Oh Snap! Learn to Take Amazing Street Portraits in 3 Kinda Easy Steps | Lena Nozizwe | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Oh Snap! Learn to Take Amazing Street Portraits in 3 Kinda Easy Steps

teacher avatar Lena Nozizwe, Curious Journalist, Artist, Adventurer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Welcome to Oh Snap! Learn to Take Amazing Street Portraits in Three Kinda Easy Steps

    • 2. Come Equipped

    • 3. Step 1:Turning a Stranger into Your Street Model

    • 4. Step 2: Compose Yourself

    • 5. Step 3: Let There Be Light

    • 6. Adieu & Happy Street Trails To You

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class



Have you ever walked down the street and spotted someone you really wanted to photograph? Perhaps you were attracted to their style or their swag or to the sparkly shoes they were wearing.

Oh Snap! Learn to Take Amazing Street Portraits walks you through exactly what you need to do next.

The class is perfect for you if:

  • v You are a beginner. It will force you to improve your skills quickly just to keep up.
  • v You need material for social media. You can easily snap off enough photos to go with a week’s worth of posts in less than an hour*
  • v You are a veteran. Bring new fun, spontaneity and excitement to your art.

The class covers everything from how to approach a street model to composing and lighting your shots on the fly.

Step by step, award-winning multimedia journalist, filmmaker and author Lena Nozizwe guides you through the three kinda easy steps with lots of practical suggestions and a dollop of humor.

Your assignments will be to share three street portraits that exemplify your composition, lighting and composition skills.


Lena has been photographing since she was a teenager and her photos have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She has shot photos an stories for popular outlets, including AJ+, Deutsche Welle and FSRN.

The class is dedicated to Sidney Forman, Lena’s first photography teacher.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lena Nozizwe

Curious Journalist, Artist, Adventurer


Award-winning multimedia journalist, filmmaker, artist and author who loves to learn and loves to teach.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome to Oh Snap! Learn to Take Amazing Street Portraits in Three Kinda Easy Steps: - I'm little knows he's way street and really wanting to photograph. It could be that it's their style or or they're swell or there's my class. Oh, snap. Learn to take Amazing Street Portrait's in three kind of easy steps. I will teach you how you can act out on those desires. The class is perfect if you're just starting off with photography because we'll build your skill level up quickly. Or maybe you just want to add more images to your blog's or instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Or maybe you've been in the game for a while, but you want to incorporate some spontaneity and adventure into your work. I've been taking photos since I was a teenager. I took all the street portrait you will see in this class. While I have shopped places and things, people remain my favorite subject. I came to a point when I said, Do I want to be a photographer who writes or a writer who photographs and I ended up as a broadcaster? But things were different now, and with multimedia, I have had the pleasure of shooting photos and videos for outlets around the world, including F. S. R N A. J Plus and Deutsche of Eller. My photographs have also been featured in newspapers and magazines. I'm the producer, director, photographer and editor of two award winning documentary shorts, and my photojournalism e book has just been released, but I still most enjoy taking photographs of people in this class. You're not just going to learn about composing and lighting on the fly. I will also give you tips about how to choose street subjects and how to develop rapport, post haste and for all three steps. I want to see your work. And so will your classmates have your camera ready? Oh, now learn to take Amazing Street Portrait's in three kind of easy steps you. 2. Come Equipped: when it comes to equipment for ST Portrait's, there's good news, and there's good news. There's really no bad news because it is very likely you have what you need to get started . If you have a smart phone booth, that's fine, and it's probably the handiest option of all. You take it with you everywhere to start off. If that's what you've got, it's not a bad thing to start off with. The only negative would be that it does not have the flexibility that you will find in the other two options I'm about to talk to you about. And the second option is point and shoot cameras, and those are pretty much as the name suggests your point and you shoot. There aren't a lot of decisions you make in terms of set up, but they do have more options than your cellphone. Generally speaking, the tips I want to give you for the point and shoot camera include the following one. Play around with your settings. There is one setting is called a portrait setting, and all you have to do is look for ah, icon of a person's face and what that setting is supposed to do is to give you a sharp face and a blurry background, and that's really one of my favorite settings for photography, period. So you'll kind of get that. Maybe not to the point that you'll get that effect if you were to use a DSLR and we're about to talk about those but absense obl e. It's gonna help you get more shallow depth of field. That's what it's called when the background is blurry and the foreground is sharp, or vice versa. You get it. The other said, I want you to take a look at is the macro setting, which is designated by a flower on just about every camera. And those allow you to get really close up and have backgrounds that are blurry. And you may say that's odd choice for a portrait and could be. But I do street Portrait's. I like to get close ups of sometimes hands, sometimes sunglasses, so it's a great option to consider. And again you'll get that nice, shallow depth of field look. So the pros with point and shoot are you got more options than you do typically with your cell phone. But the cons are you don't have many options as you do with what I'm gonna talk to you about next, the DSL, Ours. I spent time developing film in the dark room. Now, with the digital single lens reflex cameras, you have the opportunity to see your images immediately. I mean, there's some purists to still love film. I think both are groovy. I just love to take pictures, but immediately you get an image with a digital camera and you still have the same options as you did with the old school SLR and that they're interchangeable lenses. And you just have a lot more options in terms of figuring out what kind of image you want with shutter speed with, you know, adjusting depth the field by not just turning to one setting, and that's it. You know, that's that's your portrait setting, and that's what you're going to get. So I really love DSL ours in terms of the and and also you have the option of getting different lenses if you want a telephoto lens if you want to close up lens, if you want to zoom lens, you've got you've got just a lot more options. One of the drawbacks of a DSLR is that it's bulky. You can't schlepping around as easily as you can a point and shoot. Another potential negative is the cost. Most of the time, they're gonna cost more than a point and shoot, and a cell phone you have already is just doing double duty is your camera. But one thing about all the equipment that's not the most important thing. More important is your eye. What you see, how you compose, how you deal with the light. We're going to be talking about both lighting and composition coming up. But the first step is how do you get a street model? How do you approach them? How do you develop a report that's coming up? And that's step one. 3. Step 1:Turning a Stranger into Your Street Model : one in Oh, Snap Learned to Take Amazing Street Portrait's in three kind of easy steps. Well, the keeps a lot of photographers from taking Street Portrait's is a reluctance to actually go up to somebody and ask, May I take your picture? Someone you don't know? So it's turning, Ah, stranger into your model. It is a challenge and so important to the whole process that that is going to be Step one. The first thing I would say is prepare mentally and make sure you're prepared photographically before you go out in terms of know that there's some people who are not going to want toe stop, they're not gonna want to talk to you. That's life. So the best way to deal with that is somebody says they don't want to move on to the next person. Move on. Never try to force somebody to take a photo, even though you may be the best photographer since Richard Abadan or for Annie Liebovitz, Just move on, get somebody else. And my experience is there are so many people out there who makes such terrific models that you know you're Finger's gonna get tired from snapping all the wonderful photos, So move it along. You want to have your camera ready, and you want to have your camera set up a smudge as possible before you actually shoot. So you're not fumbling around trying to figure out what you're doing. So practice, maybe practice on a family member. Be good to go. So when it comes to actually approaching somebody, there's nothing complicated about it. All you have to do is be sincere until people the truth go up to someone and in distance. Since I would say hello, I am fill in the blank. I am working on a class about street Portrait's and may I take your photograph? It's that easy. If they say no, no problema. As I said, move on. If they say yes, you have your camera ready to go Get to snap it in when you're finished with the photographs that I would say cat least 345 Sometimes I've only taken two photos, but it's it's better if you can take a few and you're the person who moves. Don't move them around. You move. You want to get closer or you want toe reframe. You are the one. It's your job to do those things, Not your subject. I think it's not a bad idea. Oftentimes you'll stop somebody because you like something they're wearing. You like their hair color or whatever. It's not a bad idea to say that during your conversation, but keep it short when you come to the end of taking photographs. What I would do is have a card if you have a business card, whether from let's say what your day job is, present that card. If you have a blawg, it's a good way toe. Improve your traffic. I've even had instances where people have friended me on Facebook just for a Marsh Street portrait encounter. So do it. Jump in the pool. It's fun. You'll enjoy it for your first assignment. I want to see that person, that first street model that you were able to take photographs of. I want you to tell me about what your experience was like and then posted all to the galleries so your classmates couldn't see what you've done, and I want to see as well, and you'll see it's not that scary. One thing that can be challenging is composing your shot on the fly, and that's step number two coming up next 4. Step 2: Compose Yourself: when you're shooting street. Portrait's the encounter contain seconds and at the most, just a few minutes. Now the basic that I want to pass along to you is the rule of thirds. I say there are no rules and photography. I had a wonderful photography teacher when I first started Sydney Foreman at San Diego City College, and he's the one who originally taught me about the rule of thirds. And some cameras even have the viewfinder cut into nine equally sized blocks. And they're trying to help you with the rule of thirds. And that means you place the most important bit of business within those blocks. Let's say you're taking a photograph of the beach and there's a sky in the background using the rule of thirds. You would let's say you have sky take up 2/3 of your image and the beach would take up 1 30 but I really do tend to prefer, as I said, the images to be asymmetrical for step to your assignment is for you to share some photographs where you employ the rule of thirds. We want to see what you've got to offer, and I want to know if it was difficult for you to do that on the fly rule of thirds, let me see them. Let your classmates see them posted on the gallery. Coming up next. It's all about the light because photography is all about light. 5. Step 3: Let There Be Light: you now. You certainly don't want to go down the street in search of a street model lugging around lights. That just doesn't cut it because you've got to be Jack or Jane. Be nimble and jacker. Jane, you've got to be quick. In order to approach this subject, you got to be quick in approaching a subject and actually shooting that subject. Having additional lights is very cumbersome, so it's with ST Portrait Siew. Want new use? Available light and available light during the daytime is the sun. If you're outside on the street at night, it might be a bit of light from streetlamps or neon signs by buildings. But available light is what I do want you to use. And when I say available light, I don't really want you to use the light that's available at 12 noon, when the sun is straight overhead. It's not a very flattering shot, for most people, usually gives you two black eyes, you know, sunken and you don't see any definition in the eye. So what I want you to look for in your available light is something called open shade. If you're walking down the street, you may see that one side of the street is sunny. The other side is shady. This time you want to be slim, shady. You want to be on the shady side of the street because you're going to get more even and more flattering light. And there isn't a photo subject around that's not gonna like that. It's not gonna be music to their ears. So look for the shady part of the street and also look for potential reflective surfaces to bring even more light into your subject's face. And that might be a light colored building, a shiny building, all of those things. Another thing to keep in mind, though, when you are photographing, is to look at your background. Ah, lot of times dark backgrounds, and this is also part of your composition. Dark backgrounds will really make your subject pop. The other lighting consideration is time of day beyond just trying to avoid 12 noon. If you are a fan of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition uses shoot very early in the morning or they shoot around sunset, Golden hour, and both those times have really beautiful light, especially the golden hour. It's usually really warm and warm and soft those air to good words to think about when you're photographing so. But in doing TV reports, I used to make it a point of Philly. I was schedule. Okay, I'm an interview, this person. And nine, We're going to go with a photographer to this interview. A 12. I would always make it a point to schedule whenever I could to do my stand up. And that's me talking on camera during the golden hour because it's just the best. So use that for your subjects as well. Another type of light to look for a couple of lights, actually lighting schemes. One is rim lighting and that separates your subject from the background, as does backlighting. And when the sun is starting to go down, you have the opportunity great opportunities for getting back light or that rim light. So keep an eye out for those lighting possibilities as well. So for your assignment, we're step three. What I want to see is you using open shade shooting at sunset shooting early in the morning . I want one photograph that really exemplifies your use of available light, and I want you to share with your classmates I want you to share with me. What you went through in trying to get that photograph. You, You, you, you you. 6. Adieu & Happy Street Trails To You: Well, thank you so much for joining me. And you are equipped to take some amazing street Portrait's. So I hope you continue because I have found Street Portrait's to be one of the most fun types of photographs I've ever done. You really never know who you're going to find on the next block. So I wish you well, I'm gonna knows he's way. And this has been Oh, snap, Learn to take amazing Street portrait in three kind of easy steps