Great street photos have to tell some kind of a story. Street photography is one of the most accessible genres, but it’s also one of the most challenging to do well. After all, anyone can take photos of a street scene on their mobile phone, but if the image doesn’t convey a message or feeling to the viewer, it will be forgotten very quickly.

To take an image from “good” to “great”, there have to be one or more special elements that enhance the scene and elevates it into something more unusual or unique. This could be done with light, color, textures, gestures, etc. Humour is a little rarer but equally valid. If you can combine multiple concepts then you’re really onto a winner.

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We’ve included an excerpt from our 500px Class tutorial, Street Photography: Working with Light. This section is all about shooting silhouettes on city streets.

Working with Light: Photographing Silhouettes

When: high contrast scenes during bright daylight.

How: look for a subject or something that’s backlit to create a dark shape and outline.
Expose for the backlight and look for interesting subjects or recognizable elements that can take the photo from “good” to “great.”

Exercise: capture a silhouette that includes an easily identifiable and well-defined subject or element.

Tip: look for interesting scenes that add a new dimension to your image. Pay special attention to unique shapes cast by the light, along with textures and complementary colours.

Bus, 2017 by Joshua K. Jackson on

Interested in learning more about street photography? Join Joshua Jackson & Craig Whitehead’s 500px Class: Street Photography: Working with Light.

They’ll be participating in a live webinar on Friday, Sept. 15th, 3pm EST to discuss their journey as street photographers and offering advice about how to capture street scenes. 500px Classes are free for 500px members with an Awesome, Pro, or Pro+ membership.

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About Joshua K. Jackson
Joshua Jackson has been living in London since 2002. After ten years in working at a desk job, he recently decided to pursue his passion for photography full time. His interest in taking photos began at school, but it’s only been in the last 12 months that he’s started to specialize in street photography and realize the potential to turn these skills into a new career. He now works on lots of exciting commercial and editorial projects, whilst pursuing street photography and teaching workshops in his spare time.

Instagram: @joshkjack

About Craig Whitehead
Craig Whitehead is a street photographer and illustrator based in Cambridge, UK. His work focuses on light, color and shapes to build images from everyday objects that are often overlooked. Craig shares content daily with an engaged audience of 44K followers and passes on his knowledge to budding street photographers via one to one session and workshops as well as working with brands on commercial projects.

Instagram: @sixstreetunder