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Street Photography – How to Capture the Moment

In street photography, the perfect moment is crucial when you want to capture an impressive shot. Here are some unique techniques that you can use, using the EOS 5D Mark III equipped with the highly advanced AF and shooting functions. (Reported by: Tomoko Suzuki)

EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 67mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/60 sec., f/8)/ ISO 10000/ WB: Auto

In the image above, I created a contrast between light and shadow by including a desolate walkway and night illuminations in the composition. With a high ISO speed, it is now possible to take handheld shots of nightscapes with the EOS 5D Mark III. The greatest advantage is that there is basically no compromise in the image quality when the ISO speed is raised.

Three Approaches to Capturing Impressive Street Photography

Composition: Find the best shooting position

Instead of zooming in or out with the lens to set up a composition, a way that is similar to cropping an image, the photographer should move to different shooting positions to look for the best composition. Other than zooming, you can, for example, accentuate the main object by blurring the foreground or background, or exclude an object from the composition by hiding it with some other objects. Utilize features such as the Dual-axis Electronic Level and grid line displays to assist you in composing a shot.

Light: Make full use of the “HDR” feature

While you can take images with sharp contrast between light and shadow on a sunny day, this strong contrast can also pose problems. Even when you are shooting indoors, it would generally be very difficult to compose a shot by the window due to the difference in brightness indoor and outdoor. In this case, you can make use of the "Highlight tone priority" or "HDR" feature to expand the dynamic range. By setting [Auto Image Align] to [Enable] during HDR shooting, clear handheld shots can also be taken.

Settings: Use the auto settings

In street photography, it is of key importance that you do not miss out on any photo opportunity. In order to produce the desired image at the instant you chance upon the right moment, a quick response of the camera is indispensable. Hence, you are advised to select the auto settings for the various features according to your photographic intention. For me, I use the [Auto] ISO speed setting. You can prevent subject blur from occurring by using [Min. shutter speed.] to specify the minimum shutter speed. It is also recommended that you assign the most frequently used function to the Multi-function button, which is located beside the shutter button.

EOS 5D Mark III Recommended Feature

If there is a significant difference in brightness in a scene or subject, using the [Natural] HDR setting helps to reduce over- and under-exposed area to retain the tone of the image, thereby producing a natural depiction that is close to what we see. Also, noise becomes less apparent when shooting in the HDR mode, so it can be put to good use in scenes such as sunset and dimly-lit locations. If you are taking a handheld shot, the use of a fast shutter speed is recommended.


Recommended Lens

EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM


Mobility is the keyword in street photography. A standard zoom lens that is equipped with an Image Stabilizer mechanism is recommended, as it allows you to produce shots ranging from wide-angle to telephoto ones.


EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 105mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/30 sec., f/4)/ ISO 12800/ WB: Auto

Visitors enjoying the cherry blossoms at night. Even in a dimly-lit scene like this one, I was able to produce a clear handheld shot. With the enhanced performance of the ISO sensitivity on the EOS 5D Mark III, street photography at night has become so much easier.


EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 105mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/320 sec., f/4)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Auto/ Multiple exposure: [Additive]

The EOS 5D Mark III comes with a multiple-exposure feature that is easy to use. When merging two or more images, pay attention to the difference in brightness. Here, I chose a dark subject as the base image.


EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 105mm/ Aperture-priority AE (1/100 sec., f/8)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

To include a human figure in a landscape shot, the timing is crucial. You can make use of the Quick Control button to check and change the settings speedily. This is a convenient feature to have indeed in street photography.

Tomoko Suzuki


After graduating from the Tokyo Polytechnic University Junior College, Suzuki joined an advertisement production firm. She has also worked as an assistant to photographers including Kirito Yanase, and specializes in commercial shoots for apparels and cosmetic products. She now works as a studio photographer for an apparel manufacturer.

Digital Camera Magazine


A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation