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Which camera settings should I use for Street and Travel Photography



  Older man with folded arms in curiosity

Street photography and travel photography are similar genres: Street photography is really just photography in your home town. This means that they use the same wide camera settings.

In general, you want a relatively natural image for street and travel photography. The viewer should almost feel that they see things for themselves.

 Interior of the railway station with sun setting in the background

Which lenses to use for street and travel photography

There are three traditional focal lengths for street photography: 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. They correspond to some of the most common primary lenses available.

At 50mm you get a perspective that closely resembles what the human eye sees. Everything looks natural. 35mm, 28mm and 24mm all show a wider field of view so you can include more of the scene without adding much distortion.

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Note that this is the traditional focal length of the entire frame bodies. For crop sensor cameras, they correspond to approximately 16mm, 18mm, 24mm and 35mm. If you want, you can use a first-class, but 18mm, 24mm and 35mm drop in the range with the standard 18-55mm kit lens that comes with most cameras. Comfortable, eh!

Aperture for Street and Travel Photography

Arthur "Weegee" famously praised that the secret to good street photography was "f / 8 and be there". It's a motto that has been raised by photojournalists for a good reason: Shooting on f / 8 with a 35mm lens gives your pictures a good wide depth of field. This means that all you have to do is to be something interesting happening there.

 Three restaurant workers chatting out during a break

Weegees proposal still holds today, but with autofocus cameras (he must use a manual focus camera) you do not have to be as strict. An aperture between f / 5.6 (on wider lenses) and f / 11 (on a 50mm lens) usually gives good results, whatever happens.

RELATED: How to get the most out of autofocus With your camera

Shutter speed for street and travel photography

Mostly, I use aperture priority mode when photographing street or travel photographs. As long as the shutter speed is over about 1/100 second, your photos become sharp and now show blur from the camera that shakes or the subject moves.

 Older man with folded arms in curiosity

Unlike many subjects, street and travel photos can benefit from a little creative blur. This means that you sometimes want to use a shutter speed that is slow enough to show some movement.

RELATED: Freeze or blur? The two ways to capture motion in photography

 man in a suit with motorcycle with blurred bus moving behind him

If you want your subjects to move, I find somewhere around 1/15 or 1/30 works well. On sunny days, you probably have to limit the aperture to get the shutter speed so slow.

ISO for Street and Travel Photography

 Two men sitting on park bench at night; a man sitting on his seat behind

In general, for street and travel photography you want your ISO at 100 (or whatever your camera base ISO is). This is quite easy to achieve in daylight, but in narrow alleys, in the evening or even at night, you have to increase it to keep the shutter speed. But since street photography looks good when things are a bit rough and raw, you can certainly increase it when you need it.


Street and travel photography are really fun ways to use your camera. You probably already have the gear, so get there and shoot!


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