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Do You Really Need a Wide Angle Lens for Street Photography?

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A key component for many street photographers is context in a scene. To many, an image without space in the frame for the setting may be considered as a portrait and not belonging to any particular genre or style. Street photographers are so focused on context they gravitate towards rangefinders that let you see outside the frame. This commonly held approach to street photography lends itself to the ubiquitous use of wide angle lenses.

Many street shooters want to capture both the primary subject and additional secondary subjects to complement or enhance a composition and provide context and setting. So, in considering this approach, what happens when you try using longer focal lengths for street photography? Faizal Westcott explores this question and explains how he is gravitating towards lenses that provide a tighter crop of a scene and how it’s transforming his approach to image-making. With so many YouTube channels focusing on street photography, this is a refreshing and interesting take, rethinking the gear you might reach for by default when heading out to shoot. I recently made a video where I attempted to use an 85mm prime as a walkaround lens for my style of street photography and found it wasn’t the right focal length for me. So, what do you think? Check out Faizal’s video, and if you haven’t yet, consider mixing up your focal lengths and see what you can come up with.  

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