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Photography 101: Street

Today, capture an establishing shot of a street scene in your neighborhood — or someplace new.

Image by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

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The official course tag is photo101 (one word, no space). Don’t forget to tag your posts so we can find your submissions in the Reader!

Yesterday, we asked you to interpret home in your own way: you might have posted an image of a house, the countryside, an entire city skyline, or something else entirely.

Today, let’s focus on a street. It can be a quiet road blanketed in snow, an alley near your apartment covered with murals, or a busy street where pedestrians weave between cars and motorbikes, like this scene from Hanoi, Vietnam:

To capture your street snapshot, wander your own neighborhood — or explore someplace new!

When we say “wide angle,” we’re generally referring to a type of lens with a short focal length, and its “zoomed out” nature means it can capture more within the frame. But don’t worry about lenses right now! Just know that if you want to take an establishing shot, you’ll want to capture a wide view, rather than close-up view, of what you’re seeing.

Tip: While you’re free to take a picture from any angle, try to capture an establishing shot: a wide-angle photo that sets up a scene. It might mean moving back some steps, or finding higher ground (like climbing stairs) to fit all of your scene in one shot.

In your wide shot, also think about its basic components: a foreground and a background. The foreground is the part of your scene that’s nearest to the viewer, and where you can place a subject or focal point of your picture. In the image above, the woman balancing the fruit baskets is the subject in my foreground, and the storefronts behind her make up the background.

Think about these elements as you compose your street shot!

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