We read and hear so much about the ‘rules’ of street photography, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of blindly accepting them and conforming to what seems to becoming a norm. But hold on. Is this really the right way to go?

Sometimes, I think the ‘rules’ are a bit of a cop-out, an easy way for just about anyone (often without much in the way of real skills, experience or training) to run street photography workshops. These rules are the mantra of many an aspiring street photographer: ‘get in close’, ‘be invisible’, ‘never crop’, ‘never shoot from the hip’ . . . and so on.

Sure, there is logic to some of these methods, but to punt them out as hard and fast rules is, in my view, just wrong. Look at the work of Maier, Cartier-Bresson, Moriyama, Capa, et al: these were not the sort of people to let a ‘rule’ get in the way of a good shot, or stifle their artistic freedom. When considered more as ‘guidelines’, some of these rules do, of course, make sense. But don’t feel constrained by them. It’s your picture, you’re the artist and you should use whatever means at your disposal to get the picture.

The more I shoot, the more I learn. And the more I learn, the more I feel that the street photography rules are there to be broken – or at least challenged.

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street photography course in Lisbon, 2022

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