Ten street photography tricks to make you sneaky, but not creepy

Aug 30, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Ten street photography tricks to make you sneaky, but not creepy

Aug 30, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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If you want to capture genuine, candid moments in street photography, you need to be discreet. Oftentimes, getting noticed by your subject will completely ruin the moment you wanted to photograph. So, you need some techniques to stay unnoticed, yet don’t seem like a creep. In this video, Samuel Lintaro Hopf will show you ten tricks that will keep you low-key just the right way.

YouTube video

Samuel adds a healthy dose of humor to the video, demonstrating his ten techniques in a very amusing way. But although he’s goofing around in the video, you can definitely use these techniques to stay unnoticed by your subjects when doing street photography:

  1. Pretend to shoot something else
  2. Pretend to shoot video
  3. Blend in with the environment (see this super-fun project for some ideas)
  4. Make your friend complicit: pretend to show him photos on your camera’s display and take a photo of your subject
  5. Camp at a spot until nobody cares about you
  6. Turn around to shoot
  7. Pretend to have a phone call
  8. Use Wi-Fi to shoot remotely and view what you shoot on your phone
  9. Shoot from the hip
  10. Play dumb and pretend that you’re fiddling with the camera

Now, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong in getting caught. You’re not doing anything wrong by photographing people in the street. If your subject figures out that you photographed them, just smile and say “Thank you.” Alternatively, you can keep looking through the viewfinder, smile and not. Samuel sometimes does it and it gives his subjects the sign that everything is okay and that he’s not doing anything to harm them.

Although there’s no expectation of privacy in public for either adults or children, I need to add something here. If you get caught and the person asks you to delete the photo, I suggest you just delete it. It’s not about law, it’s only about empathy and staying out of trouble. When taking photos in the street, be positive, be kind and keep a smile on your face. Don’t be afraid to get caught, but to capture perfect moments: do be discreet and a bit sneaky.

I’d like to hear from street photographers out there: what techniques do you use to stay unnoticed? Anything you’d add to Samuel’s list?

[10 SNEAKY Street Photography Techniques via ISO 1200]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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19 responses to “Ten street photography tricks to make you sneaky, but not creepy”

  1. Franco Kailsan Avatar
    Franco Kailsan

    I lurk in the bushes while waiting for hot women to pass by then I pretend to use my phone to text and take a pix of them…..nevermind…

  2. T.B. Photography Avatar
    T.B. Photography

    Just do it! Does not matter if noticed or not ^^

  3. Todd Hanson Avatar
    Todd Hanson

    The world would be a better place if people didn’t take pictures of people who obviously don’t want their picture taken. The world would be an even better place if people didn’t actually go ahead and post photos of people who don’t want their picture taken. This is from the website of the guy who was in the news lately. Apparently it has been removed as he pursues legal action. Why would anyone want to showcase such an image? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f771dcac670cf0a09c8b1c1596c8820a7e328a978ee6471ec05d75722e3a2d25.png

    1. Andy Charles Avatar
      Andy Charles

      Well unfortunately it’s not illegal and the street is a public place, as long as it’s not harming people then what’s the problem!

      1. Michael Morley Avatar
        Michael Morley

        I think you mean fortunately.

      2. Todd Hanson Avatar
        Todd Hanson

        The problem is that the world will not be a better place. I’ll ask again: Why would anyone wish to showcase such an image?

      3. Sandrigo Zoilo Avatar
        Sandrigo Zoilo

        In Germany it’s technically illegal to even “take” the picture of someone in the first place. On the street or in public areas.

  4. Andrea Cordonier Avatar
    Andrea Cordonier

    I ask people directly. They LOVE it and we get a lovely interaction

  5. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    I use a 70-200mm lens.

  6. Howardo Mansfieldio Avatar
    Howardo Mansfieldio

    Wear a shirt and have a lanyard around my neck. People just assume I’m working.

  7. Andy Murray Avatar
    Andy Murray

    I don’t do “sneaky” I embrace and connect with the streets and its surroundings.

    1. William Leftover Avatar
      William Leftover

      Aren’t you special

  8. Andy Charles Avatar
    Andy Charles

    I tend to wear a raincoat, glasses and a fedora then crouch behind a tree.

  9. AlainCl Avatar
    AlainCl

    My personal bouncers protect me.

  10. rJ Avatar
    rJ

    Both sneaky and creepy.

  11. DHFabian Avatar
    DHFabian

    I’ve long relied on #1 and #10 to avert any possible confrontations.

  12. Malcolm McLean Avatar
    Malcolm McLean

    I recently had an upset father ask why I was taking photos of his kids at a fairground.

    I told him that I wasn’t specifically taking photos of *his* children, and invited him to step out of the sun and scroll through my recent photos with me.

    He identified a couple of pix of his kids, I deleted them, and we parted on good terms. He even told me that he thought the photos were good, but he just didn’t want them in someone else’s collection.

    No muss, no fuss.

  13. Smarten_Up Avatar
    Smarten_Up

    Have done all ten, at one point or another…

  14. Stephen Lucas Avatar
    Stephen Lucas

    I stand in full view. 99% of people are oblivious to the camera. Some people notice and then pull a face or blow a kiss which just adds to the shot. I have never been asked to remove a photo but I have had people stop and pose.