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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Obvious or Unobtrusive on the Street

Street photography is a genre of photography that captures candid moments of people and scenes in public places. There are different approaches to street photography, but one of the main decisions you have to make is whether to be unobtrusive or obvious.

Being unobtrusive means that you try to blend in with the crowd and avoid drawing attention to yourself or your camera. This way, you can capture natural and spontaneous expressions of your subjects without disturbing them or altering their behavior. Some advantages of being unobtrusive are that you can get closer to your subjects, avoid confrontation or hostility, and respect their privacy. Some disadvantages are that you may miss some shots, feel dishonest or sneaky, and have ethical dilemmas about taking photos without consent.


Being obvious means that you make yourself visible and noticeable as a photographer. You may use a large camera, flash, or tripod, or you may interact with your subjects and ask for permission or pose them. This way, you can create a connection with your subjects and show your intention and interest in them. Some advantages of being obvious are that you can get more creative and expressive shots, communicate with your subjects, and avoid legal issues. Some disadvantages are that you may scare away


or annoy your subjects, attract unwanted attention or trouble, and lose the candidness and spontaneity of the moment.

There is no right or wrong way to do street photography, but you have to find the balance that works for you and your style. You may also switch between being unobtrusive or obvious depending on the situation and the mood. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and respect the people and places you photograph.



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