Your Pocket Guide to Street Style Photography

  • Melissa Keen


What is Street Style Photography?

Street photography is a genre of photography that records everyday life in public spaces. Often candid (taken without the model’s knowledge), these photos typically show our raw human nature, but can also be taken for fashion purposes for a more gritty, real, and edgy portrayal of “street” (everyday) style. 

Street photographers like to capture moments that might otherwise be ignored or unnoticed. They may not go out with a specific goal in mind, stead choosing to capture images that inspire them.

Modelling for Street Photographers

A street photographer may approach someone they like the look of and ask to take their photo. They may also take a candid photo, before approaching the photo’s subject and asking for signed permission to use the photos.

Street photographer photos can make really great additions to a model’s portfolio, so it’s good to know what to expect and how to capture the perfect picture.

How to Attract the Attention of a Street Photographer

Much like modelling agency scouts, it’s impossible to determine when and where a street photographer might be. However, it’s a good bet that there will be several milling around city streets, particularly if there is a large fashion show taking place; so for example, it’s a good idea to be out and about on the street of London during London Fashion Week.

Primarily, street photographers are looking for people who don’t fit the mould. They are interested in trendsetters – those who wear their clothes, not the other way around. For style inspiration, think of off-duty models, or fashion students. They don’t necessarily follow trends and they know how to make unusual or eye-catching pieces work for them.


Grabbing a Street Photographer’s Attention

If you’re going to grab a photographer’s attention, subconsciously or consciously, you need to understand layering and the structure of clothing. You also need to understand colour theory, as well as your own unique colouring. The colour of your eyes, hair and skin will all affect how certain colours look on you. Some will clash, while others will flatter and even enhance.

Textures are also important. Satin, silk, velvet and other fabrics have a definitive texture that must be carefully teamed with other items.

And let’s not forget accessories. Jewellery, bags and shoes can play a big part in the overall finish of a look, making or breaking it. Just don’t over-do it; too many accessories can be distracting or clumsy and cluttered.

The main takeaway is to select items that fit you well, are flattering in colour and texture, and that work together as a whole. Always remember to take a step back and look at your entire outfit before stepping out the door. Remember that fashion is about being bold and taking risks – don’t be scared to fail!


Taking the Shot

So you’ve got their attention, now you need to make the shot work. Street-style pictures have a definite difference to them compared to an editorial, studio shot. They need to appear more effortless and often involve some form of movement. Candid photos in particular are very popular, though “candid” street photos are often not candid at all, but cleverly modelled to appear so.

The key here is to not overwork your pose. Keep it natural, let it reflect your personality, and have a little bit of fun. It might be worth exaggerating certain movements, such as taking longer strides if walking.

Practice is the key. It’s surprisingly difficult to appear effortless and natural while simultaneously posing.


Make sure to have good posture; extend the limbs, and try to keep the chin up. Find the light and use it to your advantage to create interesting shadows. Try different motions; sit down, stand up, walk, run. Think about the natural actions you take every day – flagging down a taxi, purchasing a coffee etc. – on the street and try to reflect these.

Hair & Accessories

If your hair is down, try to ensure the wind doesn’t blow it into disarray. Again, the wind can be your friend if you learn how to manipulate it into blowing your hair or clothing in the right direction.


Make-up can also be helpful. A light dusting of powder can ensure any unattractive shine is taken care of, while a lip balm or gloss can help lips look hydrated and healthy.

Facial Expressions

As for your face, approach your portrait one of two ways. If you’re a dark horse, show it. Keep those eyes hidden and your face covered with a statement hat. If you’re the girl known for her huge smile, embrace it. As Garance Dore (the French blogger) wisely said, it’s all about “attitude and personality”.

And finally, make sure to take inspiration from other leading models. Face Hunter, Street Peeper and Fashion Beans (the latter being an exceptional street-style source for men) are all packed with high-class street-style photographs. As for the people behind the camera, keep your eyes and ears open for the names Tommy Ton, Phil Oh and Scott Schuman.

Are you interested in becoming a professional model? Why not register with us today and see if you have what it takes – it’s free!

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.