I’m more than sure all of us (street photographers) ever had a moment when we just have no idea what to capture. When inspiration suddenly just disappear from our mind. Yes, we have camera in our hand, but, then what to capture?

Jakarta, 2018

If you had read 21 personal notes in street photography (Read here), then this article is the add-on of it. These are elements or objects that I always try to find every time I shot out there. No matter how much lack of inspiration my mind is, these things are my saviour to create a keeper shot:

A puddle

Jakarta, 2017

I just feel that if I shoot a certain scene through puddle’s reflection, then the result is more artistic than the reality itself. The additional textures, colours shifting, bold reflection, are simply lovely effects to add more creative elements.

Jakarta, 2018

To create a strong looks image from puddle’s reflection we need a bright light condition. Strong light will able to create strong reflection. Important to create our main subject has sharp form, not just a blurry image. Be it a sun, or a high power lamps (like the one inside advertisement board) are few examples that easy to find.

Jakarta, 2018

Always remember to show main subject clearly, without (or as minimum as possible) any distractive elements around subject. If we also include many disruptive objects than there is a chance audience will not recognise our main point of view.

Shiny surface

Shiny floor. Jakarta, 2018.

Same like shoot on a puddle, basically we want to create a reflection element here. However, to find a puddle definitely need a certain condition. Shiny surface is easier to find. Could be in many forms like shiny floor, shiny wall, glass door, or glass from display window inside mall. Read here about shooting street inside shopping mall.

Shiny wall. Singapore, 2018.

The concept is a bit similar to puddle shoot, we need strong light to create a copy image of our subject inside shiny objects. Use the reflection itself to create more surreal image (like in photo above).


Jakarta, 2018

The beautiful sunstar! Definitely an object that add creative point into our image. The easiest way to create sunstar is by tilt our camera direct to the sun, then wait till a subject move passed the sun. Right after subject passed it then at a certain moment sunstar will appear, does not matter which camera setting we use (even in full auto mode). Hard to get that split second moment? Use burst mode in your camera (take multiple photos at one second).

Shoot from close distance!

Jakarta, 2018

Benefit from shoot at close distance: Isolate our subject really well from any distractive elements. Make our subject stood out from the other objects, audience’s eyes easily catch subject as the main story of our photo. Use wide lens (35mm or wider) to add more dramatic effect of shooting from close distance.

Shoot with 24mm lens (FF equivalent). No crop. Singapore, 2018

In photo above, that kid literally almost crush my camera with his bicycle, that was how close I am! (A bit no plan though, suddenly he tilt his bicycle toward me). Shoot close distance with longer lens (50mm or longer) will flatten main subject which is losing the dramatic effect from wide angle distortion. Pay a lot attention to subject’s gesture.


Singapore, 2017

Many unique outfit that we can use to create artistic photos. However, I feel umbrella is one of the best one, and at the same time also the easiest to find. Wait till raining or Sun become too strong, then people will start to use umbrella everywhere.

Jakarta, 2018

Play with angle to get the most effect from umbrella’s appearance. High angle, low angle, diagonal angle, just keep experiment. Do not only take one shoot, instead shoot as many as possible from different angles.


Jakarta, 2018

Can not find any interesting subject? Find their shadow then! Shadow is always interesting to shoot because it is solid black and has mysterious feeling that force audience to use their imagination to translate the story line inside our photo. Read here for more about shoot mysterious subject.

Jakarta, 2018

Shadow will able to help us create an unique story even from ordinary subject. Pay a lot attention to gesture to create a stronger story line. Simplified the background so subject’s shadow could become our main point of interest. Read here for more about Do Not Shoot Busy Background.

Diagonal line

Jakarta, 2018

Dynamic looking = Diagonal. These diagonal lines could be made from many things out there (buildings, zebra crossing, stairs etc). Just see any lines in diagonal angle, and try to include any subject around diagonal lines (could be in front of it, behind it, beside it, etc).

Diagonal line from stair. Jakarta, 2018.

Combine it with silhouette, shadow, or reflection to create more surreal effect. Read here for more about diagonal composition.

Diagonal line from zebra crossing and gesture. Jakarta, 2018.

Also pay attention to hand or leg gesture. With the right timing they could form triangle or diagonal line too.

Diagonal line from advertising board. Jakarta, 2018.

That is all about artistic things around us. Feel free to add your type of artistic objects in comment section. Happy hunting and do not forget to keep have fun in street photography!

Keep shooting and make art,

Nico Harold