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How to master the art of street photography

We caught up with travel photographer Kiran Cox, who will be leading the street photography sessions at The Masterclasses on 1 July 2018. We asked him about his career and what makes for great street photography.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 22 Mar 2018, 15:00 GMT, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 10:47 BST
Kiran Cox
Photographer Kiran Cox

Much of your portfolio is dynamic and atmospheric shots of the urban world, so what made you want to go out and start snapping the streets?
Street photography for me was a natural progression. I started out photographing a lot of cityscapes and architecture. As my style developed, and I invested more time looking into street photographers, what I look for in a photograph changed. Capturing a great street photograph, a unique moment in time, for me is the most challenging yet rewarding type of photograph.

How easy is it to capture the essence of, say, a street market or a skate park?
It's a tough one. I'm very critical of my work and like to capture something that nobody else can do, which often requires a lot of walking, observing and waiting. This is all part of the challenge and fun of street photography. However, places like markets and skate parks are a great place to start; there's usually a lot going on and people are more easy-going about someone walking around with a camera.

How can you spot something that's going to work on camera?
I'm always looking to capture something special from what might normally seem an ordinary situation. I often look for people, compositions and light to help convey a feeling or spark something in the viewer. It all comes down to patience and practice. As you shoot more you will start to know what works and what doesn't — before long you will find yourself seeing things in a whole different light.

Tell us about your current project and why you are carrying it out.
The project I'm working on is documenting Southall, London the area where I was born and grew up. I decided to start this project as the area has made me who I am today. There is not much photography of Southall that shows everyday life and its people, which both hove a lot personal meaning for me.

Starting out and putting yourself out there can be tricky, so what advice would you give to a budding photographer looking to get their work noticed?
Just keep getting out with your camera and try and photograph every day. This can be tough at times with work and life getting in the way, but if you always keep your camera with you, you'll always be ready to capture that perfect shot. For getting noticed, I suggest using some of the social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. There are also online sites such as 500px, which have a great community of like-minded creatives. These are a great place to upload work and interact with others.

Kiran will be joining us for The Masterclasses on 1 July 2018. Find out more about the event here

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