Why It’s Important to Shoot Street Photography While Traveling


I’m still amazed by the amount of people fighting about what street photography is and what’s not. Some of them apparently wrote the big book of rules and laws of photography. For me, street photography is any photo taken in a public space and I think some people just need to go out and shoot instead of judging people.

Travel street photography: Santo Domingo.

Travel street photography: Santo Domingo.

Street photography is always a part of my travel photography. You spend most of the time in the streets when traveling and in most countries, life happens on the streets. I need to take my camera every time I go out just to shoot street scenes. The result might not be what you see in National Geographic but it’s real and what a country is all about.

Travel street photography

We’ve been staying in the Dominican Republic for a while now. More specifically at Joanna’s parents’ place in Santo Domingo. A vibrant and colorful city; the perfect place to roam the streets and take photos. Every time we go out, I take my camera because there’s always something to see. Oh, and in the evening, the light is gorgeous when the sun sets.

Street photography while traveling. Santo Domingo.

It keeps you focused and improves your photography skills

You can shoot street photography all the time and that’s what’s so great about it. No limits, no pressure, no goals… just shoot the things you see and find interesting. I’m always interested in the people so I take a lot of photos of people in the the streets. The people are culture and history, right?

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Street photography keeps me focused when I don’t have a specific project or subject to shoot. I can take photos whenever I feel like it because I just have to step out the door and the streets are right there. All those street shots also fit perfectly in my travel photography because I don’t want to show just palm trees, turquoise water and golden beaches here. The internet is full of that. And trust me, the Dominican Republic has a lot of amazing beaches.

Street photography colors.

But no, I like to roam the streets and watch daily life as it goes by. Street photography also doesn’t have to be artsy. I always try to go for a style in between artsy and National Geographic. Don’t know if I’m getting there but that’s what’s in my head when I’m shooting.

You'll learn to improvise and anticipate

Street photography is not just walking the streets and taking photos. You’ll be going from one place to another most of the time and that doesn’t necessarily mean on foot. Taxis, trains, buses, … Here in Santo Domingo, I find myself shooting from the back of a car a lot.

Man riding a motorbike.

Have you ever tried taking photos from a moving car? You’ll need to adapt and improvise. Anticipate where your subjects will be after the red light. Look ahead to see if there’s going to be something interesting in five seconds. It’s fun and feels like hunting sometimes. It definitely improves your photography skills. Focusing fast, framing, …

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I’m going to put a video of me taking photos from the back of a car on my Patreon page soon.

The perfect recipe to make travel photography interesting again

I really want to change travel photography again because I think there are too many shots of people standing in front of a view and then calling it ‘travel photography’. You know, those tacky photos taken from the back… Travel photography, for me, should have a little bit of National Geographic, a pinch photojournalism like Steve McCurry or David Alan Harvey and half a cup of street photography. Boom. Perfect. Of course, trying to find your own style is difficult and practice makes perfect.

Man in car.

Shooting the streets instead of famous Instagram locations will help to make travel photography interesting again. The best travel photography is not about those locations but it’s about the people, the culture and the country itself. Don’t make travel photography about yourself like a lot of Instagrammers out there…

Do you like street photography?