outdoors during that famous “Golden Hour”, that moment when the sun is going down, putting those lowering rays behind you. Then you can create a very interesting atmosphere thanks to the sun’s rays.
5 – avoid shooting under full sun
Think you need to pose right under full sun? Hardly! You’ll have an awkward balance of whites, washed out colors, and you may find your model’s eyes are closed, dazzled by too much sunshine. So the result will be flat and drab. Shadow will bring out contours and colors much better than full sunlight!
In the photo on the left, the sun bleaches out all the colors. The colors are a lot more vibrant in the photo on the right.
6 – capture the details
You’ll want to take some photos from the ground so you can capture the entire outfit. Play with a variety of pleasures: shoot in landscape format, and then in portrait format. Don’t forget that you’re better off with a wide shot: it’s easier to reframe a photo and zoom in on a detail, so if your shot is too close, there’s not much more you can do with it! Capture the details in your look as well (jewelry, shoes, accessories, makeup…) and vary the angles to find the best light. A photo taken with a high-angle shot will crowd you, whereas a photo taken with a slightly low angle with make the subject appear larger.
7 – don’t forget about post-production!
Once the shots have been taken, don’t forget to boost their effects by retouching them. If you don’t have Photoshop or if you don’t know how to use it, you can use the basic retouch features included with your computer. With a Mac, all you need to do is open your image with the preview, and from there, you can regulate lighting, saturation, warmth…very basic retouching like this allows you to highlight the colors of your photo to their best effect. If you don’t happen to have a Mac, here’s a little tip: get the photo on your smartphone and retouch it with the photo retouch applications you usually use (VSco, Snapseed, etc.). It’s a little more work, but it does the trick!
On the left, the photo before retouching. On the right, after some modifications in lighting, contrast, saturation…
Slanelle is a 28 year-old woman from Paris. She’s been a fashion and lifestyle blogger for 13 years. You can find her on Instagram (@slanelle)