Which lens to Use for Street Photography?


What are the advantages of using a 35mm over a wide or a telephoto lens, in street photography?

Answer by: Prashant Godbole Street Photographer and Creative Director, Ideas at Work

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart, and head.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

For Bresson, photography was about anticipating and instantly reacting to the moment. The photographer is an observer. He/she is documenting human life, and capturing the essence of humanity. You can call them street photographers, candid photographers, social documentary photographers, or photojournalists.

Framing and timing are the key aspects of the craft to create images at a decisive or poignant moment. Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” Do you think by getting physically closer, he also meant to get close to the images themselves, more than the subject? Think, think.

I had met Martin Parr at the One School Goa. He said, “I am doing street photography with a zoom lens because if everybody uses 50mm or 35mm for the street, I am using 200mm, and why not?” Think, think.

Once you buy into this theory, then the camera and lens is merely a tool. Every lens and camera, technically, has its advantages and disadvantages. You should try them all. Use these modern tools to arm you in creating your point-of-view, and your voice.