which camera settings should you use for street photography

camera settings for street photography

If you are into street photography, then you will understand how important it is that you are always ready to shoot at any given moment. However, this can be a little hard with so many moving elements in your frame.

​When you are just getting started in street photography, it will take a lot of learning and experiments to understand the best camera settings for street photography. Camera settings, along with the light quality, the composition, and the experience of the photographer will play a huge role on how your photos turn out.

​Fortunately, mastering the correct camera settings for street photography isn't hard. If you are willing to work at it, you can master it with a few practices. In this article, you will learn which camera settings you should be using for your street photography to get the best results.

​Best Street Photography Camera Settings:

​In nutshell, you should be using the following settings for your street photography:

  • ​Shutter speed: 1/125sec or faster
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: 400
  • White Balance: Auto or Daylight
  • Focal Length: 18mm to 200mm
  • Exposure mode: Program AE
  • AF: Continuous focus

Now, let's take a look at the other camera settings you need.

Best Settings For Exposure Mode in Street Photography: Program AE Mode​

When it comes to street photography, speed is your greatest asset. You need to be ready to shoot at any given instance. If you don't have your settings ready, you will always miss out on important scenes.

Using your camera's Program exposure, you will get the best balance of shutter speed and aperture. Another benefit is that you can be able to make adjustments quickly. This is possible because Program mode gives your camera the control to set what it thinks is the best shutter speed and apertures value for your subject.

Nonetheless, you can override these settings if you don't think they are right for your scene. The importance of this feature is that your camera will do the calculations for you while you focus on composing your scene.

Best Aperture: AROUND F/5.6

Arguably, the best aperture for street photography is around f/5.6. This is because the best street photography is the one that contains your subject as well as a little bit of information about the environment. Capturing the environment will help you to tell a story. Unfortunately, you won't be able to achieve that if your background is blurred.

Using an aperture of f/5.6, you can be able to achieve a soft background that is sharp enough to leave shapes, signs, and other important elements in your background recognizable.

Best Shutter Speed: 1/125Sec Or Faster

If you are thinking about the best shutter speed for street photography, you should consider using 1/125sec or faster. This will help you freeze any movement in your scene.

Ideally, I will recommend you make use of the old rule of thumb by ensuring that your shutter speed equals your focal length. This setting will help you to safely shoot handheld.

Best AF for Street Photography: Continuous AF

Street photography contains a lot of moving objects and scene, this means you will constantly need to focus and re-compose subjects and scenes a few times until you get it right.

Fortunately, your camera's continuous AF mode has what it takes to save you from this situation. If you set your AF mode to C-AF, it enables your camera to re-focus every time you press the shutter button halfway. This setting is important for capturing moving subjects faster and better.

Best Sensitivity For Street Photography: ISO 400 to 800

When it is not possible to get the 1/125sec shutter speed, the next best option is to push the sensitivity of your camera up a little bit.

If you are using olden day’s camera, you will need to shoot at lower sensitivities. However, modern cameras allow you to increase your sensitivity and still manage the noise very effectively.

If you are finding it hard to get a shutter speed that you can use to shoot handheld, simply take your ISO up to 400 or as far as 800. With modern cameras, you won't have any problem using these sensitivity levels.

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